ambassadors IJmeer

Floris Alkemade

Floris Alkemade has been the Chief Government Architect since 1 September 2015 and as such chairman of the Board of Government Advisors. The Chief Government Architect advises the Minister of the Interior and the DG of the Central Government Real Estate Agency. He monitors and stimulates the architectonic and the urban development quality of state projects. Disposal and redevelopment of state real estate are also important areas of attention of the Chief Government Architect.

Moreover, the Chief Government Architect advises the State upon request and at his own initiative on matters of architectonic quality and the significant spatial themes. He also plays an important role in inspiring the discourse about the discipline. Floris Alkemade combines his job as Chief Government Architect with his work for his architectural firm FAA and his lectureship at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. Floris Alkemade is also curator of the next two editions of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), in 2018 and 2020.

 Since he graduated under Rem Koolhaas at the Delft TU, Floris Alkemade has been associated with the OMA firm for 18 years, including the last 7 years as a partner. He has been working on large projects and studies all over the world, at the scale level of architecture as well as that of urban development. Well known are Euralille, a large area development round the new TGV station in Lille, and in the Netherlands in the new Almere City Centre.
Twitter: @RijksBM

Floortje Dessing

Floortje Dessing is a Dutch radio and television presenter, producer and travel writer, best known for her various travel TV shows.

Dessing is an active ambassador to raise awareness of climate change. She has two boutiques, which sell clothing that is fair trade and has been produced in an environment-friendly way. Since 2009 Dessing has been a supporter of the Greenpeace climate campaign ‘You Turn the Earth.’ She has made a point of traveling in more environmentally friendly ways, for example by using public transport more frequently than before. Dessing uses her travels to raise awareness about the earth’s vulnerability, and to stress the importance of taking good care of it.

Instagram: @eindevandewereld

Mo Hersi

Mo Hersi chose for the stage. At age 32, he is an ‘inspiring comedian’. His speeches, vlogs and performances often unveil a serious message. “I want to show that my heritage and my citizenship don’t have to get in the way of each other.” In March this year, Hersi hiked through the Netherlands: “I noticed that in the news, refugees were mainly portrayed negatively. I wanted to do something, to make a statement. I wanted to reconnect people and invite them to talk to each other.” That ‘something’ became a 31-day hike, penniless, over a distance of about 800 kilometers. People could follow ‘Mo The Messenger’ and his journey via local, regional and national media and through his own Facebook page. “I wanted to show that I am part of the Netherlands as well, and that we are all Dutch together.” He summarised his experiences in a documentary, which will premiere on Thursday 21 December in Kinepolis cinema in Almere.
Facebook: @mohersii
Instagram: @themessengermohersi

Kadir van Lohuizen

Kadir is an international photojournalist based in Amsterdam and one of the co-founders of NOOR, a global, multilingual collective of journalists, authors, photographers, artists and filmmakers documenting, investigating and witnessing our world. Kadir van Lohuizen has covered conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, but is probably best known for his long-term projects on the seven rivers of the world, the rising of sea levels, the diamond industry and migration in the Americas. His solo-exhibition Rising Tide was on display at the Scheepvaart Museum in Amsterdam, before travelling to the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibition serves as a wake-up call that shows that climate change is an unstoppable force that can only be slowed down.
Twitter: @mediakadir
Instagram: @kadirvanlohuizen

Maarten Ouboter

Maarten Ouboter has been working for Waternet (the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht water board) for 20 years. And in the 15 years prior to that, he was working at the Hydraulics Laboratory in Delft. His commitment at the water board Waternet is to bring insights into the functioning of our living environment into the decision-making process: what do we see, why is it the way it is, what choices have been made in the past and which action (management, interventions, cooperation) are necessary to guarantee the sustainability of our living environment? Maarten’s background is Earth Sciences (geology and physical geography, both from a chemical perspective). His approach takes into account the landscape, our natural environment and the interventions that shape our living environment to our will. But how do we give life space to unfold? Cleaner Water Netherlands!

During WaterWalks IJmeer 2021, Maarten Ouboter walks together with aquatic ecologist Harm van der Geest. Side by side, they walk from Muiderberg to IJburg, Amsterdam — a symbolic line connecting their respective objects of study: the water of the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht on Maarten’s side, and the IJsselmeer on Harm’s side. How will they experience of the same route?

Harm van der Geest

Harm van der Geest works as an aquatic ecologist at the University of Amsterdam. All his life he has been researching how water ecosystems are influenced by humans. Examples are research into the effects of eutrophication on ditches in peat meadow areas, the purifying effect of wetlands on water quality, the effects of pesticides in the North Sea and ecological processes behind the recovery of Dutch lowland streams. The IJsselmeer region has been his main research area for a number of years. Due to, among other things, the construction of dams and dikes, the changes in water quality and the changing use of the area, major changes have occurred in the ecology. The research is aimed at gaining insight into the drivers for ecological recovery of this heavily damaged ecosystem. In all his activities, in both research and education, Harm is looking for collaboration between science and society. Many of the research projects take place in collaboration with regional water managers, nature conservation organizations and users of the area.
During WaterWalks IJmeer 2021, Harm van der Geest walks together with Maarten Ouboter of Waternet. Side by side, they walk from Muiderberg to IJburg, Amsterdam — a symbolic line connecting their respective objects of study: the water of the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht on Maarten’s side, and the IJsselmeer on Harm’s side. How will they experience of the same route?

Twitter: @EcologieMM

Li An Phoa

In 2005 Li An Phoa canoed the full length of a river in Canada, the Rupert. All along the way, she could drink water straight from the river. Three years later, Li An came back and she could not drink from the Rupert anymore. The river was polluted as a result of dams and mining. Fish died, people got ill. The delicate balance in the ecosystem was destroyed.

Li An realised that drinkable rivers are an indicator of healthy living. Indeed, when we can drink from our rivers, it means that a whole ecosystem is healthy and in balance. Rivers can only be drinkable when all actions and relations in an entire watershed contribute.

From this experience she founded Drinkable Rivers: proposing to use drinkable rivers, as a guiding principle for our societies, as a replacement of economic growth. Drinkable rivers as an ancient and new compass, guided by the following, simple question: “Does this behaviour, this measure, or this innovation contribute to drinkable rivers?”
Instagram: @drinkablerivers
Facebook: @DrinkableRivers

Yftinus van Popta

Shipwrecks in the IJmeer?

WaterWalks Ambassador Yftinus van Popta is a maritime archaeologist specializing in the Zuiderzee area. Our history is inextricably linked with water. As a maritime archaeologist, Yftinus van Popta is concerned with our maritime past and underwater heritage: shipwrecks, remains of harbours, quays, waterways, bridges, as well as drowned landscapes and villages.

In October 2020, he obtained his doctorate from the University of Groningen with his research into the late medieval drowned villages of the Noordoostpolder. He is project leader of the archaeological research into the 18th-century English armed merchant ship ‘Queen Anne’ that was wrecked south of Lemmer on the Zuiderzee. He is currently starting a new study into the link between shipwrecks and ship disasters, which has already led to the identification of several Zuiderzee wrecks…

Merlijn Twaalfhoven

Let’s bring an artist mindset to the most pressing and complex societal challenges. Let’s do this by creating space for imagination, beauty and play on places that are stuck in scarcity.  This is the mission of Merlijn Twaalfhoven, composer and artistic entrepreneur. To bring more artivism to the worlds biggest challenges, he founded the Turn Club, a lab for arts in society. In this way, he connects artists and other change makers to places, organisations and people that are working on turn towards a sustainable world.

As a composer, Merlijn creates music in conflict areas, refugee camps and other unusual places. Working with artists, scientists, diplomats, and other idealists in unconventional and creative ways, he seeks beauty, experiment and change.
He received a UNESCO award, is part of the Fifty For The Future project of the Kronos Quartet and worked with many orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. He published the acclaimed book Het is aan ons (It’s up to us), where he illustrates the power of art for pressing societal challenges and invites the reader to activia an artist mindset and overcome any hesitation to start saving the world.
Twitter: @Merlijn12H
Facebook: @merlijn.twaalfhoven
Instagram: @merlijn12hoven

Ton Venhoeven

Ton Venhoeven is architect and urban planner, founder and principal of VenhoevenCS: an innovative office for sustainable architecture, urban development and infrastructure. The work of our international practice has been recognized with numerous publications, awards and exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. During WaterWalks IJmeer he will look at the opportunities for sustainable development of the bay area, connecting Amsterdam and the IJmeer with public transport over water. 
Instagram: @venhoevencs
Facebook: @venhoevencs
Twitter: @venhoevenCS

Sandra de Vries

Sandra de Vries contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with her company PULSAQUA. She does this by applying so-called citizen science methods to research and tackle water and environment related problems. During WaterWalks IJmeer she will look into the practical application of the WaterWalks app for citizen science purposes, based on the Agenda IJsselmeer Region 2050:
Twitter: @SandritaDeVries
Facebook: @pulsaqua

Thijs de Zeeuw

On June 4-5, landscape architect Thijs de Zeeuw will literally dive into the IJmeer. He goes in search of the animals and plants that live there and reports from their perspective: how do these non-human inhabitants experience the IJmeer?

Thijs de Zeeuw is a landscape architect and researcher. He designed several animal enclosures for the Royal Zoo of Amsterdam, ARTIS, where he developed a way of working from other than human perspectives. He was co-founder of the Zoo of the Future, -ZOOOF- a speculative research-and-design project on novel forms of co-habitation. He is the founder of the NATURE OPTIMIST, a platform for the happy, opportunistic and untameable nature in and around us; providing an alter ego which allows him to give unsolicited comments and advise on urban development in the name of all those other than human city dwellers. He will be Architect in Residence this year at ARCAM Amsterdam.
Instagram: @natureoptimist