Board Members

Petra van Dam


Petra J.E.M. van Dam is one of the main experts in the field of ecological (or environmental) history in Europe. As vice-chair of the European Society for Environmental History she contributed to establishing ESEH Summer schools, she was the organizer of the ESEH Amsterdam 2007 Conference, ‘Global Perspectives,’ together with Russia specialist Prof. dr. David Moon,  Prof. dr. Christof Mauch and Prof. dr. Helmut Trischler (directors of the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies, München), she founded the book series ‘The Environment in History’ (Berghahn Publishers, Oxford-New York) together with Russia specialist Prof. dr. David Moon, Prof. dr. Christof Mauch and Prof. dr. Helmut Trischler (directors of the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies, München) and  she is editorial committee member of the scholarly Journal Environment and History (Cambridge). She holds the Chair for Water History at the Free University in Amsterdam.

She is convinced that after decades of growing awareness among ever larger groups, now general consensus exists about the urgency of environmental issues. One feels this most strongly among university students. Their questions are directed towards finding solutions and searching models of behaviour and political decisions in the past that will lead to more sustainable ways of living in the future. Her own research interests are assessing the balance between the natural and human agency in environmental change and studying the vulnerability of societies to natural disasters.  How did humans affect animals and their ecosystems? How did economic activities promote bio-invasions? How did people cope with flooding? How aware were people of potential disasters, what was the human component of such disasters (hence ‘nature induced disasters’ according to climate historian Christian Pfister)?  How did institutions aimed at controling water develop and how did society recover after a disaster? Petra van Dam and her students wrote 10 books and 70 articles on these questions. Her upcoming book is Swimming Rabbits. An Amphibious Society dealing with Environmental Change.

Julia Kantelberg


Julia Kantelberg is Research Master student in Visual Arts, Media and Architecture at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Art, Design and Architecture with a specialisation in design. Her interest goes out to the relationship between design, ethics and environmental issues. She wishes to continue her research in this cross-disciplinary field.

Sjoerd Kluiving









Sjoerd Kluiving currently holds the position of assistant professor at the VU University Amsterdam, as well as associate professor in the School of Natural Sciences, Stirling University, Scotland, working in the fields of geoarchaeology, Quaternary geology and landscape archaeology. Sjoerd earned his BSc and MSc in Physical Geography and Glacial Geology at the University of Amsterdam in 1986 and 1989, and his PhD in Geology at the University of Alabama (US) in 2001, where he specialised in subglacial processes in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. As a geologist and physical geographer, he is involved in applying earth sciences to archaeology in interdisciplinary research and teaching, with an emphasis on the Anthropocene. He also has substantial experience in project management in (field-based) evaluation of archaeological monuments, extensive teaching and research experience, and has acted as an initiator and project manager to involve cultural history in planning processes. Since 2016 Sjoerd teaches the course Environmental Archaeology at AUC.

Sjoerd leads the International Association of Landscape Archaeology (IALA), uniting European geologists, archaeologists and historians. He has vast experience in convening interdisciplinary sessions in soils, landscapes and archaeology at EGU, and is guest editor of five special volumes dedicated to this theme. Sjoerd is co-supervising 4 PhD students in the field of landscape archaeology on the interface of archaeology and the earth sciences. Sjoerd has, besides his teaching position, a research and consulting company in earth sciences and works for government agencies and archaeological companies. Sjoerd has a special interest in interdisciplinary collaboration between nature and culture as well as glacial processes.

Stephanie König









Stephanie is a Research Master student in the Humanities with a specialisation in Literature and Contested Spaces at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She graduated from her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Zurich in English Literature and Linguistics and Film Studies. Throughout her studies she has developed an interest in the relationship between geographies, movement/migration, identity and representation. She wishes to focus her research on the interactions between storytelling and the environment.

Katja Kwastek


Katja Kwastek is professor of modern and contemporary art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on processual, digital and post-digital art, media history, theory and aesthetics, and digital humanities.  Under the notion of ‘slow media art’, she researches artworks which explores the interrelations of human and non-human, technological, cultural and biological timeframes. The concept of slowness has recently been significantly broadened towards a more metaphorical understanding, which does encompass questions of sustainability and a rehabilitation of the local (c.f. the popular notion of ‘slow food’). In 2004, Katja Kwastek curated the first international exhibition and conference project on “Art and Wireless Communication”. She has lectured internationally and published many books and essays, including her most recent “Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art” (MIT Press, 2013).

Ankie Petersen


Ankie Petersen

Ankie is an MA student Heritage Studies and Design Cultures who has a special interest in urban history and sustainable urban development. Currently, she is doing research on new developments in sustainable heritage management in the UNESCO zone of Amsterdam, and works for the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on the Week of the Vacant Building – heritage redevelopment publication that will be published February 2018.

Tim Renders


Tim Renders is a first year Research Master student in Visual Arts, Media and Architecture at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He graduated from his Bachelor Media, Art, Design and Architecture last year and wrote his thesis on artworks that relate to environmental issues and sustainability. He is especially interested in the relationship between art, sustainability and environmental activism and would like to develop more knowledge on these intersections.

Sarah Rodrigues






Sarah Rodrigues is enrolled in the MSc Environment and Resource Management programme at Vrije Universiteit and is a part-time vegan Pastry Chef. She has a FdA in Art & Design from Central Saint Martins in London and a BA in Liberal Arts & Sciences from Amsterdam University College. Her academic interests include art, film, philosophy, anthropology and environmental studies. Currently, her master thesis research is focused on medicinal plant businesses and sustainable rural economic development in Portugal, and will be published as an audio-visual essay on-line. She is interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary career in (artistic) research, environmental consultancy and project management.


Kristine Steenbergh


Kristine Steenbergh is lecturer and researcher in English literature at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the early modern period (1500-1700), the history of emotions, and ecocriticism. She is a board member and webmaster of the Benelux Association for the Study of Art, Culture and the Environment (BASCE), and general editor of the journal Cultural History. Kristine has taught several courses in ecocriticism, focusing on the early modern period  as well as on contemporary novels. She also co-taught a course on the Environmental Humanities in the research master for students of literature and history.

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