Renovations, changes, prospects

President José van Dijck

Sounds of hammering, drilling and sawing echo through the Trippenhuis Building. Two enormous site huts are occupying the garden and our nice cafeteria and kitchen have disappeared. All of us – Academy members, staff and cafeteria employees – have to make do until the renovation is finished. And as it turns out, that day is further away than planned: it will be a whole year (!) before we can use the lobby and Tinbergen Room again!

It’s clear that a renovation like ours can have quite an impact on ‘team spirit’. And although it’s not our fault (the Central Government Real Estate Agency is in charge, after all), we’d like to apologise again for the inconvenience. At the moment, we can make use of Amsterdam Public Library’s auditorium – now equipped with a separate reception space – and that makes a big difference. The board is open to any ideas about how we can ensure close contact between our members and between the three societies during this difficult period.

Fortunately, we’ve had many positive responses to our ‘Academy-comes-to-you’ initiative, which has us organising activities up and down the country, from Maastricht to Groningen. The board believes it would be a good idea to continue organising local Academy meetings even after the renovation is done. These events give us a presence at the universities.

On 1 July 2017, we also initiated another change: the new domain structure for members. We have already enjoyed a few highly interesting and well-attended domain sessions. The new domain and council chairpersons are busy taking stock of the most appropriate way to fulfil the Academy's roles as forum and advisory body.

The board met with the full complement of domain and advisory council chairpersons this week. It seems there is a need in each domain for smaller units in which members can share ideas and developments in science and divide up certain tasks between them in smaller groups. We’re still investigating the best way to set up these ‘subdomains’ and how to coordinate the work of the domains and councils, both with each other and with the board. What is clear, in any event, is that the change is generating a lot of positive energy. We are also grateful for the commitment shown by our new domain and advisory council chairpersons.

Once we’ve survived the upheaval of the renovation and the organisational change, we’ll be greeted by the prospect of much improved facilities that will give our energetic organisation room to grow. It’s a genuine privilege to work with so many enthusiastic members and staff on building the Academy’s future

José van Dijck