Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies


  • Jeroen Doomernik (University of Amsterdam/IMES, Netherlands)
  • Birgit Glorius (Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany)


Since 2011, the refugee flows to Europe have greatly increased, putting European migration politics under pressure. There are steady and even growing refugee movements from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea and there is considerable displacement of people fleeing civil war and internal conflicts in the near East, especially from Syria. Meanwhile, the consequences of increasing refugee flows are largely felt at the local level, as municipal authorities throughout Europe receive growing contingents of refugees whom they have to accommodate. The challenge of administrative and practical management of the arrival process is intensified by the need to react to public concerns and xenophobic reactions caused by the visible presence of refugees in peoples’ local environment. Not least, these developments are a result of a common discursive strategy to divide migrants into desirable and deserving versus undesirable and undeserving refugees.

The research initiative “Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies (RELOCAL)” focusses on the issue of refugee reception on the local level in EU member states. We are aiming to provide a systematic and comparative research on the process of arrival on the local level, including management strategies of the local administration, the development of public discourse in the locality, and on reflections of the reception situation from the migrants’ perspective. We are furthermore interested in the relationships, politically and otherwise, between local and other levels of governance. A series of comparatively undertaken locality and country studies will provide for profound insight in the differences of reception processes throughout countries and regions of the European Union.


  • Dalia Abdelhady (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden)
  • Camilla Alberti (Centre for Migration Law at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
  • Inken Carstensen-Egwuom (University of Flensburg, Germany)
  • Milena Belloni (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Jonathan Darling (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Chiara Denaro (Sapienzia University of Rome, Italy)
  • Jeroen Doomernik (UvA/IMES, Netherlands)
  • Thomas Drage (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Lukasz Dziedzic (Tilburg University, UK)
  • Benjamin Etzold (University of Bonn, Germany)
  • Veronika Flegar (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
  • Anna Gansbergen (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)
  • Blanca Garces-Mascarenas (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Birgit Glorius (TUC, Germany)
  • Sophie Hinger (University of Osnabrueck, Germany)
  • Aslı Ikizoğlu (University of Minnesota, USA)
  • Holger Jahnke (University of Flensburg, Germany)
  • Sylvana Jahre (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
  • Lama Kabbanji (French Research Institute for Development, Paris, France)
  • Zeynep Kaşlı (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)
  • Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Durham University, UK)
  • Lisa Li (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
  • Ljupka Mandic (University of Novi Sad, Serbia)
  • Sara Miellet (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • Terézia Nagy (Southern Great Plains Region Social Research Association, Hungary)
  • Nevena Nancheva (University of Westminster, UK)
  • Gracy Pelacani (University of Trento, Italy)
  • David Petry (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
  • Andreas Pott, (IMIS Osnabrueck, Germany)
  • Sieglinde Rosenberger (University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Philipp Schäfer (University of Konstanz, Germany)
  • Marie Louise Seeberg (Oslo University College, Norway)
  • Michela Semprebon (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy)
  • Giulia Sinatti ( Free University Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Anton Steen (University of Oslo, Norway)
  • Östen Wahlbeck (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Franziska Werner (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany)
  • Verena Wisthaler (University of Leicester and European Adacemy of Bozen, UK/Italy)
  • Petra Wlasak (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Maike Wünnemann (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)


Agenda of activities


Conference panel at the 11th IMISCOE Conference in Madrid “Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies”

Research workshop TU Chemnitz, October 2014


Two Conference panels at the 12th IMISCOE Conference in Geneva: “Refugee Migration and Local Demarcations”


Book workshop at the University of Amsterdam March 2016, in preparation of the planned publication on “Reception of Asylum Seekers in Europe: National Policies and Local Practices”

13th IMISCOE Conference in Prague 2016: Conference panel on “Refugee reception: From uncertainty to innovation”; book workshop for continuation of conceptual discussions of the planned book publication; cluster meeting for continuing discussion on funding opportunities

Outlook for 2017:

Conference panel “A Transatlantic Comparative View on Local Policies towards Migrants” during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 5-9, 2017

Conference panels at the 14th IMISCOE conference in Rotterdam, June 2017



  • Special edition Journal of Refugee Studies Volume 29Issue 4 December2016: “Refugee Migration and Local Demarcations: New Insight into European Localities”

In Preparation

  • Book Publication: “Commonalities and differences of refugee reception processes throughout countries and regions of the European Union”
  • Research Proposal in the Framework of Horizon 2020 (2/2017)