Our Team

Wouter Veenendaal

I am an Associate Professor in Political Science at Leiden University, the Netherlands. I completed my studies and PhD at Leiden University, and in 2014 my dissertation was awarded the Annual Thesis Prize of the Dutch Political Science Association.

My research examines the effects of population size on politics and democracy, with a specific focus on politics in small (island) communities. I am the (co)author of Politics and Democracy in Microstates (Routledge, 2014), Democracy in Small States: Persisting Against All Odds (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Population and Politics: The Impact of Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Currently I am working on two research projects. My NWO Vidi-project Downsize My Democracy? The Democratic Consequences of Decentralization (2021-2026) studies the performance of local and regional democracy in European countries. As part of the project Keeping the Powerful in Check (2021-2023), financed by a LUF Snouck Hurgronje-subsidy, I study how scale affects the performance of democratic checks and balances.

Hannah Kuhn

I am a PhD candidate in political science at Leiden University, the Netherlands. My research focuses on the characteristics of political participation in subnational communities. I analyse the effect of decentralisation on voting behaviour and specifically foreground informal and hyperpersonal behavior. Of interest are the motivation that citizens have to participate in democratic processes and the factors that determine their choices. Furthermore, my research tests citizens’ awareness of the distribution of tasks across administrative layers and their broader attitudes about decentralization and multi-level governance.

Before I joined the Political Science institute at Leiden University, I graduated with a Master degree in political science from Radboud University in Nijmegen the Netherlands. Before that I completed my bachelor studies in European public administration at the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands.

Denny van der Vlist

I am a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Political Science of Leiden University. Before joining the project, I have been a (junior) lecturer in Political Science at the same institute. 
I finished my studies in Political Science at Leiden University (with a brief spell at Sciences Po Grenoble) in 2020. I successfully completed my studies with a master-specialization in Parties, Parliament and Democracy and my master thesis, which focused on post-parliamentary careers, was shortlisted for the 2020 Institute’s Master Thesis Prize.  
During the project of Downsize my Democracy? The Democratic Consequences of Decentralization my focus will be on subproject 3, the foundations of political competition and governance in subnational jurisdictions. This fits in perfectly with my broader research interests in political institutions and the behaviour of political actors within them. 

Contact us


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Wassenaarseweg 52

2333 AK Leiden

The Netherlands