Gerard de Zeeuw

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Gerard de Zeeuw (born 11 March 1936) is a Dutch scientist and professor Mathematical modelling of complex social systems at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.


Gerard de Zeeuw was born in 1936 in Banjoewangi Indonesia, in the former Dutch Indies, to relatively well-to-do middle class parents and one older brother. Gerard spent part of the Second World War in Japanese prison camps. In secondary school, a Dutch professor of sociology, Free van Heek, allowed him access to his personal library and stimulated him to write his first paper—about action.[1] He studied in Mathematics and physics at the Leiden University, and continued with Statistics and Econometrics at the Erasmus University with Jan Tinbergen en Henk Theil. At the Stanford University he further studied mathematical psychology, with Patrick Suppes en Bob Estes. Back in the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam he received his Ph.D. with the thesis entitled Model thinking in psychology.

De Zeeuw worked almost four decades at the University of Amsterdam from 1964 until 2001. Since 1974, he has been full professor, charged with 'Research methodology' in the areas of adult education, social work and social helping, community development and social theory. Since 1993, he is full professor in the University of Amsterdam charged with Mathematical modelling of complex social systems. Since 1994 he is also visiting professor at the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside in the area of systems and management, and at the London School of Economics in the field of social and organizational psychology.

During three years he lectured at the Agricultural University of Wageningen. He was elected twice as Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in Wassenaar, the Netherlands.[2]

De Zeeuw has sat on the Editorial Boards of the "Journals of Statistica Neerlandica" and "Systemica", and was Editor-in-chief of this Journal. In the 1990s he became associate editor of the Systems Research and Behavioral Science and the Journal of Research Practice since its beginning in 2005.

Gerard de Zeeuw has been organizationally active. With Albert Hanken in 1970 he was cofounder and first president of the Dutch Systems Group. With the Society for General Systems Research and others in 1980 they founded the International Federation for Systems Research, first presidented by George Klir until 1986 and by Gerard de Zeeuw from 1992 to 1994. At the University of Amsterdam he has been dean of the Faculty of Andragology, Chair of the department of research methodology in the Faculty of Psychology, and Board member of the university. He is on the Advisory Board of the International Institute for General Systems Studies. He is extraordinary member of the Dutch Institute of Psychologists, for his efforts to promote the study of psychology, and honorary member of the United Kingdom Systems Society. He organized more than 100 conferences, in different disciplines.[3]

Some of his old students are the scientists Debiprasad Dash and Hector Ponce, editors of the Journal of Research Practice, and Dr John McManus Professor and Chair of Leadership and Development at York St John University in the United Kingdom.


De Zeeuw has written a dozen books and more than 150 articles.[4] Books, a selection:

  • 1977. Decision making and change in human affairs : proceedings of the fifth research conference on subjective probability, utility, and decision making, Darmstadt, 1–4 September 1975. ed. by Helmut Jungermann and Gerard de Zeeuw. Dordrecht [etc.] : Reidel.
  • 1979. Context and Time and Problems of Context. With P. van den Eeden (eds.). Amsterdam: V.U.-Boekhandel
  • 1983. Problems of Levels and Boundaries, With A. Pedretti (eds.) London and Zurich, Princelet Editions
  • 1991. Collective support systems and their users. With Ranulph Glanville (eds.). Amsterdam : Thesis.
  • 1993. Interactive interfaces and human networks. With Ranulph Glanville. Amsterdam : Thesis.
  • 1995. Problems of Values and Invariants, With Ranulph Glanville (eds.). Amsterdam: Thesis Publishers.
  • 1996. Knowledge (Dis)Appearance. (Eds.) Delft: Delft University Press.
  • 2000. Problems of Action and Observation, Southsea and Amsterdam. With Ranulph Glanville (eds.).


  1. ^ Martha Vahl, Gerard de Zeeuw: models, systems, support and research: A bio-memo, paper 2002.
  2. ^ G. de Zeeuw, Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study, 2007.
  3. ^ Gerard de Zeeuw, biography 2007.
  4. ^ More than 150 of De Zeeuw's publications from 1969 to 2001 are listed in Festschrift Professor Gerard de Zeeuw, 31 January 2002.

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