Niels is a PhD candidate at the DATACTIVE research group in the Media Studies and Political Science departments at the University of Amsterdam.

There he investigates how values are embedded in Internet infrastructures and Internet governance. Niels tries to provide a deeper understanding of how invisible infrastructures apply socio-technical order to our society, and how this influences the distribution of prosperity, power and possibilities.

Prior to this, Niels was Head of Digital at the international organization ARTICLE19 where he set up the digital program that focuses on protecting human rights in the architecture and infrastructure of the Internet in governance bodies such as the ICANN, IETF, IEEE and ITU. He also promoted freedom of expression by setting up radio stations, developing apps, and training people in digital security in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Brazil and Mexico for Free Press Unlimited.

Niels holds a cum laude master in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam.