Victimhood and Perpetratorship in Dutch Remembrances of Srebrenica

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Since the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, the Dutch implication in this history has been contested in the Netherlands, due to the stationing of the UN-deployed battalion Dutchbat III in the enclave at the time of the genocide. Building on their Second World War memory of collective victimhood, this episode is remembered as a trauma for the whole nation, which obscures the suffering of specific groups. On state level, this self-perception has resulted in an isolated reckoning with the past, wherein the Dutch experience is centralized and the experiences of the Bosniak victims and survivors are only secondary. To redeem their national image, the Dutch state has turned Srebrenica into a narrative of national progress, based on the lessons learned from the hardships of Dutchbat III. However, real attention for the Dutchbat veterans only came about later, as the psychological consequences of their involvement in the mission and the negative media reception in the aftermath were highlighted. Increasingly perceived as another victim group of this genocide, growing attention to Dutchbat’s fate culminated in the apologies offered to them by the Dutch state in 2022. The prioritization of Dutchbat’s experiences by the Dutch state and society, however, has eclipsed the experiences of Bosniak victims and survivors. Through lawsuits, research, and activism, counter-narratives are posited that aim to challenge this prioritization and grant space for these voices to be heard in Dutch society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Encyclopedia of Cultural Heritage and Conflict
EditorsIhab Saloul, Britt Baillie
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-61493-5
Publication statusPublished - 09 Feb 2024


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