Meet the team
Nienke has been coordinator of the Knowledge Platform since its foundation in 2018. She obtained her PhD 4 years ago at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences. During her master's research she developed a love for Latin America and the Spanish language. That is why she went to Argentina for her PhD to research land expropriation and conflicts between the government, multinationals and residents. She investigated the ways in which residents' rights were violated, how they defended themselves and which strategies residents and civil society organizations used to formalize land use. It frustrated Nienke after her PhD that the results of the research were only published in scientific journals and were hardly taken up. She wanted to apply knowledge in practice. That is how she ended up at the Knowledge Platform. Nienke grew up in Thesinge and has now settled there again. She is a yoga teacher and, in addition to yoga, also does bouldering and climbing. Nienke loves traveling, nice food and good coffee. Therefore she regularly works in coffee shops.
As coordinator, Nienke is involved in all tasks of the Knowledge Platform: events, projects, the Knowledge Overview, short-term studies, media contributions and lectures. She supports the organization, manages the team and maintains the network. She emphasizes how nice it is to work in a team in which you can tackle things together and where different visions come together.
The power of research
After Nienke returned from Argentina and started to read up on the gas extraction case, she saw many similarities. “I flew to the other side of the world to study something that is happening here in my own province.” She was surprised that it took so long in Groningen for the subject to become fully acknowledged and how international companies worldwide are doing exactly the same thing in so many places. She started to study the situation in Groningen. Nienke wanted to go the extra mile to improve the use of knowledge and to connect disciplines and people. “Therein lies the power of research and the possibility to change something on the ground.”
Drawing lessons from global conflicts
Nienke hopes to achieve that people feel more heard and better represented in policy. “The best thing would be if the business community and the government really draw lessons from the global conflicts surrounding mining and agricultural activities. That is where the added value for me lies.” She has society in general in mind. "Society is better balanced if you listen to each other and give a role and control to the inhabitants of an area."
Icelandic music by the fireplace
On her bucket list is the Iceland Airwaves music festival in Reykjavik. She loves the fairytale Icelandic language and listens a lot to Icelandic bands. “I imagine that you enter various cafes with a fireplace in your thick down jacket.” She would also like to go back to Argentina one day to do research in Vaca Muerta. Shell and other multinationals extract shale gas there by means of fracking, which causes earthquakes. This has a major impact on the indigenous population and the environment.