Niels is Assistant Professor of AI and European Democracies and co-Principal Investigator with the critical infrastructure lab at the University of Amsterdam. Next to that, he is a visiting professor with the Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, non-resident fellow with the Center for Democracy and Technology, affiliated faculty with the Digital Democracy Institute at the Simon Fraser University, and a research fellow with the Centre for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina. He also serves as Vice-Chair for the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. His research focuses on how norms, values, and ideologies get inscribed, resisted, and subverted in communication infrastructures through their transnational governance.
Niels tries to understand how invisible infrastructures provide a socio-technical ordering to information societies and how this influences the distribution of wealth, power, and possibilities.
While writing his PhD ‘Wired Norms: Inscription, resistance, and subversion in the governance of the Internet infrastructure’, which was awarded with an honorary mention by the Association of Internet Researchers, Niels was affiliated with the DATACTIVE Research Group at the Media Studies and Political Science department at the University of Amsterdam. After that he was postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University and postdoctoral researcher with the ‘Making the hidden visible: Co-designing for public values in standards-making and governance’-project at the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam. Before that Niels has worked as Head of Digital for ARTICLE19 where he designed, fund-raised, and set up the digital programme which covered the Internet Engineering Taskforce, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Institute for Electric and Electronic Engineers, and the International Telecommunications Union. Before that Niels designed and implemented freedom of expression projects with Free Press Unlimited. He holds a cum laude MA in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam.