Thousands of children on Expedition Next

Thousands of children occupy downtown Franeker on Friday, reviving the old university for a day. During the second edition of Expedition Next, the city is buzzing with activities.

The historic center will be one big festival site for science. There are more than a hundred activities spread over sixteen locations in the city center. Children can discover science in shops, churches, cafes, but also at Kaatsveld and in the Eise Eisinga Planetarium. The festival works closely with the municipality. The whole city is involved in the organization.

Mayor Marga Waanders is looking forward to the event. ,, In Fryslân, we place great emphasis on common † I’m therefore proud of how Franeker puts his best foot forward. Residents have volunteered and our entrepreneurs are making a contribution. The city has a special scientific tradition. I think it’s great that children are being introduced to the city’s history, hopefully it will inspire them. ”

The festival starts Arcadia, a major 100-day national and international cultural event in Friesland. Big names like Diederik Gommers, Eveline Crone, Klaas van Kruistum and Minister Dennis Wiersma contribute.

Frisian researchers and organizations are also participating. At ‘Friesland Waterland’, children learn all about the power of water and the special role of water in the province. The waste treatment company Omrin gives visitors an insight into the wonderful world of waste. Pabo students from the NHL Stenden from Leeuwarden have made a black-tailed deer game as part of their education, children learn all about our national bird while they play. GGZ Friesland has VR glasses with them, which they show how they can help overcome a fear of heights. The Frisian Keunstwurk, experts in cultural education, look for their talent with children and show that everyone has it.

Thanks to the art historian Madelon Simons, children can take a virtual journey through time to 1550 Franeker and challenge them to recognize the age of the houses. Historian Barbara Henkes lets participants research Franeker’s slavery history. In ‘Tumult i Franeker’, student David Gorlaeus plays the main role, he shows visitors around and tells about the city’s academic past. That past comes to life on May 6: Seven figures from academic history are part of Franeker’s Fox Hunt.

Confidence in science is essential for a well-functioning society. Therefore, we want to show the children in an accessible way how science works, that researchers look for and find solutions to the problems of our time, but above all let them experience that it is fun to do research. Perhaps in this way we will inspire a new generation of researchers, ”says Marcel Levi, chairman of the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Expedition NEXT has 113 activities, including 31 constellations, 28 workshops, 11 experiments and 3 live studios with more than 200 scientists. To guide children and their caregivers through it, the fictional Professor Nova NEXT takes them on six different expeditions that show the breadth of the scientific field.

Children can do and experience all sorts of things during these expeditions. For example, the first female Dutch astronaut Mindy Howard gives a talk on how to become an astronaut. In ‘Vraag Maar Raak’, children and presenter Anna Gimbrère ask well-known scientists such as Anne Schulp, Marcel Levi and Eveline Crone questions. They do this under the world-famous artwork GAIA, which was brought to Friesland in collaboration with Arcadia. After the festival, the artwork, which previously hung over world leaders during the climate summit in Glasgow, will hang in Franeker for two weeks before touring through the rest of Friesland, including the Terschellinger festival Oerol.

Dennis Wiersma, Minister of Primary and Lower Secondary Education and born and raised in Franeker, opens Expedition NEXT in Martinikerk together with children’s mayor Wende Sinnema.

Children under the age of 18 can enter the festival for free. Adults pay € 7.50, including two drinks. Tickets are still available via

This article is the result of a collaboration between the editors of Leeuwarder Courant and Franeker Courant

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