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Dr. Siri Driessen


Postdoctoral researcher


Siri Driessen is a postdoctoral researcher in the project Back with a Mission. Reconsidering Return Trips from a Relational Perspective. My work focuses on war and memory studies, war heritage, and culturally sensitive tourism.

My PhD 'Touching War. An Ethnographic Analysis of War Tourism in Europe' studied how different groups of people encountered remnants of war and violence by means of ‘touristic’ visits to heritage sites. By zooming in on the tensions between tourism and commemoration, the dissertation aimed to add new perspectives to a debate in which war tourism is either morally condemned or spectacularized. 

I obtained my PhD at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (2020), where I currently also work as a lecturer. I received an MA (cum laude) in Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam), a BA in History (University of Amsterdam) and a BA in Fine Arts (ArtEZ Arnhem).


How do contemporary societies and individuals deal with the remnants of violent and military pasts? This question has intrigued me for a long time. As a scholar working at the intersection of Social Sciences and Humanities, I study which activities people engage in to do justice to memories of war and violence. Such memories are often studied from either an individual psychological point of view or from a general societal perspective. However, this approach ignores what happens in between individuals and society. By researching the encounter between different groups of people associated with war and conflict, I aim to understand which activities can result in a mutual recognition of wartime experiences and reconciliation with the past.

Back with a Mission is an interdisciplinary research project that studies how return trips to mission areas help war veterans, their spouses, and Bosnian citizens to assign meaning to their wartime experiences. The project is carried out by the University of Humanistic Studies (Nicole Immler, Siri Driessen); the Leiden University Medical Centre (Eric Vermetten); Humanistic Chaplaincy (Jeannette van Brenk) and the Dutch Veterans Institute. Back with a Mission is associated to the Dialogics of Justice research project carried out by the University of Humanistic Studies.


- Immler, NL., SR Driessen, J. van Brenk. 2022. Bosnië is veranderd, terwijl ik zelf stil ben blijven staan [Bosnia has changed, while I stood still]. Militaire Spectator 191 (6), 373-379.

- Driessen, SR. 2022. Summers of war. Affective volunteer tourism to former war sites in Europe. Tourism Geographies 24 (2-3), 326-345.

- Immler, NL & SR Driessen. 2021. Geef erkenning aan Dutchbat én hun omgeving. Op-ed: Trouw. March 8th, 2021.

- Driessen, SR. 2021. Making sense of war memories. An analysis of Dutch veteran return trips to former Yugoslavia. Ethos 49 (2), 152-170.

- Driessen, SR. 2021. Walking the Marš Mira: War, tourism, and ritual practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In P. Post, M. Barnard, M. Hoondert & M. Klomp (Eds.) Disaster Rituals: Practices after Disasters, Crises, Atrocities, and Violence. (pp. 333-346). Leuven: Peeters Publishers.

- Driessen, SR. 2020. Touching war. An ethnographic analysis of war tourism in Europe. Dissertation Erasmus University Rotterdam. Defended December 11th.

- Driessen, SR. M. Grever, S. Reijnders. 2019. Lessons of war. The significance of visits to historical war sites for the Dutch military. Critical Military Studies 8 (2), p. 214-232.


- De waarde van een reis naar het slagveld [The value of a trip to the battlefield]. Interview by Karel Berkhout for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. December 21st 2020

- Focus Wetenschap – Radio 1 [Dutch NPR]. May 4th 2021. Interview by Rose Heijnen.

- Nieuw onderzoek toont aan: Veteranen kunnen baat hebben bij terugkeer naar het oude front Interview by Eric Brassem, Trouw. December 12th, 2020.

Selection of publications (Pure Research Portal)

Ancillary activities

- Associate member of the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories at the University of Brighton, UK.