New HSO member: Sanne Hiemstra

Published on
May 19, 2021

Hi there, I am Sanne Hiemstra and I’ve started as a junior researcher at the chair group Health and Society. In the coming (nearly) two years, I will work on the project ‘Binnenwerk Buiten’. This project focusses on the health and employability effects and possibilities of working in nature for people with a work disability. It’s funded by the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs and The Dutch Forestry organization (Staatsbosbeheer). The idea is to develop this into a PhD, so that we can conduct a multi-year research.

My educational background is in psychology and sociology, which I’ve studied at the University of Groningen (mainly) and the University of Ghent. I combined developmental, social and clinical psychology (bachelor) with a specialization in theory and history of science (master). Central themes were health promotion, (de)medicalization and the way science and society interacted around this. A recurring subject for me was the growing up as human, being a human and the problems that can accompany it.

After my studies I worked as a municipal policy advisor, where I was involved with the decentralization of youth care, health policy, and community participation. It struck me how important the role of the living environment is for social well-being. Because I have a personal affinity with nature, I decided to examine how I could dedicate myself to the connection between humans and nature. As freelancer, I worked on this and I continued to focus on ways to involve residents and partners in developments and projects in both the social an physical domain.

During this period, I came into contact with The Dutch Forestry Organization and together with WUR we decided to set up Binnenwerk Buiten. I’m very grateful that we found funding! For me this is the perfect opportunity to combine my educational and work experience with my passion for health, nature and participatory methods. In my free time I love to have fun with friends, enjoy nature, music (festivals – miss them!) and books, go on a hike, make a trip with my oldtimer camper, spin wool (big alpaca fan), take care of animals and my garden, and many more things! If you want to know more about me, feel free to call or mail me! I am looking forward to meeting all of you in the next weeks!