Dr. J. (Jonathan) Holslag

foto Dr. J. (Jonathan) Holslagvergrootglas

Prof. Jonathan Holslag (1981) is co-founder of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies and a lecturer on international relations at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Prof. Holslag is one of the most prominent specialists in Asian affairs in Europe and a rising star in the field of geopolitics.

Prof. Jonathan Holslag wrote several popular books on China as an emerging great power. His book "The Power of Paradise" has generally received good reviews, and in part provides an outline for an EU response to the changing world order.

Besides his academic work, he has been advising most of the European institutions, several governments and international organisations. Prof. Holslag maintains relations with politicians, high ranking civil servants and prominent researchers from across the globe. He has appeared frequently in globally recognised media and is frequently sollicited as an opinion leader in international discussion forums.


Personal data

Name and surname

Jonathan Holslag

Date of birth


Place of birth

Hamont-Achel, Belgium



Secondary school

Salvatorcollege, Hamont-Achel, Belgium


Teacher training history, Hasselt, Belgium

Political sciences (International Relations), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 2004 to 2007


Political sciences (International Relations), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 2007 to 2011

Additional training

Courses on defence- and military policies at the Koninklijke Militaire School (Royal Military Academy), Brussels, Belgium



  • Teacher in history
  • Ph.D. researcher, Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Post-doctoral fellow, Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Selected honouraries and functions (current)

  • Co-founder Vrijdaggroep (round table of twenty promising young Belgian thinkers, supported by the King Baudouin Foundation), since 2013
  • Nobel Fellow (Nobel Institute Oslo), since 2014
  • Rockefeller fellow Trilateral Commission, since 2014
  • Delegate Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), since 2014

Selected honouraries and functions (past)

  • Co-ordinator of the EU-China Academic Network, 2007 to 2008
  • Advisor (usually as part of a broader committee) on issues regarding China for various companies, governments and international intergovernmental bodies; to the European Parliament in 2007 and 2011, to the European Commission in 2008


Selected references and statements

Selected scientific publications

  • "China’s New Mercantilism in Africa" (article, 2006)
  • "Europe and China: The Great Disillusion" (article, 2006)
  • "China Engages the World" (co-author contribution to book, 2009)
  • "China's roads to influence" (article, 2010)
  • "Assessing the Sino-Indian Water Dispute" (article, 2011)
  • "China's regional dilemma: An Inquiry into the Limits of China's Economic and Military Power" (dissertation, 2011)
  • "Evaluating the Sino-European strategic partnership" (article, 2011)
  • "Seas of Trouble" (article, 2012)

Published a number of other articles, and (co-author of) scientifically based reports for various institutions and projects.

Selected popular publications

  • "Macht of mythe: achter de schermen van het Chinese groeimirakel" (co-author book, 2006)
  • "China en India: Prospects for peace" (book, 2010)
  • "Trapped giant: China's troubled military rise" (book, 2011)
  • "De kracht van het paradijs - hoe Europa kan overleven in de Aziatische eeuw" (book, 2013) 

In interviews and speeches

  • Has called for further European integration for reasons based on realpolitik. Holslag refers to it as better integration, not necessarily further integration, though he mostly argues in favour of integration in certain policy areas such as energy and defence.
  • In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Syrian and the Ukrainian crises argued that European leaders have little feeling for the realpolitik in world affairs, a stance Holslag deemed necessary if the European Union is to survive as a power in its own right


Online presence

Personal website (articles, blogs and more): www.jonathanholslag.be

This biography has been updated until October 28, 2014.