About me

My name is Els van Wijngaarden. Welcome to my research website.

wijngaarden_els-van_c_-fjodor-buis-rechtenvrijI am a lecturer and researcher at  the University for Humanistic Studies in the department of Care Ethics, and researcher at Tao of Care. During the past years, I have conducted a PHD-project on on ‘older people who consider their lives to be completed’.  It involves several phenomenological and ethical reflections on this phenomenon. This study was funded by The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

My current research concerns the following topics: old age, meaning in old age, experiences of completed life, death wishes and the self-chosen death (euthanasia and ‘self-euthanasia’). In my work, I try to make the connection between various scientific disciplines and fields of research, such as phenomenology, care ethics, social policy studies, and (interpretative) gerontology. I combine conceptual and empirical research, using them in a dialectical relation to each other: conceptual and theoretical insights are questioned and enriched by empirical research and vice versa. I am also involved in narrative research into the daily life of people with dementia and their close ones.

Previously, I have studied Religious Studies at VU University Amsterdam. My MA-specialisation was about Spiritual Counseling in Organisations (cum laude).

My main areas of interest are: ethics, religion and spirituality, philosophy, care, spiritual care, old age, end-of-life.


Curriculum Vitae

2016 – present
Lecturer / researcher, Universiteit voor Humanistiek & Tao of Care

2010 – present
Member of the researchgroup Ethics of Care, University for Humanistic Studies Utrecht

2013 – present
Member of the Long-Term Care Partnership, University of Amsterdam

2012 – 2016 (November)
PhD project on Completed Life, University for Humanistic Studies Utrecht

2012 – present
Trainer at the Post-graduate Palliative Care for Nurses, Windesheim University
Main topics: ethics of care, quality of life, spiritual care in palliative care and moral deliberation

2011 – 2016
Lecturer in Applied Ethics, Windesheim University Zwolle
Main topics: ethics, spirituality (in care), meaningful life



For further information, see my Linked-in profile.