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Gerrit-Jan Zwenne

Attorney-at-law • Partner

Gerrit-Jan studied Dutch law at the University of Leiden, where he also defended his doctoral thesis 'Belastingheffing en Informatieverplichtingen' (Taxation and Information Obligations) in 1998. He is a full professor of law and digital technologies at Leiden University. In addition to that, as of 1st of June 2023 he will also be full professor data protection law at the Dutch Open University.

Before joining Pels Rijcken in 2018, Gerrit-Jan was a partner at Brinkhof and Bird & Bird. He is the author of a number of lectures and articles on digitisation, including for the Dutch Lawyers Association, the Association for Health Law and the Association for Education Law. He is chairman of the Association of Privacy Lawyers (VPR-A) and sits on the board of the Association for Privacy Law (VPR).

He is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Information Management of the Ministry of Justice and Security, the Advisory Committee on the Rule of Law of the Netherlands Bar Association, the Advisory Board of the National Archives, and a lecturer and examiner in both the VPR-A specialisation training programme and the VIRA-Grotius programme for ICT lawyers. Finally, he is the editor (and author) of Tekst & Commentaar Privacy en gegevensbeschermingsrecht (8th edition 2022), Concise European Data Protection, E-Commerce and IT Law, Tijdschrift voor internetrecht and Sdu Monografieën ICT-recht.


  • "Gerrit-Jan is one of the primary authorities in the area of data privacy in the Netherlands." - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • "Gerrit-Jan is not afraid to take a position in this very regulated and difficult area: he's willing and able to come up with practical solutions. - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • "Gerrit-Jan is an undisputed authority on privacy and data protection law in the Netherlands. Having him on our side does make a difference. He is a master of reducing complexity down to simplicity, backed by profound knowledge of the legal technicalities."  - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "He is a leading adviser in a privacy minefield."  - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "Gerrit Jan Zwenne is an authority in data protection legislation and case law. His advice is practical though built upon a thorough understanding of daily practices, new technologies and the interpretation of hard to grasp legislation. Having Gerrit Jan Zwenne on your side in legal challenges, literally reduces stress levels. The rational and steady approach is highly appreciated." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Gerrit Jan Zwenne is spot on and combines science and practice in an accessible way. A brilliant thinker who oversees the whole picture and is able to present the key issues on a plate." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Gerrit-Jan Zwenne is an absolute legend in privacy law. In addition, he has been introduced as the best in the daily practice of our company. He is professional, has so much knowledge and is a very good communicator." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • Hall of Fame - The Legal 500, 2023
  • Halll of Fame - The Legal 500, 2022
  • "Gerrit-Jan Zwenne is an absolute authority in his field of expertise." - The Legal 500, 2022
  • "Gerrit-Jan is the personification of an expert, he can reduce hugely complex matters to simple proportions with pragmatic solutions." - The Legal 500, 2022
  • "I work with Mr. Gerrit-Jan Zwenne who in my opinion is the authority in the Netherlands with regard to privacy matters." - The Legal 500, 2022
  • Recommended lawyer for Industry focus: Information technology - The Legal 500, 2022