Board Members 2022

Thomas van der Valk – Founder and Chair

The European Union deserves a more optimistic debate. I founded the Shaping Europe platform to offer a place for those who want to contribute to a better Europe with constructive ideas. As Chair I work to build-out and represent Shaping Europe. I graduated in political science and European law. I currently work at a big tech firm, previously I’ve worked in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Daniel Niekel – Secretary and treasurer 

Fact-based and easily accessible analysis of European policy is necessary for the EU to move forward – I joined Shaping Europe to support a platform that does just this. As Secretary and Treasurer I work on internal organisational processes, stakeholder management, and financial questions. I graduated from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen with a master’s in International Business & Management, after which I started working for a European consultancy firm.

  • Expertise: Innovation policy; organisational development; energy sector; Russia-EU relationship.
  • Email:

Jesse Markus – Chief Editor (Dutch Editorial Team)

Shaping Europe wants to bring forth constructive ideas to make the European Union better. The European Union is key in achieving prosperity for all. My personal mission is to provide a more nuanced debate about the EU and its complexities. I currently work as advisor public affairs at Schuttelaar & Partners after graduating from Utrecht University with a master History of Politics and Society.

  • Expertise: European populism, rise of populism, France, international relations, sustainability.
  • Email:

Linda den BolChief Editor (English Editorial Team) & Editor (Dutch Editorial Team)

As both a Czech and Dutch citizen of the European Union I have experienced the importance of cross-border politics in my daily life. My personal goal within Shaping Europe is to educate people on what the EU does and how European policy-making makes our lives easier while at the same time pointing out legislation and policies that could be improved. I also like to write about Europe’s many cultures and histories. I have a double-degree in European Governance (Masaryk University & Utrecht University) and am currently employed as government trainee at the Dutch province North-Brabant. 

  • Expertise: Central Europe, Circular Economy/Sustainable Development, European culture, history and society, social inequality, EU regional policy.
  • LinkedIn: lindadenbol 
  • Email:

Sandra Zwick – Board Member PR & Social Media

For me, Shaping Europe is a space to participate and give youth a say in an open political discourse. Only if we make EU politics, such as policies, accessible and understandable to everyone, we can have engagement from all parts of EU society and build a viable discussion that is able to influence the EU’s legitimacy positively. I finished my Bachelor in Economics and Japanese Studies at Martin-Luther University Halle/Wittenberg in 2019 and obtained a double degree in European Governance at Masaryk University Brno and Utrecht University. Currently I’m pursuing my dream of working in Brussels in European politics.

  • Interests: EU trade and foreign policy with a special focus on EU-China relations
  • LinkedIn: Sandra Zwick

Advisory Board Members 2022

Tara GörderTara GörderAdvisory Board Member

A constructive dialogue about the European project is needed more than ever – I joined Shaping Europe to participate in this endeavour and contribute with accessible and meaningful research. After graduating International Relations and Crisis and Security Management, I currently work as a Research Analyst at VVA Group on EU Environmental Policy.

  • Expertise: International Relations; Security; Terrorism & Extremism; Sustainability & Environment

Alexander Galt

Alexander Galt – Advisory Board Member

As a ‘Brexpat’ the mission of Shaping Europe for me is also a personal mission – to critically analyse European policy and make this accessible to the public such that we can have informed debates about political issues. I fulfil an advisory role, helping to create a strategic vision and establish sustainable governance for the organisation. I currently work for IKEA as their Digital Ethics Leader and have graduated from Leiden University with a Masters in International and European Governance.

  • Expertise: Digital Ethics, Data Stewardship, Digital Economy, Data Governance, Open Data, Start-ups.

Marnix VermeerMarnix Vermeer Advisory Board Member

For me, the founding ideas of the European Union have always presented a wonderfully optimistic view of human society. A view which sees it possible to bridge the gap of understanding between widely different cultures from across a continent and to build a common prosperous future for all. Of course reality is messy, acting in unison with so many different countries is complicated. Hence, for me Shaping Europe is about engaging in a constructive yet critical dialogue to both improve and better understand the EU and its complexities.

  • Expertise: Populism, Systems Of Governance, China, EU-China Relations, Economics, Macroeconomics, Trade Policy, Economic Impact Of Climate Change, Eurozone, ECB.

Dutch Editorial Team Editors 2022

Anoek Zijderveld – Editor (Dutch Editorial Team)

The EU is a very interesting entity that I would like to analyse and cover more through Shaping Europe. In my opinion, there isn’t enough constructive debate about the EU, I hope to contribute to a more balanced debate with positive solutions. I graduated in Political Science and International Relations at Leiden University. At the moment I am a trainee at DisGover where I will work for various governmental organisations.

  • Interests: Global Polical Economy, China, China-Africa relations, sustainability
  • LinkedIn: Anoek Zijderveld

Esmee Slutter – Editor (Dutch Editorial Team) and Webmaster

The European Union is often seen as a complex political institution because of the many different divisions it has. My contribution to Shaping Europe mostly focuses on making this complex system understandable by showing the influences its policy has on the daily lives of Europeans. I am currently a MA-student in East European Studies at the University of Amsterdam and have previously obtained bachelor degrees both in Russian Studies and History, the latter with a focus on European cultural history.

  • Interests: Eastern-Europe, European culture, history and society, Russia
  • LinkedIn: Esmee Slutter

Hanna Krijgsman van Spangenberg – Editor (Dutch Editorial Team)

To me, the EU is an interesting political entity. I like to analyse the (political) history of European integration and reflect on current EU affairs. As a member of Shaping Europe’s Editorial Team, I hope to be able to contribute to making the EU comprehensible to a larger audience. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam, with a major in European History. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with a specialisation in Democracy, Power and Inequality.  

  • Interests: History and society, European culture, international relations, diplomacy
  • LinkedIn: Hanna Krijgsman van Spangenberg

Loes ter Horst – Editor (Dutch Editorial Team) 

During my bachelor’s, I did a major in International Governance at the Utrecht School of Governance (Utrecht University), where I learned a lot about the European Union and its challenges, complexities and affairs. I just started my master’s degree in Crisis and Security Management, where I specialize in Governance of Crisis. As a member of Shaping Europe’s Dutch editorial team, I aim to write interesting articles on lesser-known European issues.

  • Interests: governance of crisis/security/conflict, Scandinavia, Europe-MENA relations, South East Asia
  • LinkedIn: Loes ter Horst

Sabine Herder Editor (Dutch Editorial Team)

During my bachelor’s, I have learned a lot about various geopolitical and security issues the European Union faces. I want to contribute to Shaping Europe by focusing on these internal and external threats and by explaining how the EU deals with these issues. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Crisis and Security Management with a specialisation in Intelligence and National Security at Leiden University. Previously, I finished my bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University with a major in International Relations at Utrecht University.

  • Interests: international relations, security, human rights, intelligence
  • LinkedIn: Sabine Herder

English Editorial Team Editors 2022

George Bandy – Editor (English Editorial Team) and Webmaster

George is a graduate of the LL.M in European and International Law at the University of Amsterdam and a European Studies alumnus. He has a keen interest in EU Policy and Regulation, particularly in Competition, Sustainability, Risk Regulation, and Foreign Affairs. As a frequent contributor to student publications, he’s written on a variety of both contemporary and historical European topics such as big data and surveillance capitalism to Kosovo and the EU’s external action service.

Daria Stănculescu – Editor (English Editorial Team)

I am an LL.M. candidate currently finishing the International and European Law master program at the University of Amsterdam, where I follow the Public International Law and EU Law specialisations. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in European Studies with a major in European Law from the University of Amsterdam.  My main interests are international and European human rights law, migration law and international relations.

  • Interests: International and European human rights law, migration law, international relations.
  • Twitter: @DariaStanc; LinkedIn: Daria Stănculescu

Finn McCartney – Editor (English Editorial Team)

I have previously obtained a Masters of Arts in European Studies (European Policy) and a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies, majoring in Economics, at the University of Amsterdam. I have previously worked at the UK Parliament as an intern for a MP. My interests include: European Politics, Economic Policy and the Eurovision

  • LinkedIn: Finn McCartney