Van der Heide, Dr. N. (Nienke)

  • Lecturer
  • Oral tradition and epic performance
  • Ethnicity and nationalism
  • Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia
  • Alternative medicine
  • Neo-shamanism

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 4674
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Faculteitsbureau, Stafbureau
Office Address: Pieter de la Court gebouw
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Nienke van der Heide did her undergraduate research at Utrecht University, for which she studied issues of ethnicity and music in Spain and Scotland, and community development in Namibia. She received her PhD degree from  the University of Amsterdam and Tilburg University, for her research in Kyrgyzstan on the performance, publication and political use on the Manas epic. For this, she spent two years in Kyrgyzstan.

She has taught at the American University in Central Asia, Utrecht University and Amsterdam University College before becoming a lecturer at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of  Leiden University.

CV N. van der Heide (2015)


Current research topics include the increasing influence of neo-shamanism in Central Asia, particularly the belief in the formative force of dreams among the Kyrgyz. She also works on globalization aspects of alternative medicine in the Netherlands.


  • Pieter Langerhuizen Lambertszoonfonds, Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen for writing PhD dissertation Spirited Performance, the Manas epic and society in Kyrgyzstan, € 15,000,- (2005)
  • VSB-grant for field research on the Manas epic as a national symbol, f 5,000,- (1996)