This research contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals, among others:

Security and Threat

Fighting against fear

Research is the basis for good security policy. By analysing the motives of radicalised people and identifying the biggest risks in the area of digital communication, Leiden University researchers are helping governments to formulate effective countermeasures.


Terrorism is a global threat, and Dutch society has not escaped its impact. How and why do terrorists carry out attacks? How can we thwart their plans and ensure that citizens continue to feel safe? How do we deal with risks relating to the internet?

Leiden researchers look for answers to these questions. They share their insights with other researchers, with the Dutch and other governments, and with the general public. Thanks to their work, we have a better understanding of terrorists, and governments can offer more effective resistance to the threat that they pose.

For instance, our researchers analyse what motivates ‘foreign fighters’ to go to war zones. Research into their reasons and their social environment can help to prevent this. They also look at ways to discourage radicalisation during and after detention: How can this be achieved? Another aspect of security is the protection of digital communication: How can you make it secure, and what legal frameworks are involved?

Never 100% safe

Researchers and policy makers do their best to improve security, but there’s no such thing as ‘100% safety’. Bibi van den Berg, researcher in the field of cyber security, says: “The world has never been a safe place, but in the past people were much more at the mercy of fate. Things sometimes just happened to you. Technology has allowed us to reduce the influence of fate. Our lives are now so safe and secure that we no longer accept danger. As a society, it’s very important to realise that we can’t completely prevent bad things happening.”

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