Researchers affiliated with Leiden University undertook exploratory research on the local embeddedness and transnational networks of Congolese migrants living in The Netherlands. They carried out 7 interviews.

"Some things should be kept unclear"

Researching Congolese in The Netherlands

By Catherina Wilson, Oussama El Khairi and Sapin Makengele, 11.04.2022

A small team from Leiden University undertook exploratory research amongst the Congolese community in The Netherlands to better understand both their local embeddedness and their transnational networks. Yet, the researchers often encountered skepticism, silence and rejection. What can we learn from their experience, about the ‘ongoing limbo’ of many Africans living in The Netherlands, about research methods and ethics in such a large project, and about ourselves as researchers?

The Research

The initial purpose of our research amongst the Congolese community in The Netherlands was to trace flows and transnational networks that connect the Dutch Congolese diaspora to other... Read more

TRAFIG at the “In Dialogue” Symposium organised by Indiana University

On 18/19 March 2022, colleagues involved in the TRAFIG project contribute to Indiana University’s “In Dialogue” Symposium, which focusses on transnational dynamics and repercussions of the movement of displaced peoples between Africa and Europe. In a session on “Constrained transnationalism: Experiences of displacement and ongoing limbo between Africa and Europe” Catherina Wilson (Leiden University), Janemary Ruhundwa (Dignity Kwanza), Benjamin Etzold (BICC), Markus Rudolf (BICC), Simone Christ (formerly BICC) and Pietro Cingolani (FIERI) will share insights from TRAFIG research in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

In the shoes of a Congolese refugee / Workshop at Leiden University

In the shoes of a Congolese refugee / Workshop at Leiden University

On 14 March 2022, TRAFIG partner organisation Leiden University will organise a workshop (in person) about findings from the TRAFIG research on displacement in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was conducted together with DIGNITY Kwanza and KUTAFITI as local partners. Next to the presentation and discussion of findings, the workshop will be used to present and play the game "the DIGNITY Kwanza method", which was developed in the context of TRAFIG and is based on the stories of Congolese urban refugees living in Dar es Salaam.

Find out more about the workshop and the game here.


When? Monday, 14 March, 14-16.00h, followed by drinks

Where? Leiden Law School, Steenschuur 25, room B0.31

By whom? Jochem Scheelings (former MA African Studies)... Read more

All for a Bag!

All for a Bag!

By Catherina Wilson (Leiden University)

Letting it be: Congolese in The Netherlands

On a cold, winter afternoon in early 2021, I visited Philo (all names have been anonymized), a Congolese lady, at her place. We had been introduced by an acquaintance a couple of months before. Around the same time, I was to start research on Congolese migrants in The Netherlands and I was eager to interview Philo for this purpose. During previous encounters, she had shown interest in participating. Read more

Congo in The Netherlands

Congo in The Netherlands

This 5min-introductory video about Leiden University's TRAFIG fieldwork in the Netherlands was co-created by Sapin Makengele and Oussama El Khairi and supervised by Dr. Catherina Wilson.

The research team has been able to speak to refugees and migrants, from the DR Congo and other neighboring states, about their life and community. Sapin and Oussama explain what drives them to research the mobility and connectivity of the Congolese diaspora in The Netherlands. Further, they share their impressions and reflect on the limitations faced in Spring 2021 during the data collection phase of the research.

Find out more about the TRAFIG fieldwork in the Netherlands in our short blog article "Some things should be kept unclear”.