Merijn Slagter did his internship at Wij.land, the Netherlands in 2017 and 2018.
- As of 2018, Wij.land is a starting landscape restoration focused on the Dutch western peat meadow
lands. The organization uses the holistic 4 Returns approach to guide their activities. Wij.land is good at
connecting and scaling up initiatives in the landscapes.
- The 4 Returns approach connects restoration ecology with business cases. Within Dutch peat meadows,
Wij.land explores options to create business cases of, among others, soil quality, cutting transports
(maaiselstromen) and wet crops. The prime target group of Wij.land are currently dairy farmers, because
these are the most common land users of peat meadows in the Netherlands.
- The activities during the first part of my internship were focused on getting to know the organization. This
knowledge helped me to achieve my internship goals.
- My first internship goal was to build a spatial data system for Wij.land. This data system was made in
the online GIS Cloud platform, combined with Excel spreadsheets. I used the MoSCoW prioritization
method to determine the end users wishes.
- The second goal of the internship was to provide insight and recommend on GIS opportunities for 4
Returns landscapes. I could achieve this goal by connecting my own knowledge and experience to my
understanding of 4 Returns landscapes.
- One of my tasks was to go into the field, to collect soil samples. I spent three full days with colleagues to
make sure all samples were taken. During one day, it rained so hard, we were completely soaked. The
nice thing about taking samples is that it brings the opportunity to meet the farmers in the network of
- Once every two weeks I worked at the office of the Vechtplassen unit of Natuurmonumenten. This unit
collaborates with Wij.land on various projects and also might use the data system I built in the future.
- Employees at Natuurmonumenten were very fond of my GIS experience. When I came to the office,
they had their lines of questions ready for me.
- I helped to create management contracts for various farmers who rent lands from Natuurmonumenten. One such map was used in a meeting between Natuurmonumenten and the farmer where I also attended. It was nice to see that the maps helped to understand the agreement made between the farmer and Natuurmonumenten.
- To illustrate the opportunity of GIS for 4 Returns landscapes, I made two story maps, one for Wij.land and one for Commonland. These can be visited online. I also created an online tutorial for database users at Wij.land.
- I would advice fellow students to make sure to ask for feedback whenever they need it. I was sometimes
a bit to shy to ask for feedback on the work I did, which resulted sometimes in an inefficient workflow.