Jantsje van Loon-Steensma professor of applied sciences (lector) at Van Hall Larenstein

Published on
July 8, 2022

Jantsje van Loon-Steensma has been appointed as professor of applied sciences (lector) in Nature-based River Management at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (Velp) as of May 1st. She will also remain affiliated with Wageningen University & Research.

Van Loon-Steensma: "Nature-based River Management is one of the new applied research themes at the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. The goal is to develop this area of interest and to integrate the latest insights from research into education."

Nature-based River Management is developing rapidly as a new focus area. "In the past, river management mainly focused on draining water from the hinterland (including wastewater), and on transport. Interventions for example involved channelling of watercourses, dredging, or constructing groynes," explains Van Loon-Steensma. "In the 1970s the attention for nature and environment was increasing, and the early 2000s saw the ‘Room for the River’ programme. But Nature-based River Management allows even more space for natural processes - you let the river do more by itself, and monitor when interventions are needed. Through my research and education I hope to contribute to sustainable and integrated management of local streams and of river systems, in which nature-based solutions are central, but that also include all other values and functions."

Applied research

Van Loon-Steensma already started working partly at Van Hall Larenstein in May. In the coming year she will expand this to four days a week: "When I was contacted for this position, I became very enthusiastic about the opportunity to pass on my ideas to a younger generation. Of course, I was already doing this in Wageningen through teaching and supervision of MSc thesis research. But I've always been involved in applied research, which is at the core of Van Hall Larenstein."

Nevertheless, she will also remain connected with Wageningen University & Research: "I am the coordinator of the BSc minor course Disaster Risk Management & Nature-based Solutions. I also remain involved in research, such as in the EU Green Deal projects REST-COAST and WaterLANDS, and the NWO Living Lab project Hedwige-Prosperpolder, which also concern the restoration and application of nature and water-related systems."

Connection Wageningen and Van Hall Larenstein

Van Loon-Steensma mentions that there has been a long connection between Wageningen University & Research and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences: "Both institutes cover the same domain: the ‘green-blue’ living environment, including agriculture. Van Hall Larenstein even was located on Wageningen campus for a short time. My professorship (lectoraat) is linked to the Land & Water Management programme, and at Wageningen I teach in the International Land & Water Management programme, among others. I’m very motivated to strengthen the connection between van Hall Larenstein and Wageningen through education or student participation in projects."

Van Loon-Steensma concludes: "Van Hall Larenstein (Velp) is located on a beautiful green estate. I have already run into many acquaintances. For example people who studied in Wageningen, or whom I know from the field, or from the period when part of Van Hall Larenstein was located in Wageningen. So this new step feels like extending my work focus, and not so much as leaving."