Academy Job Shadow Days Report

Jacqueline Maenhout at the Fryske Akademy

Digital communication advisor Jacqueline Maenhout of the Academy Bureau is shadowing Marijn Molema, researcher at the Fryske Akademy.

Jacqueline Maenhout visits Marijn Molema



I’m off to visit the Fryske Akademy today. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s foggy between Haarlem and Leeuwarden, but as I cross the Afsluitdijk causeway, the fog lifts and the skies clear. I reach the Fryske Akademy well before 9 a.m.


Marijn has put together a whole programme for me that will give me a glimpse of his work. We start by attending a meeting of the supervisory committee for a research project on the Economic vitality of Northeast Fryslân. The committee talks about the research setup, and I also contribute to the conversation. They serve sûkerbôle, a regional delicacy. Two slices of cinnamon bread held together by a thick layer of creamy butter. It’s delicious, but the calories…!

Left to right: Symen Hoekstra, Bart Hoogenboom and Marijn Molema


At lunch, we’re joined by Johanneke Buning, a researcher at the Mercator European Research Centre for Multilingualism and Language Learning. They compare the development of minority languages there, for example Basque and Frisian, so they’ve got a very international outlook. Johanneke also maintains Mercator’s website. Jinke Boersma also joins us for lunch. She’s the Akademy’s executive secretary and makes sure that all communication conforms to their house style. It’s familiar turf for me. We talk about how difficult it can be to persuade staff to follow the house style rules, especially when they’re paying for a publication from their own budget. I talk to Johanneke about Pure, the Academy’s research information system. She tells me that the regional studies that they’ve entered into Pure are not showing up in Google Scholar. Is that a problem that we’ve encountered before? I’m no expert in Pure, of course, but I promise her that I’ll take up the matter with Armand Guicherit, our Pure specialist.

Clockwise: Tjerk Soet (former Rabobank), Karin Wierda (province of Fryslân), Siepie de Groot (Netwerk Noordoost), Symen Hoekstra, Bart Hoogenboom, Marijn Molema and (the hands of) Bearn Bilker (representing the municipalities Noordoost-Fryslân)


After lunch, we talk to intern Symen Hoekstra and PhD candidate Bart Hoogeboom about a symposium they’re organising in 2018 about the past, present and future of the Frisian dairy industry. The point of the symposium is to consider whether the industry is training the right people to be sustainable and future-proof. We brainstorm about how to attract young students enrolled in agricultural science programmes. Marijn is exploring ways to make the two symposium evenings fun and appealing. When he visits Amsterdam next week, we’ll drop in at our Events Department for some additional tips.

Brainstorm with Symen, Bart and Marijn


We meet Roelof Veeningen, a volunteer at the Akademy. He's retired and is helping Marijn set up a database on agricultural productivity in Friesland between 1870 and the present. Roelof used to work for the Limnology Institute (now part of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO). ‘I started my career at the Royal Academy,’ he laughs.

Lovely day

The sun shines as I drive back over the causeway. I think about the past few hours. I got a really good impression of the everyday life of a researcher, the fact that researchers deal with so many different people and are involved in so many management decisions. A day like that reveals our differences, but also our similarities. In the end, we’re all just trying to get good results. After being welcomed so warmly, I’m going to do my best to put together an interesting programme for Marijn’s visit to Amsterdam on 3 October.

Afsluitdijk, statue of Cornelis Lely