During the NEXT Expedition, children breathe new life into Franker University

“Trust in science is essential to a well-functioning society. That is why we want to show children in an accessible way how science works, that scientists seek and find solutions to problems of our time, but above all let them experience that doing research is fun,” says Marcel. Levy, President of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), on the purpose of the Children’s Science Festival, “Maybe in this way we will inspire a new generation of scientists.” This fits in with NWA’s broader vision of demonstrating the value and importance of science to Dutch society.

knowledge treasure

Born and raised in Franeker, Denis Wiersma, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, inaugurated the NEXT Mission in Martinique. He does this by handing the key to the science treasure to Waadhoeke Children’s Mayor Wende Sinnema: “I think it’s great that so many scientists are coming to Franeker on May 6. I am really looking forward to going on a science expedition with my friends and filling this treasure of science with all the knowledge” .


The historic center of Franeker will become the site of a science festival. Kids can discover science in more than 100 activities spread over 16 locations in the city center (in shops, churches, cafés and also in Kaatsveld and Eise Eisinga Planetarium). The festival works closely with the municipality. The whole city is involved in organizing the festival. Mayor Marga Waanders explains: “At Fryslân we place great value on mienskip. That’s why I’m so proud of the way Franker put her best leg up. Residents signed up as volunteers and our entrepreneurs are contributing to that day. The city has a special scientific tradition. I love that children are introduced to the history of the city and I hope it inspires them.”

Dutch Museums

Innovation in science communication plays a major role during the festival. Dutch museums are the leaders in presenting attractive exhibits to a wide audience. That is why NWA has launched an open call among Dutch museums to develop plans for innovative and innovative science towers in order to promote science communication. In the end, the Discovery Museum, Cosmos Observatory, Mosion, Koninkliki Easy Isinga Planetarium and Martina Museum were selected among all the entries to create an exhibition that will be shown for the first time during the festival.

Next Expedition

Expedition NEXT has 113 activities, including 31 constellations, 28 workshops, 11 experiments and 3 live studies with more than 200 scientists. To guide children and their caregivers through it, fictional Professor Nova Next takes them on six different expeditions that show the breadth of the scientific field. Kids can do and experience all kinds of things during these excursions. For example, the first Dutch woman astronaut Mindy Howard giving a lecture on how to become an astronaut. In “Frag Mar Rack,” children and presenter Anna Gembrier question famous scholars such as Anne Schulp, Marcel Levy and Evelyn Kron. Other notable guests are Rico (Opgezwolle), Brett Decker and Boy Experimental Expert.

IMPACTLAB, an inter-university research group from Utrecht University and Leiden University, measures the effects of science communication on children and their caregivers at Exception Next. Ward Peters, Research Coordinator at IMPACTLAB says: “Little research has been done in the Netherlands on the perception of science in the form of a festival. We oversee the various activities at the festival and want to answer with them three questions, namely: who visits the festival, what their experience is, and what Who do visitors take home? We don’t do this by questionnaire, but in creative ways. For example, we ask children for their opinion and thus fill the treasure chest of science. In this way we investigate how Expedition NEXT can contribute to narrowing the gap between society and science.

2 free drinks

Children under the age of 18 can enter the festival for free. Adults pay €7.50 for their ticket. On the day of the festival they get two free drinks. Tickets are still available at www.expeditienext.nl.

By: National Education Guide

Leave a Comment