What are you looking for?

Sanne de Boer

Sanne de Boer


Project title

Organized crime against the backdrop of global problems

Project description

Years of residing in Calabria, conducting journalistic research, and reporting on the ‘Ndrangheta’s international impact led to the publication of “Mafiopoli” in 2020. Its success, along with interactions with readers from law enforcement and academia, inspired a deeper investigation.

Amid rising violence from drug-related crime groups collaborating with ‘Ndrangheta, the Netherlands has intensified its efforts to combat drug-related crime and seeks to draw lessons from Italian anti-mafia strategies. My research at NIAS aims to critically evaluate the efficacy of these measures and explore how misconceptions about organized crime hinder the international fight against it.

Through my NIAS residency, I intend to examine the recent surge of mafia-related criminal organizations, dispelling misleading narratives and shedding light on the challenges of combating organized crime in a global context. The project seeks to align these issues with broader global challenges such as economic inequality, migration, and the climate crisis. For my new book I aim to elucidate the connections between the growth of international organized crime and our struggles to address global problems while proposing solutions to fortify society against its corrosive influence.

Sanne de Boer has lived partly in Calabria, Southern Italy, since 2007 and is the first foreign journalist to write about the ‘Ndrangheta from the region. She is a sought-after researcher and has worked for De Correspondent, Nieuwsuur, Reporter Radio, the VPRO, OneWorld and Italy Magazine, among others. Mafiopoli was nominated for the Brusse Prize for best journalistic book.

The Journalist-in-Residence Fellowship is for journalists with a keen interest in scholarly research who need an extended period of time to focus on a longer piece of journalistic work. Previous fellows include Niels Matthijssen, Lynn Berger, Saar Slegers, Mark Lievisse Adriaanse en Fleur van der Bij. The programme is a collaboration between NIAS and the Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten.

Selected publications

  • Boer de, S. 2020. Mafiopoli: een zoektocht naar de ’Ndrangheta, de machtigste mafia van Italië, Amsterdam; Nieuw Amsterdam.
  • Boer de, S. 2022. ’Ndrangheta: Wie die mächtigste Mafia Europas unser Leben bestimmt, Berlin; Aufbau.
  • Boer de, S. 2024. Mafiopoli: Living Among the ’Ndrangheta: Italy’s most Powerful Crime Organisation, London; Octopus Books/Hachette
  • Boer de, S. 2022 ‘Italiaans maffiaproces grossiert in superlatieven’, Advocatenblad september 2022