HAS University of Applied Sciences launches new minor on the Natural Environment

News 16 September 2019

Inspiring speech by Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, Floris Alkemade at the launch

On Wednesday 11 September, Floris Alkemade, Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, launched the minor ’Space Test’ as part of the study programme Spatial & Environmental Planning. During an inspiring launch event, Alkemade shared his vision of the future for spatial design in the Netherlands and outlined the part young professionals can play. During the new minor, more than 30 students will spend 20 weeks working on complex issues for external clients.

Real-life setting

The minor challenges students to look for sustainable solutions for real-life issues related to landscape, urban development and nature. Underlying topics throughout the minor are climate change, the construction challenge, the roll of the city and countryside, and future power supply. The clients are: the councils of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Nationale landschappen.nl & Zeeuwslandschap, and Renaissance van het platteland (renaissance of the countryside) & Metropole Eindhoven. Alkemade challenged students to connect their assignments to the future perspective for the spatial design of the Netherlands, as defined by the Dutch Board of Government Advisors in ‘Panorama Netherlands’.

Looking for answers

During the minor, students will work in groups to find answers to the issues given to them. This will challenge them to use each other’s skills, knowledge and networks as much as possible, as well as those of their client and other leaders in the professional field. For 20 weeks, they will be in close contact with their clients and take part in national and international conferences, network events, excursions and company visits. During a closing event, in February 2020, they will present their findings to the clients, stakeholders from the sector and others interested parties.

New generation of professionals

The new minor at HAS University of Applied Sciences is aligned with the future perspective of the Dutch Board of Government Advisors for the spatial design of the Netherlands: A Netherlands that is still recognisable to everyone, but one that functions fundamentally differently in several areas: the way we travel, produce food, build and produce energy. According to Alkemade, it’s the students who need to make tomorrow’s transition possible.

Sustainable transformation

“There’s rarely been a generation that has to work with such far-reaching and relevant societal tasks,” says Alkemade. “The picture presented in the Dutch Panorama requires a huge effort from those working in landscape, cities, nature and our living environment,” explains Marjo Baeten, lecturer for the study programme Spatial & Environmental Planning. “This minor enables us to make our students more aware of the role and responsibility they have to sustainably transform our society. It also teaches them to look for meaningful collaborations. Because complex issues require powerful collaborations, within and between professional fields.”

Target group for the new minor

The first edition of this minor is aimed at students from the study programme Spatial & Environmental Planning. From the next academic year, the minor will be open to students from other study programmes and from outside HAS University of Applied Sciences.