Caroline de Gruyter is a journalist and lecturer based in Brussels. She is a European Affairs correspondent and columnist for the leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and a regular contributor to Foreign Policy, EUobserver and De Standaard. She spent more than twenty years covering Europe, from different corners of the continent. @CarolineGruyter


In Dutch

In other languages


Je zult maar met iedereen ruzie hebben; Observaties over Europa

Uitgeverij De Geus, June 2022

The world has changed dramatically in recent years, and Europe has changed with it. This book, a selection of columns in NRC from January 2017 to the first weeks of war in Ukraine in March 2022, captures that change. Using current events, drawing on history and literature, Caroline de Gruyter writes lucidly and passionately about Europe muddling through. While some say Europe is too powerful and others that it is weak and divided, her focus is on Europe’s constant transformations instead. Thanks to her in-depth analyses, we get to know Europe better step by step.

Book and e-book available here

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

Uitgeverij De Geus, March 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 (Dutch) available here
Book and e-book (German) available here
Book and e-book (Swedish) available here
Book and e-book (French) available here
Book (Hungarian) 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.

New edition and e-book (2024) available here 





Caroline de Gruyter is a Europe correspondent and columnist for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Her voice and expertise about Europe are well-known in The Netherlands and beyond. She is based in Brussels.

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, Geneva, Vienna and Oslo. She also writes regular columns for Foreign Policy, EUobserver and De Standaard, and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. She has written five books - all dealing, in one way or another, with globalization, democracy and the political quicksands of sovereignty. Book number five (March 2021) is a best-selling comparison between the EU and the Habsburg Empire.