Universiteit Leiden

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Aafje de Roest


Drs. F.A. de Roest
+31 71 527 2727

Aafje de Roest is a PhD Researcher at Leiden University and was awarded a ‘PhDs in the Humanities’ grant by NWO. Her PhD project focuses on how contemporary Dutch hip-hop enables Dutch youth (artists, amateurs, and fans) to construct a new expression of Dutch cultural identity in a global context.

More information about Aafje de Roest

Are you a student and would you like to conduct your own research into hip-hop or youth culture?

Please feel free to contact me - I am happy to oblige!

Do you have a media request to explain something concerning Dutch hip-hop?
Since my research is in contemporary Dutch hip-hop and its influence on young people, I am always up to date with the latest developments in the scene. I approach hip-hop from an academic perspective. 

I’ve talked about my research at various media platforms ranging from radio to newspapers and national television. I was part of a campaign by hip-hop label Top Notch and sports label Adidas to stimulate social impact among Dutch youth. In 2020, I am one of the twelve 'Faces of Science' of the KNAW and NEMO.

Interested? Feel free to contact me - via mail (f.a.de.roest@hum.leidenuniv.nl) or socials (@aafjederoest on Instagram or linkedin.nl/aafjederoest).

Fields of interest

  • Contemporary (Dutch) Youth Culture
  • Contemporary Dutch Literature
  • Dutch Hip-Hop
  • Hip-Hop Studies
  • Dutch Studies
  • Cultural Identity
  • Glocalization


Hip-hop is the dominant youth culture today, both globally and in the Netherlands – and mainly takes place online. The unprecedented popularity of Dutch hip-hop raises the question how 'how Dutch youths seek and (re)define their cultural identities against a local background.

A central element of hip-hop is “represent”: a term used by the hip-hop “scene” and by academics to denote the performance of local identity. Represent can occur through rapping in specific slang, alluding to area codes or telephone numbers in lyrics, artist names or in user names on social media, or displaying typical buildings in music videos. This research starts from the assumption that social media have changed represent. No longer a sign from artists to their local fans, it has become an open, collaborative performance within the Dutch hip-hop community at large, in which multiple markers of identity can be tested, developed and expanded by all parties involved.

My research project analyzes Dutch hip-hop to investigate how, in the digital era, Dutch youth (hip-hop artists, amateurs and fans) uses the strategy of represent to create and negotiate their cultural identities along different axes of locality, ethnicity, religion, gender, class and age. I combine multimodal discourse analysis of both professional and amateurish hip-hop performances with online ethnography of the reactions to these performances to analyze how representing different parts of the Netherlands enables Dutch youth to construct and reconstruct cultural identities in a global perspective.


  • 2019 - present PhD researcher at LUCAS, Leiden University (supervisors: prof.dr. Y. van Dijk and dr. B. Ieven) 
  • 2018-2019 Supporting staff at the department of Art History and History at Utrecht University 
  • 2017-2018 Junior researcher and consultant Arts & Culture at Berenschot
  • Research Master Dutch Literature (cum laude), Utrecht University (2017) with an acclaimed thesis on the hip-hop practice represent and the representation of Dutch streets, neighborhoods and cities in contemporary Dutch hip-hop  
  • Bachelor Dutch Language and Culture, Utrecht University (2015)

Grants and awards

  • Grant - NWO PhDs in the Humanities
  • Award - Vliegenthart Scriptieprijs Universiteit Utrecht (Best Master’s Thesis of the Year, Best Student of the Year of all programs of the Humanities Faculty)
  • Award – Maatschappij der Nederlandse letterkunde – Academische Jaarprijs 2016-2017 (Most Promising Master’s Thesis in Terms of Future Research)


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Moderne Nederlandse L&C
  • Nederlands Letterenfonds Lid Raad van Toezicht
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