RSPH PhD candidate Laura Brinkhorst introduces herself

My name is Laura Brinkhorst and since September 2023 I am a PhD candidate at the political history department at Radboud University Nijmegen.

After completing the History Research Master at VU University in 2022, I made the move from the Randstad to Nijmegen to start working at the political history department in Nijmegen as a junior lecturer and teacher. In 2023 I was fortunate enough to be awarded a PhD grant by NWO for the project ‘Police adaptation to changing societal and governmental expectations in the Netherlands, 1930s – 1980s’. Inspired by current debates on the police, their organization and practices my aim is to reconstruct adaptation processes within several small to mid-sized Dutch municipal police forces. I do this by focusing on three main themes that run like a common thread through Dutch 20th century police history: 1) diversity and inclusion, 2) duty vs. citizenship and 3) police-citizen interactions. How do big discussions on for example the force mandate and societal representation find their way to local forces? How do police forces react to changing expectations towards the police on the municipal level and what were key factors in these adaptation processes?

What I look forward to the most in my project is doing archival research. This is the part of doing history I love the most. I am also very excited about having to write a monograph, but at the same time I think this will be the biggest challenge. I therefore also look forward a lot to participating in the activities of the Research School since it is such an inspiring environment interacting with PhD’s who are in the same phase of their research. I hope that being part of the PhD council I can help organize interesting events and make the research school an inspiring place for all.