A.X. (Aniek) Smit MA

  • PhD student
  • Migration history
  • Migration and Integration Theory
  • High-skilled Migration (Expatriates)

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 1646
E-Mail: a.x.smit@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Institute for History, Geschiedenis diversen


Office hours (for students): Wednesday, 15:00-17:00 (Huizinga/124C)


Project: ‘Not all gin and tonics by the pool’: the settlement process of highly skilled migrants in The Hague and Jakarta, 1945-2015 (funded by the Leiden Profile Area Global Interactions, 2010-2015)

Immigration is the talk of town. Highly skilled migrants are, however, seldom the topic of discussion. These scholars, diplomats, engineers, aid workers, and military personnel, are simply not considered migrants. In this research I address the settlement process of these highly skilled professionals, temporarily living in The Hague and Jakarta at various points in time since 1945.

By comparing the opportunity structure available to this type of migrant in both cities over time, I engage with the debates on global and postcolonial cities, western expatriates and brain-drain, and high versus low skilled labor migration. In particular, I challenge the nation-state framework that is dominant in studies of integration, and the North-South divide that exists in publications on high-skilled migration. The sources I use for this study consist of historical records from the archives of international companies and organizations, women’s clubs, and international schools; municipal and national government archives; local newspapers; and oral histories I collected amongst (former) highly skilled migrants. Despite the fact that these global migrants differ on the basis of their relatively high socioeconomic status and the temporary nature of their stay, they are confronted with historically embedded local and institutional structures that shape their settlement process – sometimes even resulting in them not just drinking gin and tonics by the pool...

For notes from the archive, see my blog: http://notallginandtonics.wordpress.com/ and this contribution to Dissertation Reviews: http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/10005. Also, read my review of expat fiction on the Institute’s website: http://www.hum.leiden.edu/history/news-events/de-boekentip-van-aniek-smit.html.


• BA Seminar Grenzen Trekken: gender, klasse en etniciteit (see: https://studiegids.leidenuniv.nl/courses/show/44153/grenzen-trekken-gender-klasse-en-etniciteit)
• BA Optional Course Oral History, theme: ‘Migrantenorganisaties in Nederland vanaf 1945’ (see: https://studiegids.leidenuniv.nl/courses/show/44057/oral-history)
• BA Optional Course The European Union Today (EUS) (see: https://studiegids.leidenuniv.nl/en/courses/show/42013/eu-today)
• (together with Marlou Schrover) Supervision of students in BA/MA-thesis writing in Migration History

Previous teaching experience
• MA Literature Seminar Migration and Integration (see: https://studiegids.leidenuniv.nl/courses/show/44193/migration-and-integration ) (also see our field trip: http://www.hum.leiden.edu/history/news-events-2015/humanity-house-den-haag.html)
• BA Optional Course ‘Oral History’, theme: ‘Expats of migranten? Nederlanders in het buitenland vanaf 1945’ (see: https://studiegids.leidenuniv.nl/courses/show/31898/oral-history)
• (together with Leo Lucassen and Marlou Schrover) Supervision of students in BA/MA-thesis writing in Migration History

Curriculum vitae


Employment history  

Next to my academic work, I have volunteered for the children’s television channel ‘Kidsflits’ at LUMC hospital, written articles as a freelance journalist, and am currently working on a documentary about Dutch expatriates in Indonesia together with Mahatma Putra and Tess van Kooperen. Follow the project here: vanrijsttafelnaarrijstevlaai.wordpress.com.


  • World History Dissertation Workshop, Pittsburgh 2010

  • SEA Update (KITLV) Leiden 2011 (paper presentation)

  • N.W. Posthumus / CGM Masterclass Grenzen Verleggen, Leiden 2012 (paper presentation)

  • N.W. Posthumus ESTER RDC Evora 2011 (paper presentation)

  • SSHA Boston 2011 (session organizer: career migration), paper: ‘Not a tourist, not a migrant, not an expat? The settlement process of career migrants in postwar The Hague’

  • Brown Bag Seminar (staff seminar), Leiden 2012 (paper presentation)

  • ESSHC Glasgow 2012 (session organizer: high skilled migration), paper: ‘Prepared for World Citizenship: A Dutch Perspective on Expats at Home and Abroad, 1950s-1970s’

  • Expert Meeting International Organisations, Vereniging Deltametropool/Gemeente Den Haag, 2012, presentation: 'Den Haag als "beschaafd gastvolk"'

  • Summer Programme World Wide Asia, Leiden 2012, paper: ‘From Palace to Palace through the Dump: Spatial Assimilation of High Skilled Migrants in Postcolonial Jakarta’

  • NIT Symposium: Local Stories. Methods and approaches in oral history, Istanbul 2012, presentation: ‘From lieux de mémoire to ‘iconic moments’ (and back): collecting oral histories among Dutch expats in Jakarta’

  • EAC Symposium: The Expatriate Experience: Past and Present, Den Haag 2013 workshop III Global Migrants, Local Stories (organization and paper presentation)

  • SEA Update (KITLV) Wageningen 2013 (paper presentation)

  • N.W. Posthumus Conference, Eindhoven 2013 (paper presentation)

  • SSHA Chicago 2013 (session organizer: organizational migration), paper (together with Leo Lucassen) ‘The Repugnant Other: soldiers, missionaries, and aid workers as organizational migrants’ (to be published in the Journal of World History in May 2015)

  • Graduate Seminar (staff seminar), Leiden 2014 (paper presentation)

  • Symposium ‘The Eurasian Question’, paper ‘It’s Bobby from Bandung’: Reversing the Postcolonial Bonus for Dutch Expatriates in Present-Day Indonesia’, Leiden 2014

  • ESSHC Vienna 2014, paper (together with Maya Wester, Utrecht University) ‘On the border of the Musi: Dutch expatriates in Indonesia during the process of economic decolonization (1949-1965)’

  • Lecture (in the BA series ‘Why People Want to Live in Cities’) ‘Expats als nieuwe klasse’, 2014

  • LIMS Symposium: ‘The Country We Live In: Welcoming Highly Skilled Migrants in The Hague since 1945’, Leiden 2014 (paper presentation)

Last Modified: 10-12-2015