I was born in Amsterdam in 1953, graduated as a sociologist in 1978, and obtained a PhD in 1988 with my thesis Socialism in One Zone. Stalin's Policy in Korea, 1945-1947 (the latter events both at the University of Amsterdam). Although I graduated as a sociologist, I see myself rather as a historian. I have been assistant professor at the "Oost Europa Instituut" since 1989/90. The institute has been absorbed by the department of European Studies, Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. Since the early eighties I have focused on studying the history of communism, and specifically on the person of Joseph Stalin. I suppose my interest in this subject has much to do with the fact that I was an active maoist from 1973 to 1981. I teach courses on the history of communism, Stalinism, and political philosophy.
My present research focuses on the history of the phenomenon of "professional revolutionaries".