Posthumous criminology prize for liftetime achievement Louk Hulsman

Louk Hulsman has been honoured for his liftetime achievement by the Dutch Society for Criminology awarding him posthumously the Willem Adriaan Bongerprijs on the annual NVK congress June 19th, at the University of Leiden, Holland. The prize consists of a re-publication of a selection of his work, that will appear on the memorial of his death in January in 2010. Read the abstract of the jury report for the striking motivation of the jurors, where the importance of his work is completely recognised.


You are most welcome to the website of Louk Hulsman. Like he would have welcomed you in his house to enjoy food, wine or the garden (preferably all of that), we now invite you to visit the diverse aspects of his life and work on this website. You will find the in memoriam, testimonies of his reflection in others, his publications, a short version of his life story, his curriculum vitae and a list of his literature (please help us to get it as complete as possible), his photo’s (the ones he took and the ones others took of him) and in time we will open a discussion forum. We invite you to be part of this, so we can share the wealth of his knowledge, his love of life and his openness of spirit since we need to discover known and unknown ways of dealing in a more humane way with problematic situations.

About Louk Hulsman

Louk Hulsman was a great and independent thinker who spent his whole life working towards a more constructive, humane way of dealing with conflicts and other problematic situations usually dealt with within the context of the criminal justice system. He was formed by his experiences in childhood, including his clash with the priests that wanted him to obey rules and dogmas, but did not allow access to the source of the bible text in Latin. During the Second World War, his arrest as a resistance member, his stay in a concentration camp, and how the Dutch administration cooperated with the inhumane goals of the occupation forces, also formed him. Louk saw his German neighbours (nice people) being changed to enemies under the influence of Hitler, and saw them change back to ordinary nice people after the war. He worked in legislation at the department of Justice, and dedicated himself to raising awareness among lawyers, judges, policemen and most of all, until the end of his life, students, in the hope that they would be critical companions, that did not believe everything they read, but would personally investigate the truth of experience behind every law, statement or theory. The combined knowledge of his experience left him no other path than the deconstruction of the myth of the criminal justice system and the search for better ways of dealing with inevitable problematic situations. Louk has warmly touched, influenced, and changed the lives of many people within and outside of systems all over the world, and will continue to be an important positive source of inspiration. See also the CV and some of his work available on this website.