During Expedition NEXT, children breathe new life into Franeker University

“Trust in science is crucial for a well-functioning society. Therefore, we want to show the children in an accessible way how science works, that researchers look for and find solutions to the problems of our time, but above all let them experience that it is fun to do research. Perhaps in this way we will inspire a new generation of researchers, ”says Marcel Levi, chairman of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), about the purpose of the Child Science Festival. This fits in with the NWA’s broader vision of showing the value and importance of science to Dutch society.

The treasure of science

Dennis Wiersma, Minister of Primary and Secondary Schools, born and raised in Franeker, opens Expedition NEXT in Martinikerk. He does this by handing over the key to the Science Tax to the child mayor of Waadhoeke Wende Sinnema municipality: “I think it is great that so many researchers are coming to Franeker on 6 May. I’m really looking forward to going on a science expedition with my friends and to filling that science treasure with all the knowledge. ”


Franeker’s historic center will be a festival site for science. With more than 100 activities spread over 16 locations in the city center (in shops, churches, cafés, but also at the Kaatsveld and Eise Eisinga Planetarium), children can discover science. The festival works closely with the municipality. The whole city is involved in the organization of the festival. Mayor Marga Waanders explains: “In Fryslân, we attach great value to community. That’s why I’m proud of how Franeker puts his best leg forward. Residents have volunteered and our entrepreneurs make a contribution on the day. The city has a special scientific tradition. I love that children are introduced to the history of the city, and hopefully it inspires them. ”

Dutch museums

Innovation in science communication plays a big role during the festival. Dutch museums are leaders in presenting attractive exhibitions to a wide audience. That is why the NWA has issued an open call to Dutch museums to develop plans for innovative and innovative scientific constellations in order to boost science communication. In the end, the Discovery Museum, Cosmos Observatory, Museon, Koninklijke Eise Eisinga Planetarium and Martena Museum were selected among all the contributions to actually make an event that premieres during the festival.

Expedition NEXT

Expedition NEXT has 113 activities, including 31 constellations, 28 workshops, 11 experiments and 3 live studios with more than 200 scientists. To guide children and their caregivers through it, the fictional Professor Nova NEXT takes them on six different expeditions that show the breadth of the scientific field. Children can do and experience all sorts of things during these expeditions. For example, the first female Dutch astronaut Mindy Howard gives a talk on how to become an astronaut. In ‘Vraag Maar Raak’, children and presenter Anna Gimbrère ask well-known scientists such as Anne Schulp, Marcel Levi and Eveline Crone questions. Other notable guests are Rico (Opgezwolle), Britt Dekker and Boy the Experimenterer Expert.

IMPACTLAB, an interuniversity research group from Utrecht University and Leiden University, measures the effects of science communication on children and their caregivers on Expedition NEXT. Ward Peeters, research coordinator for IMPACTLAB says: “There has been some research in the Netherlands on the perception of science in festival form. We guide various activities at the festival and will answer three questions with them, namely who visits the festival, how it is experienced. and what do visitors take home? We do not do this with the help of a questionnaire, but in creative ways. For example, we ask children to express their opinion and thus fill the Treasury in the Science Treasure. NEXT can help narrow the gap between society and science. ‘

Two free drinks

Children under the age of 18 can enter the festival for free. Adults pay 7.50 euros for their ticket. On festival day, they receive two free drinks. Tickets are still available via www.expeditienext.nl.

By: National Education Guide

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