Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Masterclass 2013: Policy Laboratory - Determining a 'fair' contribution to the European Union

poster masterclass 2013

What are the main challenges in negotiating a policy solution to a controversial issue? Invited experts and practitioners of Dutch and European organizations will share their experiences with the Masterclass participants, who will assume the role of real stakeholders acting as policy entrepreneurs in a policy laboratory. In this simulated work environment, according to their role they will design feasible policy responses to a complex topic that involves political, economic and social elements: how can the Netherlands achieve a 'fair' contribution to the EU? This not only means money, it is also about the question whether the country should be leading or following in adddressing the problems of the EU. After developing a policy paper, the participants will conclude the course with a certificate ceremony in the heart of the Dutch politics, the Senate (Eerste Kamer).


Determining a 'fair' contribution to the European Union

In collaboration with the Center for Innovation The Hague, the Montesquieu Institute organizes its Masterclass 2013, where these two questions not only are important in building support for the Dutch position in the EU today, they also require historical, legal, economic and political analysis. The Masterclass combines these two elements of analysis and designing possible solutions in a ‘policy laboratory’. This policy lab is a simulated work environment where you develop and use analytical skills for getting a better understanding what a ‘fair’ contribution might be, and what it takes to build political support for it. Thus when you are engaged in the Masterclass policy lab you not only extend your historical, legal and political knowledge about the theme, but also apply this when thinking about answers that can be useful in practice. The Masterclass combines invited lecturers with work group activity and there is also a simulation game to learn how designing policy solutions may happen.

The MI policy lab explores the political and policy dilemmas associated with this important issue. Can the Dutch contribution to the EU be decreased? What are the main challenges in negotiating the policy solution? How to have an effective voice at the negotiation table? Participants in this policy lab will assume the roles of real stakeholders acting as policy entrepreneurs, and address a set of concrete questions from different perspectives that together provide you the overview you need for making workable solutions. If you participate in this Masterclass, you will practice working together in designing a well-informed policy solution.


Structure of the Course

The MI Masterclass will be divided into two stages.

During the first one, the students will meet policy experts and practitioners from organised interests. In a series of lectures, the professionals will present their views on the theme of the course and share insights on strategies for policy lobbying.

In the second stage, the students will be allocated to small groups and each team will assume the role of a different policy entrepreneur. During the team work sessions, the individual groups will conduct analyses of existing positions on the main question, and consequently drafts designs for a policy as a response to the question. They will regularly discuss their work with the other teams and be guided by the MI staff.

Finally, each team will prepare a Policy Paper.





21 January 2013

Application deadline

23 January

Notification of acceptance

1 February

Introduction to MI Policy Lab & to Designing Public Policy:  

Arco Timmermans, Research Director of the Montesquieu


8 February

Lecture by a political party research institute:

Arjan Vliegenthart, Director of the Scientific Office of the Dutch Socialist Party (SP)

15 February

Lecture by a European institution in the Netherlands:

Andy Klom, Head of the European Commission Representation in the Netherlands

22 February


Lecture by a labor union:

10:30 - 12:00: Agnes Jongerius, former chair of the Dutch Federation Labour Movement (FNV), now researcher at Utrecht University

And a lecture by a liberal think tank:

12:00 - 13.30: Patrick van Schie, director at B.M. Telders Foundation (VVD)

1 March

Lecture by an NGO:

Godelieve van Heteren, President of the European Movement

the Netherlands

8 March

Lecture by a lobbyst / Public Affairs:

Jelmer Alberts, Manager EU Liaison Office at ING Insurance & Investment Mangement

15 March

Team work session 1

22 March

Team work session 2

29 March

No session (Public holiday)

5 April

Team work session 3

12 April

Team work session 4

19 April

No session (Finalisation of Policy Papers)

26 April

No session (Finalisation of Policy Papers)

1 May

Deadline for submitting Policy Papers

3 May

Policy simulation game

10 May

No session (Public holiday)

17 May

Diploma ceremony in the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer)



Session 1 - Putting Cameron’s referendum in Dutch perspective

Session 2 - Is Capitalism in bankruptcy?

Session 3 - Can opposite stakeholders share similar views?

Session 4 - There is no single 'The Netherlands'

Session 5 - Europe is in need of “storytellers”

Session 6 - "Interest representation deficit" in the EU

Diploma Ceremony - "What do we expect to happen to the EU in the years to come?"


Practical Issues

Time frame: 1 February – 17 May 2013, Fridays, 10:30 – 13:30

Participants: maximum of 15 students enrolled in Master programmes or recent graduates in the fields of Public Administration, Political Science, EU/ European Studies, International Studies, Economics, Law (in particular Public Law/ State and Administrative Law/ European Law), (Modern) History, and Media and Communication Science

Students who complete the course successfully receive a diploma issued by the four universities partners of the Montesquieu Institute (Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht and Nijmegen). The diploma ceremony will take place on 17 May 2013 in the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer)

Besides the diploma, students may receive credits (5 ECTS). However, this is only possible pending approval of the academic program in which the student is enrolled. Please note that it is responsibility of the student to obtain this approval and communicate it to on January 21 at latest.

Location: Leiden University, Campus The Hague

Language: English

Fee: Free

Application: The application period is now closed. Accepted students will be notified on January 23.

Diploma ceremony: The diploma ceremony will take place on 17 May, 2013 in the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer).



Please submit the following documents:

  • 1. 
    Short CV (max. 1 page)
  • 2. 
    Proof of enrolment in a Master’s programme in the above mentioned fields (or a Master's diploma if you have already graduated)
  • 3. 
    Application letter* (max. 800 words)

*The application letter should address the following four questions:

  • What is your motivation for applying to the MI Policy Lab?
  • Given your academic background, how can you use your knowledge in the course?
  • How will you be able to contribute as a member of a team?
  • What do you think you can learn from the Policy Lab?

The application period is now closed.

Accepted students will be notified on January 23, 2013.


If you have more questions about the Masterclass, send an e-mail to