Caroline de Gruyter is a journalist and lecturer based in Oslo. She is a European Affairs correspondent for the leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and a regular contributor to Carnegie Europe and Foreign Policy. She was posted to Brussels twice and spent more than twenty years covering Europe. @CarolineGruyter


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Beter wordt het niet; een reis door de Europese Unie en het Habsburgse Rijk

Uitgeverij De Geus, maart 2021

Europeans often complain that the EU is divided, slow and weak. Believe it or not, the Habsburg Empire was the same. Playing for time, avoiding conflict, working on never-ending reforms and finding ugly compromises were key characteristics of Habsburg governance. By kicking the can down the road – fortwursteln – successive emperors managed to keep many nations, language groups and cultures safe and sound under one roof for about six hundred years. What are the Habsburg lessons for today’s Europe? Could Europe’s weaknesses actually be its strength? And should we finally accept the EU as it is: a benign empire of sorts, in permanent change, unfinished per definition?

Book and e-book available here

Het vervloekte paradijs; waarom politici Europa eindelijk eens serieus moeten nemen

Uitgeverij Athenaeum, november 2016

Prize-winning journalist Caroline de Gruyter is one of the few Dutch journalists writing a weekly column about European affairs, in NRC Handelsblad. Sharp, timeless and unsentimental, they are always full of  inside information – sometimes from the Brussels ‘bubble’, often from other corners of Europe. Here is a selection of her best columns from 2014-2016, on globalization, democracy, Brexit and the continuing importance of Franco-German cooperation. “In the 1950s we decided to stop shooting with live ammunition, and start shooting with words instead. It’s never perfect, it’s often messy – but it works.”

Book and e-book available here

Zwitserlevens; de nieuwe politieke realiteit in Europa

Uitgeverij Athenaeum, may 2015

A detailed, personal account of the clash between globalisation and democracy in a tiny Swiss village between 2004 and 2008. Why was the turnout for elections so low? What made those who still bothered to vote, embrace the extreme right in such numbers? And what does this tell us about similar things happening nowadays in many countries of the European Union?

E-book available here

De Europeanen; leven en werken in de hoofdstad van Europa

Uitgeverij De Bezige Bij, 2006

Containing 28 interviews with Europeans living in Brussels - lobbyists, European officials, children at the European school, etc – the book draws a multi-layered portrait of life in the proverbial ‘euro bubble’. It can be read as an accessible, personal introduction to Europe, but it also explores the complex dilemma of European identity.

Het koffiehuis van Mohammed Skaik en andere taferelen uit speelgoedstaatje Gaza

Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 1997

This book, which has only been published in Dutch, describes the first years of Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip (1994-1997). Using concrete, moving and sometimes even hilarious concrete examples from daily life, it shows how the Gazans obtained the symbols of statehood – an airport, a flag, passports even – but not the content of sovereignty.





Caroline de Gruyter is an author and Europe correspondent for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Her voice and expertise about Europe are well-known in The Netherlands. She is based in Oslo.

Between 2008 and 2013 she covered the euro crisis and European politics from Brussels. In 2013 she was awarded the prestigious Anne Vondeling Prize for her political reporting. The jury called her ,,exceptionally well-informed’’. In 2015 she received the Heldring Prize for best Dutch columnist. The jury found her weekly columns of ,,exceptional quality''. In 2016 she was awarded the Prix du Mérite Européen, and in 2017 the 'EuroNederlander' award.

Caroline has previously lived in the Gaza strip, Jerusalem, Brussels (twice), Geneva and Vienna. She is a regular contributor to Carnegie Europe, a columnist for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, and a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. She has written four books - all dealing, in one way or another, with globalization, democracy and the political quicksands of sovereignty. Book number five will have something to do with the EU and the Habsburg Empire.

biography in English (short)
biography in Dutch (short)
biography in Dutch (long)