Valedictory symposium

Farewell Symposium Johan Feenstra: Empowering Transitions for Sustainable Futures

Beginning of June, Johan will retire after being the hard working heart and soul of WIMEK for 31 years. This calls for a proper farewell to thank him for everything he has done for WIMEK and the university.
To this end, we will organize a symposium in Lumen 1 and 2 on the 29th of May (13:00-16:00) followed by a reception (16:00-17:30).

Organised by Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK)

Wed 29 May 2024 13:00 to 17:30

Venue Lumen, building number 100
Droevendaalsesteeg 3a
6708 PB Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 481 700

The theme for the symposium is ”Empowering Transitions to Sustainable Futures’’, a topic that is very near and dear to Johan. Through the years he spent at WIMEK he has seen amazing research taking place in the field of environment, sustainability, and climate change, but its impact has not always been very apparent. Therefore, he would like participants to think about cultural and organizational changes that would be needed in the academic system to actively contribute to the necessary transitions in society.

The symposium will be chaired by the dean of Wageningen University & Research Prof. Dr. Carolien Kroeze. The three themes that will be addressed during the symposium are:

  • Strengthening interaction between science and society through dialogues, co-creation, transdisciplinarity, etc.
  • Contributing to the development of narratives about a sustainable future that provide perspective, rather than doom and gloom
  • Example(s) of successful co-creation projects


Time Presenter Title
13:00-13:10 Johan Feenstra and Carolien Kroeze Opening of the symposium
13:10-13:30 Jeanne Nel Transdisciplinary learning to enable collective action towards sustainable futures
13:30-13:50 Tim van Hattum Let’s make climate action sexy
13:50-14:10 Arnold van Vliet Empowering scientists to scale-up their societal impact: an untapped potential to facilitate a sustainable future
14:10-14:30 Timo Maas Couples therapy for a troubled relationship? Improving interactions between science, policy and society
14:30-14:45 Coffee break
14:45-16:00 Guided interactive discussions on which changes in university policy, academic culture and organization are needed to increase our contribution to transformative changes to a sustainable and just society at (i) individual scientist / chair group level, (ii) (WIMEK) Graduate school level and (iii) WUR level.
16:00-17:30 Farewell reception with drinks and bites

Click here to register for the symposium and or the reception, we hope to see many of you there to give Johan a wonderful send off!

No personal gifts, please
In case you would like to give Johan a goodbye gift, he has indicated he would like people to donate to the WURth-while fund instead.

In 2016, Johan took the initiative - together with Marjolijn Dannenburg – to establish the WURth-while programme. WURth-while offers refugees the opportunity to participate for free in courses offered by the University. This can be a great opportunity for students that are currently ‘on hold’ in emergency shelters, refugee centres, or in their new homes.

WURth-while fund
Although the refugees can participate for free in the courses, sometimes they still have travel and material costs that they cannot afford on their own. The WURth-while fund is used to ensure that refugee students can actually participate in the courses they have been admitted to. Your contribution helps to remove the final barriers so travel expenses and study materials can be reimbursed and a refugee can optimally participate in education at Wageningen University.

You can donate via the university fund / het universiteitsfonds or you can put your cash contribution in the collection box during the reception.

We hope to see many of you on the 29th of May to give Johan a beautiful send-off!