Anna Derksen

Anna is a PhD candidate at the Institute for History, Leiden University in the Netherlands. She also works in the Baltic Peripeties international research training school and as a contract lecturer for Nordic History at the University of Greifswald. Her research interests include modern Nordic history, welfare states, national minorities and persons with disabilities, as well as transnational relations and development cooperation. For more information about Anna, click here.


Contributions to nordics.info

Bengt Lindqvist at a demonstration in 1976 in Kungsträdgården. Photo: Synskadades Riksförbund.

2021.08.26 | Article, Anna Derksen, Minorities, Region-building

Nordic Disability Rights

Following the social and economic transformations after World War II and the ambitious promises of the Nordic welfare model, Nordic disability rights activism grew. It reached its peak in the 1970s and early 1980s, influenced by the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) in 1981 as well as the leadership of key figures, like…

Kalle Könkkölä at the public debate forum SuomiAreena in Pori, 2015. Photo: Soppakanuuna, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

2021.08.23 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Public policy, Minorities

Kalle Könkkölä (1950-2018)

Kalle Kustaa Topias Könkkölä was an environmental activist, politician and key figure of the Finnish disability rights movement. Having been physically disabled since birth, Könkkölä attracted nationwide attention when he was elected as one of the first members of the Finnish parliament for the then still young environmental movement in 1983 -…

Niels Erik Bank-Mikkelsen on his 75th birthday. Photo: Lis Hammild/LEV.

2021.07.06 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Minorities, The Nordics in the World

Niels Erik Bank-Mikkelsen (1919-1990)

Niels Erik Bank-Mikkelsen was a Danish policy reformer and advocate for the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. Working for the so-called ‘Danish Service for the Mentally Retarded’ (Statens åndssvageforsorg), a public organisation for the care of intellectually or developmentally disabled people, he was instrumental in developing key…

Visual interpretations of disability on stamps issued by the Nordic governments for the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981. Collage: Author.

2021.01.22 | Article, Anna Derksen, Public policy

Disability policies and movements in the Nordic countries since 1945

During the last century, the situation of people with disabilities in the Nordic welfare states has changed dramatically. For a long time disability was regarded as an issue for the national welfare services, which had a marginalizing effect from a legal point of view, characterized by medical diagnostics, accommodation in mass institutions and…

Photo: Yadid Levy / Norden.org, (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

2020.12.22 | Article, Anna Derksen, Minorities, The Nordics in the World

Transnational interactions of Nordic disability activism, 1980-2000

In 1981, the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) shed new light on the global situation of people with disabilities with the slogan ‘full participation and equality’. Based on a longer history of Nordic disability rights activism since the 1960s and the assumption that equal rights of disabled people had by and large…

A magazine cover from the Swedish disability rights movement’s umbrella organisation for international development work in 1991. Photo: Reproduced with kind permission from My Right.

2020.01.21 | The Quick Read, Anna Derksen, The Nordics in the World, Globalisation

Disability, development and the Nordics, 1960s-2000

Nordic disability organizations have been carrying out development projects in the Global South since the 1960s. Initially a preventive and rehabilitative approach was taken with, for example, a focus on schools for special education, vocational training and medical care. Although important, this type of aid became increasingly seen as…

A young Bengt Lindqvist. Photo: Synskadades Riksförbund.

2019.12.04 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Minorities, The Nordics in the World

Bengt Olof Lennart Lindqvist (1936-2016)

Bengt Lindqvist was a Swedish politician and an active member of Swedish and international disability organizations. He became deputy minister for social security in 1985, the first Swedish minister with a visual impairment, and served as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability from 1994 to 2002. In both the national and the…