PhD scholarship ritualization of megalithic monuments

23 May 2022

The Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (both at the University of Groningen, NL) offer a four year studentship to complete a PhD on present-day ritual activities that take place at the megalithic tombs in the Netherlands (Hunebedden).

Scholarship opportunities

The Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (both at the University of Groningen, NL) offer a four year studentship to complete a PhD within a joint interdisciplinary project led by Prof. Daan Raemaekers ( and Dr. Brenda Mathijssen ( The proposed PhD research plan will be embedded in the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) at the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Comparative Study of Religion the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.

The PhD candidate will analyse various present-day ritual activities that take place at the megalithic tombs in the Netherlands (hunebedden). Examples of such rituals include commemorative practices, pilgrimage journeys, the disposition of cremated remains, and druidic ceremonies. How can we understand these emerging practices in the socio-cultural context of the Netherlands and Western Europe? And what is the significance of the materiality and temporality of the megalithic tombs? The PhD student will analyse these questions by employing qualitative research methods and by engaging with theory from the field of ritual studies. For example the notion of “ritualisation” and the theoretical concept of “ritual framing”, indicating that rituals and ritualisations are devices that enable people to frame and deframe their experiences and realities.


We are looking for talented and ambitious researchers in relevant disciplines, such as anthropology, archaeology, cultural geography, and religious studies.

Your qualifications are:

  • a research masters degree, or comparable selective masters, with an excellent academic record
  • demonstrated research abilities and affinity with the research topic
  • demonstrated experience in qualitative research
  • demonstrated experience in the study of ritual or material culture
  • great communicative skills
  • native or near-native command of Dutch (C1 or C2)
  • excellent command of English and proven academic writing skills.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.


The successful candidate will receive a scholarship € 2,249 gross per month. She/he will be required to be resident in Groningen.

General information about the University of Groningen’s PhD scholarship programme can be found here

The preferred starting date is 1 September 2022


Your application (uploaded in one pdf) should include:

  • a brief letter of motivation
  • a CV, including contact details of two academic referees
  • a research proposal of up to 2,000 words, covering (a) state of the art, (b) main research question, key objectives, and relevance, (c) the proposed (methodological) approach, and (d) the proposed timetable for the writing of your thesis. This proposal should correspond to the project description above
  • a writing sample of no more than 5,000 words, such as an essay or part of a Master’s thesis
  • certified official transcripts of your academic degrees.

Official documents must be in the English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch language. Any translation of originals not in these languages must be authenticated.

You may apply for this position until 8 June 11:59pm / before 9 June 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Note that the procedure will include interviews. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview on site. Interviews are scheduled to take place in the second half of June.

We recommend you contact either Daan Raemaekers ( or Brenda Mathijssen (brenda.mathijssen before applying for the scholarship. For questions regarding the submission procedure, please contact Nadja Zadorina (

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.


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