Ton Wilthagen

Tilburg University City Professor

With the institution of the first City Professor in the Netherlands, the City of Tilburg and Tilburg University have added another unique initiative to their long-term fruitful collaboration. The City Professor is to give impetus to the strategic collaborative relationship between the university and the city.

Labor market expert Professor Ton Wilthagen is the first in Netherlands to fill the position of City Professor. In his new role, he is the general linking pin between the municipality and Tilburg University. In addition he will - together with Tilburg University, the City of Tilburg, and other partners - explore innovative solutions to labor market-related issues in Tilburg and the region.  


The role of the City Professor is described in the 2022-2026 Tilburg Coalition Agreement: Meer voor elkaar (“Getting more done”). Given his practical and academic knowledge, the City Professor will provide the Tilburg City Executive with scientific insights and advice on labor market-related issues.  

Earlier initiatives  

The City Professorship is the next step in the long-term fruitful partnership of the City and Tilburg University in the area of the labor market. For instance, in the past few years, such joint initiatives as the Starters Grant (Startersbeurs, in Dutch), the Reshoring Connection (in Dutch) and the Youth Unemployment-free Region (Jeugdwerkloosheidsvrije regio, in Dutch) have been developed and implemented. Ton Wilthagen’s research interests are oriented on the theme of the Inclusive Labor Market.   

Academic Collaborative Center on Broad Prosperity 

The interdisciplinary research themes that the university is going to focus on even more in the coming years include the sustainability transition, inequality, and health & wellbeing. To this end, four Academic Collaborative Centers have been established, with broad prosperity being the umbrella theme. The characteristic of the Academic Collaborative Centers is that, inspired by a joint ambition, they work together on multi-year, interdisciplinary research in co-creation with the business community, authorities, and other knowledge institutions. Since the City Professor contributes to the connection between the university and the city with a view to strenghtening broad prosperity, this position is part of the Academic Collaborative Center on Broad Prosperity.