Maarten van der Linde

Back to experts Maarten van der Linde
Function: Emeritus professors
Research Group: Innovative Social Services

Maarten van der Linde became professor of the History of Social Work on 1 September 2011. He aims to promote the idea that knowledge and awareness of history and historical skills should once again be an integral part of teaching and the field of professional practice. This is a special part-time professorship that is one day a week for two years. The professorship is being funded by the Oranje Fonds, which decided to do so because knowledge of and historical research into the long-standing values of social work are important for volunteers and professionals in various fields of social work. The History of Social Work professorship is linked to the Innovative Social Service Provision research group via Professor Lia van Doorn.


Professor van der Linde will work to reinforce the historical consciousness of social work in the wider field of professional practice and the Bachelor’s programme in Social Work. His objectives are to link current societal issues with knowledge and insights from the past, and to contribute to the renewal and development of methodological concepts and practices in the broader professional field of social work and teaching. Professor van der Linde wrote a wide-ranging article on the importance of the history of social work when he began his work as a HU professor.


Professor Maarten van der Linde is a historian and has years of experience in teaching and research in the wider field of the history of social work. He has worked in professional education for many years, specifically in the field of social welfare, including time spent as a teacher at Hogeschool De Horst in Driebergen. He still works as a lecturer at the Institute for Social Work at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.

In 1995, he gained his PhD in Utrecht for his thesis entitled Really, I can do anything. Church workers in the Dutch Reformed Church from 1945 to 1966. His thesis explored the innovative social and cultural work done by church workers who were trained at the Academie van Kerk en Wereld (Academy of Church and World) in Driebergen. These workers were active evangelizers involved with growing the church community, socio-cultural education, business-oriented training and education, personnel work, recreational work, social work and youth work.

Their number included former Minister of the Interior Ien Dales and former union president and mayor Johan Stekelenburg. Van der Linde has published seven books since the late 1980s, including works on the history of youth work, socio-cultural work and higher vocational education in the context of social welfare. He wrote a series of biographical portraits of the pioneers of social work for specialist journals.

Historical awareness, knowledge and skills

Van der Linde aims to promote the idea that knowledge and awareness of history and the skills involved in the study of history should once again become an integral part of the curriculum of the Bachelor’s programme in Social Work. His book Basisboek geschiedenis sociaal werk in Nederland, (The History of Social Work in the Netherlands), published in 2007 (fourth edition 2010), makes a significant contribution in this regard. He is also very enthusiastic about the digital work Canon Sociaal Werk Nederland, of which he was one of the editors. The work provides excellent tools that can be used in teaching or in students’ own self-study. The canon includes the history of social work in the Netherlands and Flanders, a canon of international thinkers, an English-language canon entitled the History of Social Work, and much more.

Future plans and projects

Van der Linde is fascinated by history, particularly when it comes to long-term trends, the foundations of social work, the unique, personal achievements of individuals and the often tempestuous developments in specific fields of work.
The research group works with a group of teachers and researchers, both inside and outside HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. The influence of religious movements, attitudes and sentiments is one of his areas of particular interest.

Another chance to see or read Maarten van der Linde’s public lecture

On Friday 11 November 2011, Maarten van der Linde gave a public lecture, which you can view via the web lecture (in Dutch).
You can also read the public lecture in full: 'Doe wel, maar... zie om' (in Dutch).

Innovative Social Services

Innovative Social Service Provision

About the Research Group