Utrecht according to the award-winning sociologist Tanja van der Lippe

Tanja van der Lippe, professor of sociology at Utrecht University, has been awarded one of the highest honors in Dutch science. This is the Stevin Prize, also known as the ‘Dutch Nobel Prize’. An award that focuses on the societal impact of scientific research. Tanja will receive 2.5 million euros for further research into, among other things, the balance between work and private life. Last year she wrote the book ‘Where is my time?’, About both causes and possible solutions to time pressure. We asked Tanja what she wants to do with the 2.5 million and where she can enjoy culinary delights in Utrecht.

Did you expect to win this award?

“You do not expect such a thing. I have a very good job. We work with a really good team at the Department of Sociology. When something like this happens, it’s a huge icing on the cake. I’m very happy about that. Afterwards, I heard that the rector of the university, Henk Kummeling, nominated me. An international committee has examined the various nominations. I was eventually called by Marcel Levi, chairman of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). He surprised me and had to repeat it a few times before I believed it. I see it as an incredible honor. I get the award, but I also see it as a prize for all my colleagues. We will all enjoy it. ”

What do you need with the money?

“I would like to investigate why there is such a large untapped labor potential for women in the Netherlands. Why do some women not work for paid or in small part-time jobs? There are ideas about that. It may be women who can and want to work (more). It’s about what the standards and culture of the Netherlands actually look like. And how you can change it. How can we leverage women’s talents? And what role do childcare, parental leave and employers play in this? In short: what buttons can we turn to change this? This is important because we now have a tight labor market. ”

Have you always studied a (healthy) balance between work and private life?

“I am a regular subject, but always with an innovative angle. A long time ago I got my PhD. here in Utrecht with my research into the division of labor between men and women. It was also about work-life balance. Then I did a lot of international comparative research on employment positions. I have become more and more aware that people have different roles in life: as an employee or as a family member, for example. All of these roles affect your performance and your well-being. You cannot understand them individually. If someone is doing well at work, my argument is that it is often because of how a person’s privacy is going. And the other way around. It affects each other. ”

What do you like about this field of research?

“After all, the Netherlands occupies a special position. Here, women often work part-time. It is said to be so because those women want it. But when you cross the border, you do not have much part-time work at all. The riddle is not yet completely solved in Holland. We are not sure exactly how it happened yet. I have become more and more aware that you have to turn all those knobs. It’s not one fix the women’s approach, but repair the system† We are now working on this with a group of sociologists, psychologists, economists and management and organizational researchers. There is a great need for interdisciplinary research so that we can learn from each other. ”

Where can you relax in Utrecht?

“In the botanical garden of Utrecht Science Park. They are so beautiful. People really need to take a moment to go there. It is beautiful now, in the beginning of summer. The gardens are maintained with a lot of love and attention.”

What is your favorite place in Utrecht?

“I really like the flower market in Utrecht. I like to get there. I know a lot of people standing there, and I think some of them know me now. “

Where can you enjoy culinary delights in Utrecht?

“Hos Zala’s on the Trans. The owner is very nice. The food is creative, tasty and they are very accommodating. It is modern French cuisine, with a bit of Middle Eastern influence. ”

What are you proud of as a Utrechter?

“On the bike paths in the city. I am very happy that more cycle paths have been opened in Utrecht. ”

Utrecht is…

“… the nicest city in Holland.”


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