Prof. dr. Beatrice de Graaf

Distinguished Faculty Professor
History of International Relations

Beatrice de Graaf (1976) holds the Chair of History of International Relations & Global Governance at Utrecht University (since February 2014). In December 2019, she was rewarded the title of Distinguished Professor at Utrecht University. She is, amongst others, a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy for the Arts and Sciences, of the Academia Europaea, chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of TNO Defense Safety & Security, and member of the advisory council of the Commander of the Dutch Land Forces. She is also external faculty member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of the University of Amsterdam


She studied Modern History and German language and culture in Utrecht and Bonn (1998, cum laude) and received her PhD from Utrecht University in 2004 (on the GDR, the Dutch churches and the peace movement, bestowed with the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award). She was co-founder of the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University, Campus The Hague in 2007, where she was appointed professor of Conflict and Security History in 2011. With an NWO VIDI/ASPASIA grant on 'The Making of a National Security State' and as a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS, on the topic of 'Terrorists on Trial'), De Graaf contributed to the emerging research field of security history. Her book Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance (2011) was internationally ranked amongst the top 150 terrorism books. Together with George Dimitriu she published Strategic narratives, public opinion and war. Winning domestic support for the Afghan War in 2015. In 2018 she published Securing Europe after Napoleon.


Furthermore, De Graaf participates in international and national debates on terrorism and security, in academia but also in the printed and broadcasted media. She is, amongst others, science columnist for NRC Handelsblad, and is member of the core editors’ team of Terrorism and Political Violence and Journal of Modern European History. Together with Alexander Rinnooy Kan, she was appointed as chair of the Dutch National Research Agenda (2014-2016). In 2018, De Graaf was awarded the Stevin Prize (2.5 Million Euros), the highest distinction in Dutch academia.


She was involved in analyzing the ISIS Files as a fellow at GWU/New York Times. Her book Tegen de terreur came out as 5th edition and in paperback and was nominated for the Libris Prize in 2018. In September 2020, her monography Fighting Terror After Napoleon came out with Cambridge University Press. She won the Arenberg Prize for European History for this book in 2022. In 2021 she published her monograph (in Dutch, English translation in the making) on Radical Redemption. What terrorists believe, in 2022 nominated for the 'Most Important Book of the Year'. In 2022, she was awarded the Comenius Prize for her research into peace, security and terrorism. In 2022 she also wrote the National History Month Essay after which she toured 15 theaters to talk about her essay. De Graaf was in 2023 president of the jury of the Libris Literatuurprijs.


Currently she is running the TerInfo educational project for which she also received the prestigious Brouwer Confidence Award in 2023. In addition, she is principal investigator of the Security History Network. She is also one of the core members of the multidisciplinary platform Security in Open Societies. De Graaf is also PI of the project Reimagining Religion, Security and Social Transformation (2021-2025), which is part of the Joint Initiative for Strategic Religious Action (JISRA)


International Fellowships

De Graaf had been awarded several international Fellowships. She was appointed as Fellow to St. Catherine's College and the History Faculty of Cambridge University and the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016. She was also Fellow at the Extremism/ISIS Files Project of George Washington University. As of 2023 she also is a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn, Germany.