Alumnus testimonial

Alumna Gerie Jonk - MSc Environmental Sciences

Gerie Jonk started in 1997 the study T32 Environmental Hygiene, Specialisation Environmental Policy (now known as Environmental Sciences, specialization Environmental Policy). After finishing Gerie worked for several organisations, but she liked working in a political environment the most.

I’m very interested in international policy.


Gerie took a government trainee programme. After several selection rounds that were intensive and of which she learned a lot, Gerie started to work at the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM). Gerie expected to have a very busy job after the huge selection process, but the truth was that she had to find her own way in the Ministry to keep her job interesting and intense.

A project Gerie worked on during her trainee programme was about rules for public available places for testing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as the industry wanted transparency. Another project was about the trading of emission rights of greenhouse gasses via electronic banking systems. Gerie’s task was to look at the decisions made at climate change conferences and translate those into software for the electronic banking systems. This was quite a challenge, because the decisions made at UN climate change conferences are not clear at all due to the variety of countries that not always agree.


After her trainee programme, Gerie worked for the climate change directorate of VROM, where she worked for four years on the new Dutch climate policy. The climate policy was in collaboration with six different Ministries, resulting in a lot of pressure due to a variety of activities taking place at the same time: budget management, write the policy programme, involve the industry and NGOs, and debate in the Parliament. In the end it was an intensive, but very interesting project.

Because Gerie is very interested in international policy, she participated in the Dutch delegation to UN climate change conferences. She went to Bali to work on the climate change treaty to follow up Kyoto as  from 2020. This work consisted of two years of intensive negotiations, and a lot of UN meetings abroad, for instance in Bonn and Bangkok. Gerie also went to Copenhagen in 2009 to negotiate on climate change. Although it was very interesting to work with a lot of people from different cultures, sometimes it could be very frustrating because of the slow process.

Gerie enjoys working in a political environment very much. The government change every four years makes her work very dynamic. Her broad perspective of environmental sciences makes that she can cope easily with this dynamic political environment.