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Dr. Niké Wentholt

Niké Wentholt

Postdoc researcher in 'Dialogics of Justice' project




wetenschappelijk personeel, Leerstoel Burgerschap en Humanisering van de Publieke Sector


Niké Wentholt is a postdoc researcher at the University of Humanistic Studies. As part of the Dialogics of Justice-team, she will conduct a socio-legal analysis to explore new ways of thinking about recognition and repair. She closely works together with other researchers from the project (Naomi Ormskerk, Obiozo Ukpabi, Nicole Immler, Carla Boulos), who will study four distinct case studies that examine different institutional contexts for victims' claims for recognition.
She has completed her PhD project at the University of Groningen. Her dissertation was titled: 'Overcoming History, Becoming European? Politics of the Past and EU Accession in Serbia and Bulgaria'.

As part of the Dialogics of Justice-project, Niké works together with societal partners to explore how our insights on recognition and transformative justice can help improve repair processes. These partners include the Ministry of Finance (child benefits scandal), Expertise Center Intercountry Adoption INEA, the Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks- en Datacentrum (violence in youth care), and the Expertise Network Srebrenica.

Her PhD project was fully funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It included field research in Bulgaria and Serbia. For the OSCE she designed and conducted a study on the use of history by extremist right-wing and jihadist groups in Serbia.

She holds a Master of Science degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford and completed her undergraduate studies in History at the University of Groningen (cum laude).



As a postdoc in the Dialogics of Justice project, Niké will conduct a socio-legal analysis to explore new ways of thinking about recognition of repair. Her priority will be to map the legal grounds for the four cases. Departing from insights of legal anthropology and other interdisciplinary fields, she will aim towards a more grounded understanding of translation and transformation in (legal) recognition procedures. It is her aim to synthesize the empirical findings from all four research cases to design a toolbox. This toolbox will help stakeholders to grasp the complexities as well as opportunities of recognition and reparation procedures.

Other research projects:

- Societal repair for the child benefits scandal, for the Ministry of Finance
- Evaluation of recognition measures for violence in youthcare facilities, for WODC

Previous (research) projects:

- Colonialism in the Walls of the UvH, financed by municipality of Utrecht and University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht. Co-organizer of the project that resulted in an exhibition, ritual, podcast, and monument.

- Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Serbia: Countering Violent Extremism. Paid consultancy/expert position. Resulted in the publication of a report, a chapter in an edited volume, and presentations for academic and policy audiences in Belgrade and Novi Pazar, Serbia, and Washington DC, USA.

- Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa: fellowship in the project Comparative Transitional Justice in Africa. Resulted in a policy brief.


Research Portal University of Humanistic Studies

Academic publications:  

- Mustafić, Alma and Niké Wentholt [shared first authorship] (2024, forthcoming), 'Finding the Truth but Ending the Conversation? How Dutch Civil Court Cases on the Srebrenica Genocide Shaped the Space for Reparation,' Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 53. Accepted for publication

Wentholt, Niké and Nicole Immler (2023), 'How Tort Can Address Historical Injustice, Exploring the Momentum for the Slavery Justice Movement in Dutch Civil Courts,' Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 2, 189-210.

- Immler, Nicole and Niké Wentholt (2023) [shared first authorship], Herstel als maatschappelijke opdracht. Zichtbare transformatie van relaties. Discussienotitie voor een rondetafelgesprek over maatschappelijk herstel voor de toeslagenaffaire.

- Wentholt, Niké (2020), 'The EU And the Western Balkans: Challenges Changing 
Shape,' Clingendael SpectatorWestern Balkans In Focus.

- Wentholt, Niké (2019), Overcoming History, Becoming European? Politics of the Past and European Union Accession in Bulgaria and Serbia. PhD Dissertation.

- Wentholt, Niké (2019), ‘Using the Past to Extremes in Serbia: Narratives of Historical Violence in Right-Wing Extremism and Islamism’, in: Valery Perry ed., Extremism and Violent Extremism in Serbia, Ibidem Press/Columbia University Press, 71-114.

- Wentholt, Niké (2018), 'Policy Brief, African Transitional Justice and International Norms. A Dynamic Relationship.' Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation). 

- Wentholt, Niké (2018), ‘Open Archives to Close the Past. Bulgarian Archival Disclosure on the Road to European Union Accession’, in: Nico Wouters and Berber Bevernage eds., State-Sponsored History, Palgrave Macmillan, 161-175. 

- Wentholt, Niké (2018), 'Book review. Party Responses to the EU in the Western Balkans. Transformation, Opposition or Defiance?' Comparative Southeast European Studies 66:2, 290-292.

- Wentholt, Niké (2017), ‘Mirroring Transitional Justice. Construction and Impact of European Union ICTY conditionality’, Südosteuropa. Journal for Politics and Society 65:1, 78-98. 

- Hoop, Sipke de, Niké Wentholt and Jelle Wytse de Boer eds. (2016), Looking Back and Moving Ahead. Transitional Justice in the Balkans and Beyond, Severnoe Okno. 
Published on the basis of students’ essays from co-taught Master course.

- Wentholt, Niké (2016), ‘Challenging Unjust Narratives – A Historian’s Job?’, in: Hoop, Wentholt and Boer eds., Looking Back and Moving Ahead, 263-274.

Opinion pieces and blogs: 

- Wentholt, Niké and Dialogics of Justice (2023), Hamas-Israël conflict moet studenten leren niemand te ontmenselijken, Trouw 27 October 2023. And: Wees niet bang om ‘partij te kiezen’ gericht op humanisering. Oog voor menswaardigheid als opdracht in het hoger onderwijs. NieuwWij.

- Nicole Immler and Niké Wentholt, ‘Historical redress through dialogue: grassroots can change the national conversation about Dutch slavery,’ Leuven Transitional Justice Blog 9 March 2023.

- Niké Wentholt, 'What we learned from you. Expert meeting Dialogics of Justice,' February 2023. 

- Nicole Immler and Niké Wentholt, ‘De rechter liet afstandsmoeders in de kou staan. En wat doet de overheid?’ Trouw 3 February 2022.

- Niké Wentholt and Marrit Woudwijk, ‘Het gesprek over Srebrenica is nu aan ons,’ Trouw 15 June 2021.

- Niké Wentholt and Luna Bonvie, ‘Both Defendant and Partner for Climate Change? Fighting Royal Dutch Shell in Civil Court,’ Justice in Conflict 30 June 2021.

Media interviews and quotes:

- NPO 1 radio Vroeg!, 'Bosnië en Herzegovina 32 jaar onafhankelijk,' 1 March 2024. Hour-long interview for national radio.

- NPO 1 radio Vroeg!, 'Onrust op de Westelijke Balkan,' 7 August 2023. Hour-long interview for national radio.

- EenVandaag, 'Staatsgreep van Rusland in Moldavië zou vrij uniek zijn, maar zeker niet ondenkbaar, zegt Oost-Europa deskundige,' 16 February 2023. Interviewed for national television broadcast and accompanying article,

- NPO 1 radio Bureau Buitenland, 'Extremisten in Servië en Bosnië,' 15 July 2022.
- Interviewed for statements in several articles in de Volkskrant on the Western Balkans, 2022-2023.

- Invited speaker for podcast BNR Perestrojkast, 'De straat op in Sarajevo tegen de slachtoffers van Bleiburg', 24 mei 2020. 

- Voice of America, Serbia, 'Ekstremizam u Srbiji,' 7 May 2019. Interviewed for international television broadcast.

Invited talks:
- Invited participation for Workshop 'Local Courts and Transnational Effects,' Onati, 29-30 mei 2024.

- Lecture on Transformative Justice for Festival 'Gezien, gehoord, geadopteerd,' Expertisecentrum Interlandelijke Adoptie (INEA), 23 maart 2024.

- Invited key note speaker for Masterclass on Transformative Justice, Expertisecentrum Interlandelijke Adoptie (INEA), 10 December 2023.

- Invited participation workshop 'Transitional Justice: Past, Present, and Future,' Project Building Peace, 22 June 2023, ISS Rotterdam.

- Keynote for Utrecht University Legal Research Master Conference, 10 May 2023.

- Invited speaker for Europe's Future, Forum Groningen (sold out event). With Mathieu Segers, Jelle Brandt Corstius, Saskia Dekkers, moderated by: Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal, 27 June 2022.

- Lecture for diplomats and Foreign Affairs staff at Clingendael on relations between the EU and Western Balkans, 14 April 2022.

- External expert travelling with students UvA on 'Grand Tour' through the Western Balkans, three weeks, June 2019.


Transitional Justice, Political Science, Contemporary History, Western Balkans, Repair


Niké teaches in the Bachelor and Master programme.

For the Master programme, together with Nicole Immler I developed the course 'Transitional Justice and Human Rights,' in which we present our research and challenge our students to thing deeper about what constitutes justice. We use cases from our research project and also other aparadigmatic cases from the field of transitional justice.
We invite guest lecturers and activists to show how they deal with these challenges in practice.

Lidmaatschappen en functies

Member expert group 'Dangerous Names, Theatre about Srebrenica.' Organized by Utrecht University of Applied Sciences

Aangesloten bij de volgende netwerken:

Legal Mobilization Platform, ISS Erasmus Rotterdam

Restorative Justice Netwerk Nederland

BHV, University of Humanistic Studies