Reintegrating Terrorists in the Netherlands: Evaluating the Dutch approach


  • Liesbeth van der Heide Leiden University
  • Bart Schuurman Leiden University


Reintegration, Deradicalization, Disengagement, Rehabilitation, Terrorism, Extremism Evaluation, Parole, Probation, the Netherlands


This article presents an in-depth evaluation of a specialized reintegration initiative within the Dutch Probation Service focused on individuals convicted or suspected of involvement in terrorism. Using 72 interviews with program staff as well as several of their clients, the authors assess the initiative’s program theory, its day-to-day implementation and provide a qualified assessment of its overall effectiveness in the 2016 to 2018 period. The results suggest that the initiative is based on a sound understanding of how and why individuals may deradicalize or disengage from terrorism behaviorally, but that it continues to face serious challenges in terms of accurately defining success and systematically gathering objective indicators of its attainment. As terrorism remains a key challenge for societies across the globe, the relevance of these findings extends beyond the Netherlands to all academics, policymakers and practitioners working to design, implement and assess terrorist reintegration programs.


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