Dr. Siebren Miedema (1949) is Professor Emeritus in Educational Foundations in the Section Research and Theory in Education of the Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, and Professor Emeritus in Religious Education in the Department of Beliefs and Practices of  the Faculty of Religion and Theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

He has a degree in Education (Philosophy and History of Education) from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (Bachelor and Master cum laude, 1979) and a degree in Philosophy (Philosophy of the Social Sciences) from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (Bachelor and Master with much distinction, 1983). He received his PhD in Social Sciences from Leiden University in 1986.

In 1990 he was Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy and History of Education, at the Ontario Institute for the Study of Education (OISE), Toronto, Canada.

From February 2007 till February 2012 he was Visiting Professor in Philosophy of Religious Education in the Faculty of Sociology, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia in the two years international MA program ‘Global Sociology: Comparative Perspectives’.


He is the editor/author of more than 50 books and has published numerous academic articles and chapters, next to  many professional articles and newspaper articles both nationally and internationally in Dutch, English, German, French, Turkish, Japanese, Swedish and Portuguese. He gave more than 300 lectures, presentations and addresses mostly on invitation. He gave or was extensively mentioned in interviews or articles in newspapers and professional journals, and performed also  on radio and television.

In his publications he has dealt with/is dealing with pragmatism (Dewey, James, Mead and Peirce); the cultural historical approach (Vygotsky); critical pedagogy (both Continental – Klafki, Mollenhauer, Lempert – Australian and North American versions) and critical theory (Habermas); hermeneutical (geisteswissenschafliche) pedagogy (Weniger, Litt, Langeveld, Bollnow); history of education (e.g. Jewish education); early childhood education from an attachment theoretical perspective (Bowlby-Ainsworth); developmental psychology (Erikson, Marcia); philosophy of the social sciences; methodology of research in the social sciences and in education (e.g. qualitative and quantitative research methods, validity and reliability); neo-pragmatistic, postmodern, and poststructuralist philosophy (Rorty, Lyotard, Derrida); and religious and world view education and development. His main research topics at the moment are: religious identity formation from an interfaith perspective; paradigmatic approaches in theory and research on moral and religious education from a critical-pragmatic perspective; the interrelated positioning of religious education in the public, the social and the private domain; and the concept of religious citizenship education within liberal-democratic societies.


Since 1993 he has concentrated his research and writing on the relationship of education/pedagogy and religion within the school setting (elementary, secondary and higher education). First especially as religious education within the Christian tradition, but gradually he has broadened his focus and started to use the more embracing term ‘word view education’ or ‘philosophy of life’ (Dutch: ‘levensbeschouwing’; German ‘Weltanschauung’).

Taking into account the de-pillarization of Dutch society which began in the sixties of the 20th century, he has questioned both from a pedagogical point of view (meeting difference via dialogue and encounter) and a societal point of view (external social cohesion) the existence of closed, homogeneous, mono-religious schools and has plead for a national system of multi-religious or inter-religious schools in the Netherlands. Such instead of the existent dual educational system of a-religious or non-religious state schools and religious denominational schools, all equally paid by the state.

He has emphasized the importance of religious citizenship education, that is religious or world view education for all pupils in all schools, thus following John Dewey in combining a pedagogical and a sociological perspective. Pedagogically speaking, the aim of such education should be teaching and learning about and teaching and learning from religion/world view, that is fostering the active formation and self-formation of the religious identity (personhood) of the pupils. This aim presupposes a particular societal and political-philosophical view on religion in respect to the state (the relationship of state-and-church and of state-and-religion is at stake here). His claim (also strengthened by recent publications of Charles Taylor, Hans Joas and Jürgen Habermas) is that religion has its legitimate place and positioning in the private, the social as well as in the public domain. This aim got full attention and in a contextualized way (that is on a European scale) within the framework of the research project Religion in Education. A Contribution to dialogue or a factor of Conflict in transforming societies of European countries (2006-2009) funded by the European Commission in which project he was the leader of the Dutch research team.


He has published widely on his research in many national and international main journals in the field of educational theory and philosophy, educational journals and journals in the field of religion and religious education such as:

Pedagogisch Forum, Pedagogisch Tijdschrift, Tijdschrift voor Vrouwenstudies, Utrechtse Pedagogische Verhandelingen, Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogiek, Kind en Adolescent, Kennis en Methode, INFO, Pedagogische Studiën, Pedagogische Verhandelingen, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Opvoeding, Vorming en Onderwijs, Tijdschrift voor Onderwijswetenschappen, Insights, Comenius, Psychologie en Maatschappij, Pedagogiek. Wetenschappelijk Forum voor Opvoeding, Onderwijs en Vorming, Newsletter of the European Network Towards School Democratization, Jeugdonderzoek, Sociale Wetenschappen, Pedagogiek in Praktijk, Inter­change, Religious Education, Curriculum Inquiry, Pädagogische Rund­schau, Phenomenology and Pedagogy, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Paedagogica Historica, Panorama. International Journal of Comparative Education and Values, Curri­culum Per­spectives, Journal of Pediatric Psycho­logy, American Journal of Education, Educational Review, British Journal of Religious Education, Interna­tional Journal for Education and Religion, Review Journal of Philos­ophy and Social Science, Journal of Beliefs and Values. Studies in Religion and Education, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, International Journal for Education and Religion, History of Education Review, Jewish History, Informationes Theologiae Europae, Teaching and Teacher Education, Zeitschrift für Theologie und Pädagogik, Journal of Religious Education, Radix, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Handelingen. Tijdschrift voor Praktische Theologie, Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship.


Chapters in German and English have been published in:

Socie­tal Development, Social Policy and Helping Professions (Eds. Groen et al., 1986), Europe­an Contributions to Youth Research (Eds. Hazekamp et al., 1988), Recent Trends in Theoretical Psycholo­gy. Vol. II (eds. Baker et al., 1990), Reconceptuali­zing Politics, Socia­lizati­on, and Educati­on. International Perspec­tives for the 21st Century (Ed. Farnen, 1993), Recon­structing the Mind. Replica­bility in Research and Human Deve­lopment (Eds. Van der Veer et al., 1994), Bildung, Ge­sellschaft, soziale Ungleich­heit. Neue internationale Beiträge zur Bil­dungssoziologie und Bildung­stheorie (Eds. Sünker et al., 1994), From Subject to Citizen. Options and Trajectories of Political Socialisation and Educa­tion (Eds. Csepeli et al., 1994), New Scholarship on Dewey (Ed. Garrison, 1995); Problems of Theoretical Psychology (Eds. Tolman et al,, 1996), Philos­ophy of Education 1995 (Eds. Neiman et al., 1996), Democracy, Socialization and Conflicting Loyalties in East and West. Cross-national and Comparative Perspectives (Eds. Farnen et al., 1996), Revolutionary Multi­culturalism. Pedago­gies of dissent for the New Millenium (McLaren, 1997), Poli­tics, Sociology, and Econo­mics of Educa­tion. Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspec­tives (Eds. Farnen & Sünker, 1997), Iden­titätsbildung im pluralen Europa. Perspektiven für Schule und Religionsunter­richt (Eds. Schrei­ner & Spinder, 1997),Re­min­ding: Renewing the Mind in Learning (Eds. Blomberg & Lam­bert, 1998), Handbuch Evangelische Schulen (Eds. Scheilke & Schrei­ner, 1999), Kriti­sche Erziehungswissen­schaft am Neube­ginn?! (Eds. Sünker & Krüger, 1999), Critical Theories in Education. Chan­ging Ter­rains of Knowledge and Politics (Eds. Popkewitz & Fendler, 1999), Die Neue Erziehung. Beiträge zur Internationa­lität der Reformpädagogik (Eds. Oelkers & Oster­walder, 1999), Education, Culture and Values Vol. V. Spiritual and Religious Education (Eds. Leicester, Modgil & Modgil, 1999), Dewey and European Education. General Problems and Case Studies (Eds. Oelkers & Rhyn, 2000, Towards Religious Competence (Eds. Heimbrock, Scheilke & Schreiner, 2001), William James and Education (Eds. Garrison, Podeschi & Bredo, 2002), New Methodological Approaches in Religious Education (Ed. Selçuk, 2003), Towards a European Perspective on Religious Education (Eds. Larsson & Gustavsson, 2004), Holistic Education Resource Book. Learning and teaching in an ecumenical context (Eds. Schreiner, Banev & Oxley, 2005), International Handbook of the Religious, Spiritual and Moral Dimensions of Education. Vol. I & II (Eds. De Souza, Engebretson, Durka, R. Jackson & McGrady, 2006), Researching RE Teachers. RE teachers as Researchers (Eds. Bakker & Heimbrock, 2007), Religion and Education in Europe. Developments, Contexts and Debates (Eds. Jackson, Miedema, Weisse & Willaime, 2007), A Moving God. Christian Immigrant Churches in the Netherlands (Eds. Jansen & Stoffels, 2008), Religionspädagogik und Zeitgeschichte im Spiegel der Rezeption von Karl Ernst Nipkow (Eds. Schweitzer, Elsenbast & Scheilke, 2008), Mein gott – Dein Gott. Interkulturelle und interreligiöse Bildung in Kindertagestätten (Eds. Schweitzer, Biesinger & Edelbrock, 2008), Encountering Religious Pluralism in School and Society. A Qualitative Study of Teenage Perspectives in Europe (Eds. Knauth, Josza, Bertram-Troost & Ipgrave, 2008), Lived Religion – Conceptual, Empirical and Practical-Theological Approaches. Essays in Honor of Hans-Günter Heimbrock (Eds. Streib, dinter & Söderblom, 2008), Essays in Honour of Nicolas P. Wolterstorff (Ed. Woldring, 2008), Dialogischer Religionsunterricht in Hamburg. Positionen, Analysen und Perspektiven im Kontext Europas (Ed. Weisse, 2008), Teenagers‘ Perspectives on the Role of Religion in their Lives, Schools and societies. A European Quantitative Study (Eds. Valk, Bertram-Troost, Friederici & Béraud), Teachers Responding to Religious Diversity in Europe. Researching Biography and Pedagogy (Eds. Van der Want, Bakker, Ter Avest & Everington, 2009), International Handbook for Interreligious Education (Eds. De Souza, Engebretson, Durka & Gearon, 2010), Bridging the Gap. Connecting Christian Faith and Professional Practice in a Pluralistic Society (De Muynck, Hegeman & Vos, 2011), Moral Education and Development: A Lifetime Commitment (De Ruyter & Miedema, 2011), Reaching for the Sky. Religious Education from Christian and Islamic Perspectives (El Bouayadi- Van de Wetering & Miedema, 2012), Commitment, Character, and Citizenship. Religious Education in Liberal Democracy (Eds. Alexander & Agbaria, 2012).


Among his book publications are:

The Politics of Human Science (Eds. Miedema et al., 1994), Pedagogiek in meervoud [Pedagogy in plural] (Ed. Miedema, 20005), Filosofie van de pedagogische wetenschappen [Philosophy of the Educational Sciences] (Miede­ma & Biesta, 1989), Christelijk onderwijs in ontwikkeling. Jaarboek 1994, 1995 & 1996 [Christian Education in Develop­ment. Yearbook 1994, 1995 & 1996] (Eds. Miedema & Klifman, 1994, 1995 & 1996), Visie als venster. Pluraliteit van levens­beschouwingen binnen het christelijk Hoger Beroepsonderwijs [Vision als window. Plurality of worldviews in Christian higher education](Eds. Miedema & Vijver, 1995); Postmodernism and Education (Eds. Higgs, Miedema, Van der Walt & Zecha, 1997), Pedagogiek over de grens. Over de internationalisering van de pedagogiek [Cros­sing the borderlines. The internalisation of the educati­onal sciences] (Eds. Miedema & Van Haaften, 1998), Vormende lerarenopleidingen [Edifying teachers colleges] (Eds. De Bekker-Ketelaars, Miedema & Wardekker, 1998), Alle onderwijs bijzonder. Levensbeschouwelijke waarden in het onderwijs [All schools special. Religious values in education] (Eds. Miedema & Vroom, 2002), Bijzonder gemotiveerd [Extra motivated] (Dijkstra & Miedema, 2003), Pedagogisch opleiden [Pedagogical training] (Eds. Ten Dam, Veugelers, Wardekker & Miedema, 2004), Religie in het onderwijs. Zekerheden en onzekerheden van levensbeschouwelijke vorming [Religion in schools. On certainties and uncertainties in worldview education] (Ed. Miedema, 2006), Levensbeschouwelijk leren samenleven. Opvoeding, identiteit & ontmoeting [Learning to live religiously together. Pedagogy, identity and encounter] (Eds. Miedema & Bertram-Troost, 2006), Religion and Education in Europe. Developments, Contexts and Debates (Eds. Jackson, Miedema, Weisse & Willaime, 2007), Religious Education in a World of Religious Diversity (Eds. Meijer, Miedema, Lanser-van der Velde, 2009), De Gereformeerden en hun vormingsoffensief door de eeuwen heen (Eds. Steutel, De Ruyter & Miedema, 2009), Religious Education as Encounter. A Tribute to John M. Hull (Ed. Miedema, 2009), Godsdienstpedagogiek. Dimensies en spanningsvelden (Miedema & E.T. Alii, 2009), Moral Education and Development. A Lifetime Commitment (Eds. De Ruyter & Miedema, 2011), Reaching for the Sky. Religious Education from Christian and Islamic Perspectives (Eds. El Bouayadi-van de Wetering & Miedema, 2012), Exploring Context in Religious Education Research. Empirical, methodological and theoretical perspectives (Skeie, Everington, Ter Avest & Miedema, 2013).