Thousands of children will take over the center of Franeker on Friday and revive the old university for a day. During the second edition of Expedition Next, the city is bustling with activity.
The historic center will become one of the sites of large science festivals. There are over a hundred activities spread across sixteen locations in the city center. Kids can discover science in shops, churches, and cafés, but also in Catsfield and the Isinga Planetarium. The festival works closely with the municipality. The whole city participates in the organization.
Mayor Marga Wanders is looking forward to this event. At Fryslân we attach great importance to minscape † So I’m proud of the way Franker puts her best forward. Residents have signed up as volunteers and our entrepreneurs are making a contribution. The city has a special scientific tradition. I think it’s great for kids to learn about the history of the city, and I hope it inspires them.”
Departing from Arcadia, the festival is a major national and international 100-day cultural event in Fryslân. Big names such as Diederik Gommers, Eveline Crone, Klaas van Kruistum and Minister Denis Wersma contribute.
Frisian researchers and organizations are also involved. In Friesland Waterland, children learn all about the power of water and the special role of water in the province. Omrin waste treatment company offers visitors a glimpse into the wonderful world of waste. NHL Stenden’s Pabo students from Leeuwarden made the black-tailed Godwit as part of their education, and the kids learn all about our national bird while playing. GGZ Friesland brings virtual reality glasses with them, with which they show how they can help overcome a fear of heights. Frisian Keunstwurk, experts in the field of cultural education, find their talent with children and show that everyone has it.
Thanks to art historian Madelon Simons, kids can take a virtual journey back in time to Franeker 1550, challenging them to learn about the age of the houses. Historian Barbara Hincks The participants conducted research into Franker’s past in slavery. In “Tumult in Franeker,” student David Gorlaeus plays a leading role, showing visitors around and telling them about the city’s academic past. This past comes to life on May 6: Seven characters from academic history are part of Franeker’s Fox Hunt.
“Trust in science is essential to a well-functioning society. That’s why we want to show children in an accessible way how science works, that scientists look for and find solutions to problems of our time, but above all let them experience that doing research is fun,” says Marcel Levy, President Dutch Scientific Research Organization (NWO), “Maybe in this way we will inspire a new generation of scientists.”
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. They do this within the framework of the world-famous artwork GAIA, which was brought to Fryslân in collaboration with Arcadia. After the festival, the artwork, which was previously hung above world leaders during the Glasgow Climate Summit, will be suspended in Franeker for two weeks before it goes on a tour through the rest of Friesland, including the Terschellinger Oerol Festival.
Franeker-born Dennis Wiersma, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, inaugurated the NEXT Mission in Martinique, with Children’s Mayor Wendy Senema.
Children under the age of 18 can enter the festival for free. Adults pay 7.50 euros, including two drinks. Tickets are still available via www.expeditienext.nl
This article is a collaboration between the editors Leeuwarder Courant and Franeker Courant