During the ECSJ, we also offer you the opportunity to explore the interesting science that the Netherlands has to offer. On 10 and 11 July, we organize an array of excursions that will include a variety of companies, research institutes and other interesting organisations:

  • Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
  • Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
  • Leiden University Library: History in maps and books
  • University Medical Centre Utrecht
  • Veterinary research at Utrecht University
  • QuTech
  • National Museum of Antiquities
  • SpaceTour of ESTEC and SRON
  • Walking tour of the scientific wall paintings in Leiden
  • Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW): Ecology from soil to sky
  • COVRA, nuclear waste storage
  • Shell Pernis, Energy and Chemical Park Rotterdam
  • Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Plastic clean-up canoe tour


Below you can find more elaborate descriptions of the different excursions. Keep in mind that most excursions have limited space, so if you want to join make sure you sign up before the excursion fills. At the end of June, you will receive more detailed information about the excursion you signed up for. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
A bus will take you to the ASTRON office, located in National Park Dwingelderveld, which has the largest area of wet heather in Western Europe. There you will get a tour through our manufacturing and digital lab facilities. You will learn about our Wireless Data Lab, where we apply innovations which we have developed for radio astronomy to help SMEs to overcome wireless data challenges that they run into. You will visit the Dwingeloo radio telescope, with which astronomers unravelled much of what we know about our Milky Way and get a close look at the control room of the LOFAR radio telescope. After that, the bus will take you to the very heart of this telescope, the largest low frequency radio telescope on earth, which is located on a ‘superterp’ in Exloo.

Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
Naturalis Biodiversity Center won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2021, but it’s more than just a beautiful museum. It holds one of the largest and most digitized natural history collections on the planet, and hosts a few hundred researchers – from classical taxonomists to eDNA specialists to Big Data architects. In this excursion, you will get to know all sides of this institute.

Leiden University Library: History in maps and books
Leiden University Library is home to one of the largest collections of maps and atlases in the Netherlands, with a strong international character. It started with the bequeathal of Johannes Tiberius Bodel Nijenhuis in 1872 – this year exactly 150 years ago – who left his collection of 50.000 maps and atlases to the University Library, including hundreds of unique, hand-drawn maps. The collection grew in the past century and a half with numerous donations and purchases.

Our curators will show some special items, explain more about the collection and talk with you about the current research projects. After lunch, we’ll walk you through the historic centre of Leiden to the National Museum of Antiquities. There, you’ll get a private tour of the newly opened exhibition ‘Books That Made History’. The curator of the exhibition will take you along the twenty most famous books from Leiden. Several experts will be present, to explain why those specific books are of such historic or scientific value. Throughout the whole excursion, there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our curators and experts on their research.

University Medical Centre Utrecht
The University Medical Center Utrecht or UMC Utrecht is a major academic institution in the Netherlands, combining cutting-edge research with patient care and education. This excursion will bring you up to speed on a few research areas that we work on, and that will have a major role in future healthcare. (1. Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht; 2. Image-guided therapies at UMC Utrecht; 3. Child Health Utrecht; 4. Brain Center UMC Utrecht, please indicate your topic of interest)

Veterinary research at Utrecht University
The faculty of Veterinary Medicine: dive into the world of micro-plastics, sustainable livestock farming and specialist animal care – There is only one faculty of Veterinary Medicine in The Netherlands and it is based at Utrecht University. During this excursion, you will get to know the research of this faculty, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. You will visit the busy animal hospital and learn about organoids and One Medicine research that helps both animals and humans. Lunch will be offered at the educational farm on campus, where researchers will tell you about One Health: the concept that healthy people, healthy animals, and a healthy environment are all interconnected. You’ll visit the pathology section room where we study – amongst many other animals – stranded porpoises and investigate their cause of death. And we will look into the problem of microplastics and air pollution, and see how researchers are unraveling the impact of environmental factors on our health.

QuTech
The quantum race is in full swing. Companies and research institutes worldwide are working diligently on prototypes of quantum computers – devices that calculate in a fundamentally different way and that would relegate our current ‘classic’ computers to ordinary abacus. QuTech, a partnership between TU Delft and TNO, is at the forefront of that race.

Various ‘routes’ are being followed at the Delft research institute to create a truly working quantum computer. In addition, research is also being conducted into a real quantum internet. During this excursion, the participants will get an exclusive insight into this quantum lab. Researchers from QuTech will explain the latest developments in the development of the quantum computer and the quantum internet. It will be a unique opportunity to follow the quantum race from the first line.
The excursion is intended for science journalists who are already somewhat at home in quantum technology. A certain basic knowledge, for example of the meaning of the concept of a qubit, is therefore recommended.

National Museum of Antiquities

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (the Dutch national museum of antiquities) is known for its ancient Egyptian collections, one of the world’s top ten. The curators and conservators will welcome you in the museum for a meet and greet and speed talks about their current research projects:

  • ‘The Walking Dead at Saqqara. The Making of a Cultural Geography’, where curator Lara Weiss analyzes the formation of the cultural geography of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis.
  • The restoration of the longest Egyptian papyrus in the museum’s collection: the ‘’Book of the Dead’’ of the tradesman Qenna (1539-1191 BC) by curator Daniel Soliman and conservator Eliza Jacobi.

SpaceTour of ESTEC and SRON
The Netherlands is a high tech country. It is also a melting pot of European space technology, thanks to the establishment of ESTEC, the technical heart of the European Space Agency. Many European space missions would not exist without Dutch rocket technology, they are also powered by Dutch solar panels. Sensors and optical systems from the Netherlands are world renowned. Meanwhile, Dutch engineers are working on a new generation of small cooperative smart satellites. The Netherlands Space Office will offer you a tour along some highlights of space science and technology, including ESTEC and the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

Walking tour of the scientific wall paintings in Leiden
Leiden has a rich history of physics discoveries. Hendrik Lorentz described the Lorentz contraction, a precursor and ingredient of Einsteins theory of relativity, Snell’s law was described by the Leiden scientist Snellius, and Christiaan Huygens formulated his pendulum formula. Physicists Sense Jan van der Molen and Ivo van Vulpen, inspired by the wonderful multilingual wall poems  on more than a hundred walls of Leiden’s inner city, have selected momentous physics equations to be painted and illustrated. Eight have been finished, and a walk past them will introduce you to the grand views as well as the nooks and crannies of Leidens medieval inner city plan.

Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW): Ecology from soil to sky
Soil biodiversity is becoming more  important by the year now, with European legislation on soil health in the making. At one of NIOO’s field locations, the function of soil biodiversity is studied for 25 years already. Including the impact of soil transplantation, to boost the natural ecosystem on degenerated places. This long-running study, so necessary to discover long-term effects in ecology, is even surpassed by another one in the same national nature area The Veluwe. You’ll find the subject up in the sky: songbirds, breeding in nestboxes and contributing to a 70-year database of one of the longest running series worldwide. Together with a more recent but unique experimental set-up on the effects of light pollution on nature, and a visit to the stunning sustainable research institute itself, this field trip will give you close-up insight into biodiversity and the study of the effects of climate change, shifting habitats, extreme weather and more.
NIOO is a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. More info: www.nioo.knaw.nl/en

COVRA, nuclear waste storage
Nuclear energy is a divisive issue in the European Union and one of the culprits is the disposal of nuclear waste. This excursion will bring you to COVRA, the Dutch organization responsible for the temporary storage of nuclear waste. On the way we can do a short visit of the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier.

After a tour of the facilities we will have a discussion about the possibilities of the permanent disposal of nuclear waste with a representative from COVRA and with Manuel Sintuban professor of geodynamics at Leuven University. Also invited is a representative from Posiva, the organization responsible for the final disposal of nuclear waste in Finland

Shell Pernis, Energy and Chemical Park Rotterdam
Interested to find out how the largest refinery of Europe plans to transform itself into an industrial site with net zero emissions for itself and its customers? If so, feel invited to visit Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam (Shell Pernis).

Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
The Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organisation that was founded as the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. The organisation has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, but it has 193 member states and is active worldwide. Its aim is to achieve a world free of chemical weapons and the threat of their use, in which chemistry is used for peace, progress, and prosperity. In 2013, the organisation won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

Plastic clean-up canoe tour
From Styrofoam boxes, face masks, and tin cans to extraordinary finds like diaries and sex toys. You can find it in the canals of Leiden! During weekly canoe clean-ups, volunteers collect and study the floating litter. Through research, they aim to prevent litter from entering our canals and minimize plastic pollution. Their research was also featured in the New York Times, CNN, and The Guardian. Join a Plastic Spotter expedition, discover the city from the water and leave the canals cleaner than you found them.