Citizenship & Democracy

How to reinvent trust, dialogue and decision-making

The information revolution has served to inform citizens but has opened wide avenues for misinformation as well, fuelling mistrust and polarisation. With the legitimacy of national and international systems of government being questioned, we can reinvigorate institutions that are vital for democratic compromise, economic prosperity and the rule of law. Digital connectivity can be used to reduce social exclusion and to advance social cohesion and create productive mixtures of national, cultural, and religious identities. These and related societal challenges are addressed in programme line Citizenship & Democracy.

23 November 2017

Digital Society Research Agenda

1 May 2024

Mondai TU Delft: Seminar Series on Meaningful Human-AI Interactions for a Digital Society

1 May 2024

Photos Digital Society Conference 2024

6 March 2024

Registration Digital Society Conference 25 April is open.

Academics that are working on finding solutions to societal challenges related to Citizenship & Democracy:

Marcel Broersma (University of Groningen)


Marcel Broersma is full professor of Journalism Studies and Media at the University of Groningen. He is head of the Journalism department and director of the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies. His research interests focus on the transformation of journalism, the innovation and diffusion of forms and styles of journalism, on political communication, and on local and regional journalism. He has published widely on both the history and current development of journalism in the Netherlands and comparatively.

Claes de Vreese (University of Amsterdam)


As Professor of political communication ( I am interested in how media and information enable citizens to participate in democratic processes. These opportunities are changing and processes of digitisation change the nature of this. Together with Natali Helberger we lead a large project on the nature and consequences of personalised communication ( as a key example of how digitisation can affect media and citizens in a democracy. I am also the Director of the Digital Communication Methods Lab ( in which we integrate novel approaches to studying the role of media and communication in a digital world.


The Citizenship and Democracy line in the Digital Society initiative is at the corner stone of how we organise, understand, and participate in democratic processes in a changing media and communication landscape. I hope we can pool resources and imagination in this line to make the Netherlands a leading hub for research and teaching on how all citizens can best access, use, and create information to be a citizens in a digital society.

Natali Helberger (University of Amsterdam)


Natali Helberger has been appointed professor of Information Law, with a special focus on the use of information, at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Law. Helberger researches how the role of the user of information is changing under the influence of information technology, and social and economic conditions. She also examines the resulting implications for the legal position, rights and obligations of information users under current and future media and communications law, consumer law and data protection law. Helberger’s research features a strong interdisciplinary component: in order to assess whether and how information law ties in with the reality of information users and information markets, she regularly works with communication scientists, social scientists, psychologists as well as cultural scientists and economists.

Ton Wilthagen (Tilburg University)


My expertise relates to labour markets, labour market and employment policy, labour relatiions, labour law and social security: national, international as well as regional. I am specifically interested in the relationship between on the one hand labour market dynamism and flexibilization and social cohesion, inclusion, protection and (new) securities on the other. Is a labour market that is both dynamic and inclusive possible at all? What are sustainable labour market policies? One of the key concepts that I developed from this perspective is “flexicurity”. Regarding dynamisim I also have an interest in how new technologies, such as robotization, influence the labour market and work. Besides research and education (among other things in the Master Labour Law and Employment Relations and the Research Master in Law Tilburg/Leuven) I am strongly engaged in generating societal impact from knowledge and science, as co-leader of the Impact Programme of Tilburg University.

Franciska de Jong (Utrecht University)


Franciska de Jong is full professor of e-Research for the Humanties and executive director of CLARIN ERIC, the governing body of CLARIN which has its statutory seat at Utrecht University. CLARIN (Common LAnguage Resources and Technology INfrastructure) has the objective is to provide scholars in the humanities and social sciences seamless access to digital language data and processing tools all across Europe. Currently, her main research interest is in the field of access technology for digital libraries, text mining, cross-language retrieval, the disclosure of cultural heritage collections (in particular spoken audio archives), and e-research at large.

Joëlle Swart (University of Groningen)

Joëlle Swart

Joëlle Swart is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at the University of Groningen. Her research focuses on news use and media literacy, considering how people learn and develop user practices, norms and attitudes around news and journalism in digital environments. Her work has been published in several international academic journals, including Journalism Studies, Media, Culture & Society and New Media & Society.

Paddy Leerssen (University of Amsterdam)


Paddy Leerssen is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on freedom of expression and the governance of online platforms, and in particular on the regulation of transparency in these ecosystems. Paddy holds degrees in Dutch law (Maastricht University, University of Amsterdam) and US law (Harvard Law School) and is also a non-resident fellow at the Stanford University Center for Internet and Society.

Mariangela Veikou (Tilburg University)

Mariangela Veikou

Mariangela Veikou’s work has a background in Social and Political Sciences and Anthropology. Her main research interests lie in the governance and rhetoric on migration and asylum in Europe, meanings of citizenship, cultural diversity and integration with a recent focus on the digital dynamics in society. Her methodological expertise is in narrative approach, ethnographic research and the visual incorporated in ethnographic work. Her empirical material includes migration, asylum seeking, far right extremist organisations and vulnerable situations such as statelessness in children and trafficking victims.

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