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Beta talk: Nynke Schulp

7 March 2024
In this column, staff of the Faculty of Science introduce themselves. This week it's geographer Nynke Schulp's turn.

What do you do at VU and how long do you work there?
I have been working at VU since early 2012. After a few years at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, I started to miss the university world, and then there was a nice postdoc vacancy at the IVM. There, over the past 12 years, I have advanced to associate professor of land use - lifestyle - ecosystem change. I conduct and supervise research on well-being, sustainable land use, and ecosystem services and also teach on such topics in the BSc Earth, Economics and Sustainability and the MSc Environment and Resource Management.

What is the best thing about working at the Faculty of Science?
The content and the variety therein, and the colleagues. Within the IVM and our section, Environmental Geography, there is so much knowledge on interesting and relevant topics, I get a lot of joy from working with direct colleagues. And throughout the faculty I like how helpful people are. It is not always easy to find the right person for the question you have, but when you finally do, everyone is actually always willing to talk about the content or help you with something practical.

What could be better at the faculty?
(I'm not sure to what extent this lies with the faculty, but...) Housing. At IVM, we have about 80 desks for more than 150 people. That means flex and home working, which is not good for social cohesion and live content interaction. Especially for young researchers, it is a barrier to getting to know colleagues and being able to find a sounding board in their peer group. The suitability of the workstations in the NU building for neurodiverse colleagues does not hold up either.

What do you recommend colleagues see, read or listen to?
Here in Amsterdam, we have one of the best symphony orchestras and one of the best operas in the whole world. Have you never been to an opera or to the Concertgebouw Orchestra? Especially do so! It's an experience you really have to go through.

What did you do last weekend?
Last Saturday we gave a concert with my wind band. That was a concert in which the whole music society performed, from the youth orchestra to the symphonic wind band in which I play myself, which was very fun and varied. On Sunday, we went to listen to the Concertgebouw Orchestra, who performed together with a fantastic English choir. Then I boarded the train to Leipzig where I am on a workshop this week. 

To whom are you handing over the baton?
I am handing over the baton to Ciska Ulug. Ciska worked at IVM for a while and I find her a fun and inspiring colleague. She now works at the Athena Institute as a postdoc. She does research on citizens' initiatives and sustainable transitions.


Are you beta or alpha?

Lift or stairs?
Stairs until the fourth floor or if the queue for the lift is too long, otherwise lift

What is your favourite university snack?
There are quite a few Environmental Geograhpy colleagues who like and bake good cake, when they have a birthday or published a paper or something, that's my favourite snack.  

What do you think is the most beautiful VU building?
The Main Building. I have a weakness for brutalism, I think the over-the-top design and ruggedness is really cool and I think the main building is in the top 20 best brutalist buildings in the Netherlands.