Prof. dr. P. Vellinga

+31 20 59 89510
faculteit der bètawetenschappen ( dep. water & climate risk )


Pier Vellinga is professor in Climate Change at Wageningen University Research and VU University Amsterdam. Originally, he specialised in Coastal Engineering contributing to the Deltaplan of the Netherlands.

In 1987 he became advisor to the Netherlands Environment Minister on climate change. In that period he helped to shape international climate policies and he was one of the initiators and first bureau members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 1991 he joined the VU University as professor in Environmental Sciences and as director of the Institute for Environmental Studies.

In 2007 he took up a position at Wageningen University Research as well, to lead the national climate change research programme ‘’Knowledge for Climate’’. Pier Vellinga is a board member of several research institutes and environmental organisations in the Netherlands and abroad.


  • Pier Vellinga has a broad experience in doing research with a range of disciplinary sciences. Over time his domain broadened and started to include the social dimensions of global environmental change. He was among the first in the Netherlands to publish about climate change and its implications regarding water and energy. Exploring the link between science and society was particularly challenging in his work at the World Bank, UNEP and UNDP. While at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) he initiated the European Forum on Integrated Environmental Assessment and later on the Industrial Transformation Project of the Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP/International Council of Scientific Unions). Meanwhile, he was a member of many policy advisory councils, such as the Energy Council (AER), the Advisory Board of the SNS Bank and the Advisory Board of the Chemical Industry (VNCI).
  • At national level he is actively involved in the setting up and management of two more major national programmes: “Climate changes Spatial Planning” and “Living with Water”. In 2005 he was appointed as chairman of the board of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ at Texel).
  • Pier Vellinga has published more than 120 articles on environmental sciences and related societal issues as author or co-author in scientific journals, books, scientific reports, and proceedings of a more general nature.

Academic training

1986PhD. thesis in Technical Sciences, Delft University of Technology
1976Masters degree in Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology
1970 – 1971Development Cooperation trainee, Port Development, Tanga, Tanzania
1967 – 1968Cultural Anthropology Studies, Fulbright Scholarship, Catawba College, USA
1962 – 1967Bogerman Lyceum, HBS-B, Sneek

Professional employment history

2007 – presentProgramme director Climate Change, Wageningen University & Research Centre
2006 – 2007Director of the Climate Centre of the VU University Amsterdam
2001 – 2006Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW), and vice-rector, VU University Amsterdam
1991 – presentProfessor in Environmental Sciences and Global Change at the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam
1991-2001Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam
1995 – 1998Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of World Bank, UNDP and UNEP (a part-time position financed by the GEF / UNEP)
1988 – 1991Director of the Air Quality, Acidification and Climate Department and director of the National Climate Change Programme, Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment, The Hague
1984 – 1988Deputy director Harbours, Coasts and Offshore Technology Division, Delft Hydraulics Laboratory, Delft
1976 – 1984Researcher, consultant and departmental manager, Delft Hydraulics Laboratory.
1972 – 1976Research assistant, Delft University of Technology, Delft
1970 – 1971Development Cooperation trainee, Tanga, Tanzania, Ballast-OCC International Construction Company

Present membership of boards and advisory councils

Chairman of the executive board of the foundation Knowledge for Climate (2007 – present) ( Dutch:

Vice-chairman of the board of the foundation Climate changes Spatial Planning (2004 – present) ( In Dutch:

Member of the Board of the Foundation Living with Water (2005 – present) (

Chairman of the board of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ, Texel) (2005 – present).

Member of the Office of Planning overseeing the works for the protection of Venice and its Lagoon (2004 –present); (

  • Member of the board of the foundation ‘Urgenda’ (2007 – present).
  • Member of ‘Regieorgaan Energie Transities’ (2008 – present)
  • Member of the commission ‘Sustainability and Biomass energies’ (2009 – present).
  • Member of the advice council on climate of the City of Amsterdam (2008 – present).
  • Member of ad hoc advice group Eneco sustainable energy (2008 – present).
  • Member of the Climate advice council of the province of Gelderland (2008 – present).
  • Member of the Advisory council ‘Waddenfonds’ (2007 – present).
  • Initiator of ‘Klimaatwerk BV’ and co-initiator of ‘Goene Golf BV’ (2008 – present).
  • Member of the council of Commissioners of FMO (the entrepreneurial development bank of the Netherlands)(2008 – present).

Selected publications

Bouwer, Laurens M. & Vellinga, Pier (2007). On the Flood Risk in The Netherlands. In Begum S., Stive, Marcel J.F., Hall, James W. (Eds.). Flood Risk Management in Europe: Innovation in Policy and Practice. Series: Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research. Springer Verlag, Berlin, ISBN: 1-4020-4199-3, pp 469 – 484.

Vellinga, P. (2006). Dredging in a Changing Environment. In D. Eisma (Ed.). Dredging in Coastal Waters. Taylor & Francis/Balkema (ISBN: 0 415 39111 3). Chapter 9, pp. 225 – 240.

Kabat, P., Vierssen, W. Van, Veraart, J.A., Vellinga, P., & Aerts, J. (2005). Climate proofing the Netherlands. Nature, 438(7066), 283, 284.

Vellinga, P & Lasage, R. (2005). Venice, an issue of sustainability. In Fletcher, C.A. & Spencer, T. with Da Mosto, J. & Campostrini, P. (Eds.). Flooding and Environmental Challenges for Venice and its Lagoon: State of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press (ISBN-13 978-0-521-84046-0 hardback; ISBN-10 0-521-84046-5 paperback). Chapter 68, pp. 649 - 658.

Bouwer, L.M. & Vellinga, P. (2005). Some rationales for risk sharing and financing adaptation. Contribution to the International Conference on Climate Change: Challenge or Threat for Water Management (Aquatech 2004, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 27-29 September 2004). IWA journal Water Science and Technology, 5(51).