NWO Grant Large for Erik Verhoef
NWO has awarded seven proposals for innovative research infrastructure within the programme NWO Investment Grant Large. With this programme, NWO funds large research facilities, within which researchers from throughout the Netherlands work together, often with international partners. Erik Verhoef, together with Jasper Knockaert, Paul Koster (all Spatial Economics) and Henk Scholten, Eric Koomen, and Maurice de Kleijn (all SPINlab) participates in the TU Delft project Urban Mobility Observatory (UMO). A summary of the project is given hereafter: Real-life data and observations are crucial for getting a better understanding of the complex and rapidly developing urban mobility system. UMO is a coherent system of sensors and ICT infrastructure able to observe traffic flows and to combine data from different sources (cameras, mobility, phones, questionnaires etc.). UMO collects and stores all sorts of traffic, transport and mobility data which are made available for research into mobility and transport in urbanized regions. Read more.

Henri de Groot presents Economische Verkenningen Holland boven Amsterdam

On Friday September 21, Henri de Groot presented the Economische Verkenningen Holland boven Amsterdam (Economic Outlook region North of Amsterdam) for an interested audience of more than 300 entrepreneurs and local policy makers in Alkmaar. The project is a cooperation between TNO, Neo Observatory and the department of Spatial Economics at VU. The Economic Outlook is available at It presents the short-term forecasts and long-term trends in the economy of this region.

New NWO Project: Participatory Value Evaluation: A new assessment model for promoting social acceptance of sustainable energy policies
Worldwide, governments and firms invest in sustainable energy policies to decarbonise energy systems. These investments are often made on the basis of Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). However, classical CBAs have difficulty incorporating citizens' ethical considerations concerning the procedural and distributive aspects of such decisions, considerations that clearly affect the social acceptance of decisions on sustainable energy policies. Dutch practitioners now consider the use of Participatory Value Evaluation (PVE) instead of CBA as this approach has the potential to include citizens' ethical consideration in real-world economic policy analysis. In a PVE, citizens choose a portfolio of policies given one or more constraints (budget/sustainability target). Using these individual choices,  behavioural choice models are estimated that subsequently form the basis for an economic evaluation of different policies. The project aims to contribute to the construction and use of ethically sensitive policy evalution through the further development of PVEs, and is a cooperation between TU Delft (Niek Mouter, Ruth Shortall - who is also guest research at VU - and Kornelis Blok) and VU (Paul Koster, Marion Collewet and Martin van Hees). THe project runs from 1 September, 2018 to 28 February, 2021. Read more. 

Henri de Groot presents the 2018 edition of the Economic Outlook Metropolitan Region Amsterdam
On 20 June, Henri de Groot presented the Economic Outlook Metropolitan Region Amsterdam 2018 (Ecnomische Verkenningen Metropoolregio Amsterdam) during the opening session of the WeMakeThe.City festival. The report states that the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region strongly developed after the financial crisis and will continue to do so in the coming years. The research was carried out by the Department of Spatial Economics of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, represented by Henri de Groot and Maureen Lankhuizen, in cooperation with TNO, NEO Observatory and Ecorys. Read more.

Again: 'Top Rated Programme' Distinction for our master Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics (STREEM)!
Every year, the Netherlands Higher Education Information Centre (CHOI) published the Keuzegids Masters: the Netherlands' influential higher education guide for prospective students, which provides information to help students find the right Master's programme. The rankings are based on the opinions students expressed in the National Student Survey (NSE), the percentage of students that continue their studies in the second year and expert views. As in 2017, STREEM was evaluated as top programme: Students and education experts are particularly enthusiastic about the attainability, academic buidling and study guidance. Read more.

Two journals - of which department members are editors - are to receive an impact factor
In the beginning of March, two journals managed by members of our departement received the good news that these journals will receive an impact factor soon. Erik Verhoef is co-editor-in-chief of Economics of Transportation, Erik Ansink is managing editor of Water Resources and Economics. The Web of Science has accepted both journals for coverage in its Journal Citation Reports (SSCI). The journals' offical Web-of-Science Impact Factor and associated bibliometrics indicators will be computed and published for the year 2018 onwards.

Cooperation agreement between Spatial Economics VU and Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta
The Department of Spatial Economics recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Economics and Business at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta. The long term goal of the collaboration is to develop joint teaching activities and to conduct joint research in the field of transport, urban and environmental economics. Read more.
Hans Koster appointed Fellow / Advisor of the CMSSE in St. Petersburg
Hans Koster was appointed Fellow / Advisor of the Center for Market Studies and Spatial Economics in St. Petersburg. As per 2018, Hans will be visiting St. Petersburg for 20 days a year. The Center's activities focus on fundamental research on market structure theory with an emphasis on applying developed theories to international trade, industrial organization and urban economics. Papers by the Center's staff on the above research have been published in renowned journals such as Econometrica, Journal of International Economics and Journal of Urban Economics.


Intensive Course Urban and Regional, Transport and Environmental Economics: University of Indonesia and VU join hands
Starting in 2018, the Department of Economics (University of Indonesia) and the Department of Spatial Economics (VU) will jointly organize an annual intensive course on Urban and Regional, Transport and Environmental Economics at the University of Indonesia, Depok. The course lasts 4 weeks and is aimed at Indonesian students in order to prepare them for the master programme STREEM at VU. More information.

Carolyn Fischer joins the Department of Spatial Economics
The department welcomes Carolyn Fischer, who will join our department as Full Professor Environmental Economics as of January 1, 2018. Read more.

Jos van Ommeren, Erik Verhoef and Cees Withagen in ESB Top 40
In the ESB Top 40 Best Dutch economists, Jos van Ommeren occupies the 12th, Erik Verhoef the 16th, and Cees Withagen the 25th place. The ESB Top 40 is based on journal publications in the years 2012-2016, using the Web of Science database of Clarivate Analytics, weighted by a bibliomethirc qulaity indicator. More information.

Spatial Economics joins WeChat
In order to better connect with our Chinese students and colleagues, the Master of Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics has an official account on WeChat, the Chinese equivalent of facebook or twitter. 你好,来自中国的学生!请关注我们的微信公众号“区域经济研究”获取更多相关信息。扫描下方二维码更方便哦。

Erik Verhoef appointed Adjunct Professor at Beijing Jiaotong University
To his great surprise, on October 27, Erik Verhoef was appointed Adjunct Professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, China. He received the official certificate from Guowei Hua, Vice Dean of the School of Economics and Management. Read more.

New project: 'Noord-Zuidlijn'
The 'Noord / Zuidlijn' (subway line North-South) has a major influence on the accessibility of the city and the region. What is the effect of the line on the choices of travelers and employees? What is the influce of the line on area development, real estate prices and the functioning of the labour market? The department is involved in an impact study to answer these questions. Read more.

New minor on Real Estate Economics and Finance
The Department of Spatial Economics developed a new minor on Real Estate Economics and Finance, starting in September 2017. Students learn what economics analysis contributes to our understanding of how cities evolve and what role policy can play. More information on the minor.

'Economische Verkenningen Metropoolregio Amsterdam' 2017
On March 2, 2017, Henri de Groot presented the latest edition of 'Economische Verkenningen Metropoolregio Amsterdam' (Economic Outlook Metropolitan Region Amsterdam - EVMRA), during a symposium held at the Eye Filmmuseum. EVMRA is a publication of Amsterdam Municipalitiy,commissioned by Platform Regionaal Economische Structuur (PRES). The research was carried out by TNO, NEO Observatory, Ecorys and Vrije Universiteit Amterdam. More information

In Memoriam: Raymond J.G.M. Florax (1956-2017)
We are sad to report that on March 1, 2017, our dear colleague and friend Raymond Florax passed away. Raymond was a true academic in all respects. He lived up to the opening sentence of the preface of his PhD thesis (p. xiii): ‘Knowledge is increasingly regarded as one of the vital (aspects of) production factors in modern industrialised economies’. Characteristic for everything he did was his great eye for detail and his strive for perfection. This was true for his research, his education, and the many administrative duties he has fulfilled. He carried out his work with great passion and dedication. IN MEMORIAM

STREEM Master's programme awarded 'Top Rated Programme' distinction
The Keuzegids - the Netherlands' influential higher education guide for prospective students - has awarded the distinction of 'Top Programme' to our Spatial, Transport, and Environmental Economics Master's programme. Students are particularly enthusiastic about the quality of the teaching staff, the internal communication within the programe, and the course content. Read more. 

NWO Grant for Eric Koomen
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has granted three research proposals in the SURF Pop Up 2016 Tender. One of them concerns the feasibility of further urban densification, a proposal submitted by SPINlab researcher Eric Koomen. Read more.


JOEG Best Referee Award for Hans Koster
Hans Koster won the JOEG (Journal of Economic Geography) Best Referee Award 2016. This award is given annually to the referees used in the previous year who, in the views of the Editors, have made an outstanding contribution to JOEG in terms of the number of reviews provided, speed of response, and quality and helpfulness of the comments.

Erik Verhoef Fellow of KiM
As of August 1, 2016, Erik Verhoef is Fellow of KiM (Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid, the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis). KiM provides knowledge inputs for the preparation of mobility policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. KiM carries out research and, in addition, collects the results of studies conducted elsewhere. KiM has attached professors from the Netherlands and abroad: the KiM fellows. These fellows provide scientific 'strengthening' for KiM's research activities. More information on the KiM website

Lifetime Achievement for Henk Scholten

Henk Scholten, Scientific Director of the Spatial Information laboratory (SPINlab) at the Department of Spatial Economics of VU Amsterdam, has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Geospatial Media and Communications for the year 2015. Having very unique social characteristics and instincts, Henk has immensely contributed in overall development of GIS and geospatial community worldwide. More information.

Very good scores for STREEM
The Master in Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics (STREEM) scores 4.2 (on a five-point scale) according to the results of the NSE (National Student Questionnaire) 2016. Students are particularly pleased with the teaching staff, the scientific training, and the group size. The score indicates that STREEM is one of the best performing masters in the Netherlands. STREEM on

TI/ERC Conference ‘Combating Climate Change’
On Apil 21-22, the TI/ERC Conference on Combating Climate Change. Lessons from Macroeconomics, Political Economy and Public Finance was held at the Tinbergen Institute. The conference marked the completion of the ERC Advanced Grant ‘Combating Climate Change – Political Economy of Green Paradoxes’, directed by Cees Withagen and Rick van der Ploeg. Key note lectures were given by Geoffrey Heal (Columbia University) and Hans-Werner Sinn (CESifo). There were 54 presentations altogether and around 70 people attended the conference. The European Economic Review and Environmental and Resource Economics will devote special issues to the conference. Cees Withagen’s valedictory lecture on Green and Gray Paradoxes concluded the conference.


Henri de Groot appointed member ofthe Social Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
Henri de Groot was named as Crown-appointed member of the Social Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) by the Dutch Cabinet on Friday December 18, 2015. The SER is the main advisory body to the Dutch government and the parliament on national and international social and economic policy. The SER is the main advisory body to the Dutch government and the parliament on national and international social and economic policy. Read more here.

Four research proposals accepted
In December, 2015, four of the Department’s research proposals in the field of Urban, Transport and Environmental Economics were accepted. The proposals fall within in the Dutch SURF programme Smart Urban Regions for the Future and the European JPI Urban Europe programme (ERA-NET COFUND Smart Cities and Communities (ENSCC)). This allows our department to attract four new PhD students, and provides post-doc research time to work on themes such as: automated driving; smart incentives and tradable peak hour permits; evaluation of commuting behavior and innovative urban transport policies; and the interrelations between urban form, energy use and local environmental quality. Principle investigators from the Department include Peter Mulder, Steven Poelhekke, Jos van Ommeren and Erik Verhoef. Read more 

Three researchers of our department in ESB Top 40
Three researchers from the Department made it into the ESB Top 40 of Economists this year: Erik Verhoef (11), Jos van Ommeren (13) and, new in the list, Vincent van den Berg (36, picture). Special mention was made of Rick van der Ploeg: had his affiliation in the Netherlands been large enough, he would have been number 1 in the list. The ESB list is based on journal publications in the years 2010-2014, using the Web of Science database of Thomson Reuters, weighted by a bibliometric quality indicator. ESB: Economentop 40 2015 (Dutch)