Download the Rights Catalogue

Luuk van Middelaar

Luuk van Middelaar (1973) is a philosopher and historian. He is Professor in Foundations and Practice of the European Union and its Institutions, at the University Leiden; and Professor in European Studies, chair European Values, at the Université de Louvain (UCL).

He studied in Groningen, the Netherlands, and Paris (Centre Raymond Aron of the École des Hautes Études et Sciences Sociales), France. Politicide (1999) is his debut, which was awarded the prestigious 'Prix de Paris', and since then he has become an influential voice in public debate in the Netherlands. He spent five years working behind the scenes in European and national politics; in Brussels he witnessed the negotiations about the Constitution, and he was present in The Hague when Holland voted against the constitution. With the erudition of a historian, the intelligence of a political philosopher and the stylistic flair of a novelist, he processes these direct personal experiences to create a unique account of the birth of Europe. Straight after publication of De passage naar Europa (2009), Luuk van Middelaar was asked to become political adviser and speechwriter of Herman Van Rompuy, Chairman of the European Council. Rarely has the history of Europe sat so close alongside her future!

For De passage naar Europa Luuk van Middelaar was honoured by Dutch and Flemish philosophers with the Socrates Prize for the most stimulating, Dutch-language philosophy book. Dutch historians also awarded him the Veegens Prize, presented by the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.

In 2012, the French 'Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques' honoured Le Passage à l'Europe with the 'Prix Louis Marin; that same year the book was awarded the 'Prix du Livre Européen.

Translation opportunities

De passage naar Europa

isbn 978 90 6554 2366

532 pages

7500 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of De passage naar Europa

'The Passage to Europe: philosophically informed and historically sensitive, original, subtle and refreshing.' — Larry Siedentop, Times Literary Supplement

'Impressive. It diagnoses Europe’s troubles with realism and clarity. A discerning, balanced, gracefully written book, flavoured with the insights of political science but filled with the meat of European Union history over six decades.' — Tony Barber, Financial Times

The Passage to Europe
History of a Beginning

The passage to Europe surprises us as a sparkling and original history of politics. In compelling terms, Van Middelaar describes the origins and development of a political body. Through an intriguing journey of discovery, Van Middelaar brings to light a political atmosphere that has never been described before, and which overturns our image of Europe. He has an unprecedented gift for letting the reader experience the flow of time.

Van Middelaar also uses the unfinished history of Europe as a case for exposing the essence of politics. He describes homo politicus as a ‘time artist’, who builds a bridge between past and present amidst the tumult of modern life, thus turning a moment into a kind of passageway.

Time and again, dramatic events force Europe to find a place for itself on the world stage. In The passage to Europe, Luuk van Middelaar puts his finger on history’s pulse: it is a powerful and stirring account of the birth of Europe.

In keeping with the best Dutch historical tradition of Johan Huizinga, Van Middelaar has assimilated testimonies, stories and interpretations from different European countries into a single European history. In no uncertain terms he breaks with the commonplaces and clichés of EU literature. He unravels the complicated origins of Europe by homing in on unique events or telling details – an empty chair or a word in a treaty. What the American historian Joseph Ellis did for the American Republic in Founding brothers, Van Middelaar does for Europe. In The passage to Europe the reader will not find lists of treaties and government bodies, but the untold story of the politicians who have led and created Europe, from Spaak to Sarkozy, from Thatcher to Merkel.

With a sense of irony, the author shows how European politicians are constantly in search of a European public that will applaud their decisions. They try to achieve this through subsidies and rights, through a Parliament, through a flag and through lessons in a shared history. Often in vain. ‘If the citizens of the old continent, most of whom have by now joined the Union, were to start feeling, one day, that they are ‘Europeans’, this will owe much to the fact that world history has pushed them together.’

"Luuk van Middelaar has produced a superb, eloquent study of the European Union that is essential reading for anyone endeavouring to fathom how the EU’s labyrinthine structures and convoluted politics have, despite all appearances, permitted it to develop into a positive force. With empirical precision and conceptual sophistication, he subtly entwines the interplay between personalities, institutions and imponderable ‘events’. The result is a gripping historical narrative interlacing politics and law woven into a Bildungsroman. Everyone interested in Europe owes Luuk van Middelaar thanks for a lucid and penetrating study that enriches our understanding and provokes intelligent response. If you read just one book on the EU this should be it." — Allan Janik, Vienna Review

"The start of a revolution in how we speak and think about Europe." — Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission

"The Passage to Europe is a book on European Integration like no other. It is history and historiography, social science and political theory all packaged in such a personal and appealing way that you do not even notice the depth of learning and experience underlying the engaging narrative. There are few better ways to grasp how a continent became a Union." — Joseph Weiler, University Professor & Director, Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice NYU School of Law

"Van Middelaar’s insightful overview of Europe’s historical evolution is livened by occasionally revealing anecdotes of behind-the-scenes political intrigue." — Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

"An erudite alternative to the persistent drumbeat about the coming, market-driven disintegration of the European Union. An intriguing presentation of views seldom reported so readably and in such depth." — Kirkus Reviews

"Van Middelaar’s encyclopedic knowledge of and intimacy with European affairs will make even a specialist blush with envy." — Publishers Weekly


isbn 978 90 6554 2205

260 pages, 6 (black and wite) illustrations

5000 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of Politicide

The Assassination of Politics in French Philosophy

Even more than the highly praised Passage naar Europa (Passage to Europe), Luuk van Middelaar’s debut Politicide. De moord op de politiek in de Franse filosofie (Politicide. The Assassination of Politics in French Philosophy) reads like ‘a philosophical whodunnit’. The leading role is played by Alexandre Kojève, a professor of philosophy emigrated from Russia. With his brilliant lectures on Hegel in 1930s Paris he would decisively influence French philosophy. The lectures were attended by virtually the whole new generation of French intellectuals, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Raymond Aron, Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Raymond Queneau and André Breton. Kojéve’s profound influence also extended to the so-called ‘New Philosophers’, led by the ‘white-shirted thinker’ Bernard-Henri Lévy, and has left French political philosophy straddled between terror and utopia. In Politicide Luuk van Middelaar describes the assassination of politics in French philosophy in the period that French philosophy gained worldwide influence, from 1945 to 1989. It is a revealing argument, which gives a finely etched picture of the intense war of ideas between philosophy and politics.

Van Middelaar’s indictment of the assassination of politics in French philosophy is not only a compelling story, but also an infectious eulogy on politics. For the first time van Middelaar here tests his concept of the homo politicus, which he partly owes to Machiavelli, the first political philosopher: ‘the good is not the same always and everywhere.’

Improvisatie & Oppositie

isbn 978 90 6554 0775

304 pages

5 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of Improvisatie & Oppositie

'One of the most cogent thinkers about the EU is Luuk van Middelaar, a historian educated in Holland and France, and now based in Brussels. His articles frequently appear in France, as well as his native Holland. As a former member of the cabinet of the Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, the first president of the European Council, van Middelaar knows the EU from the inside out. He sees the problem of Europe mainly as a political crisis.'
- Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books


omslag Luuk van Middelaar - Dix ans de crises politiques
isbn 9782072734922
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Bir Geçiş Süreci
isbn 9786053322993
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Historia de un comienzo
isbn 9788415472940
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Como um Continente se Transformou em União
isbn 9788580333084
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Histoire d'un commencement
isbn 9782070130337
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Historia pewnego początku
isbn 9788361182726
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - kuidas kontinendist sai liit
isbn 9789949336470
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - How a Continent Became a Union
isbn 9780300205336
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - How a Continent Became a Union
isbn 9780300181128
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - How a Continent Became a Union
isbn 9787547310106
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - How a Continent became a Union
isbn 9789663785974
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Örökös Átkelés
isbn 9789632794242
omslag Luuk van Middelaar De passage naar Europa - Gegenwart und Geschichte des vereinten Europa
isbn 9783518425688
omslag Luuk van Middelaar Politicide - O Assassinato da Política na Filosofia Francesa
isbn 9788580332100