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Herta Macht Thesis Prize 2019

In 2019, the Herta Macht Thesis Prize will be awarded for the last time by the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen. The prize, comprising a sum of € 1,000 and a memento, will be awarded in Groningen on 27 June 2019. The Thesis Prize aims to recognize young talent in the Spatial Sciences and to promote the cultural aspects and social relevance of the Spatial Sciences.


Registrations must be received by the Faculty of Spatial Sciences by Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the latest. Please register by completing the registration form on the website.

A Master thesis qualifies if it is no more than two years old and has been awarded a mark of 8 or more.

Upon registration, the following elements must be submitted, completed and in digital (PDF) format:

  • the registration form
  • a letter of recommendation by the Master thesis supervisor, explicitly addressing how the Master thesis meets the Herta Macht prize requirements and assessment criteria
  • a summary of about half an A4 sheet
  • the Master thesis

Your digital copies (PDF) can be e-mailed to:

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences would also like to receive a paper copy of the Master thesis. Please send it to:

University of Groningen
Faculty of Spatial Sciences,
attn. secretariat Cultural and Economic Geography
P.O. Box 800

Previous Herta Macht Thesis Prize winners

2018: The winner of 2018 is Edward Bolton of University of Amsterdam with his thesis: The Constructed Resource; Actor-Network Theory & The Estonian Energy Assemblage.


Responding to calls for a multi-disciplinary perspective on energy geographies, Edward Bolton utilized an Actor-Network Theory framework to examine Estonia’s energy assemblage. He examined Estonia’s continued use of low-efficiency, high carbon fuels to provide economic and energetic functions which are argued by political actors to be essential for continued energy security. Given increasing environmental concerns, his work specifically examined the increasingly precarious position of oil shale as an acceptable fuel source. His analysis took place through a historically contingent, ANT-based assessment of oil shale and its position in Estonia’s wider energy assemblage. He concluded that, to understand the various dynamics, it is necessary to consider the socio-symbolic identification of the ‘constructed resource’. Contrary to political rhetoric, these constructions are led by groups of actors, notably political actors and large energy corporations, for reasons other than the idea of national energy security.

2017: Rik Huizinga of University of Groningen with his thesis: “Place attachment: Syrian male refugee experiences in the Northern Netherlands”. Download the thesis abstract.

2016: The winner of 2016 is Carmen Pérez del Pulgar Frowein of University of Amsterdam with her thesis: Porosity of multilingual spaces. Download the thesis abstract

2015: In 2015, the jury decided that a shared first prize was the most appropriate outcome because of the high quality of the shortlisted contenders. Therefore the 2015 Herta Macht Thesis Prize was shared by:

  • Konstantinos Gourzis (Radboud University Nijmegen) with his thesis: Fashion in Gentrifying Urban Spaces: The case of the Fashion Quarter in Klarendal, Arnhem.
  • Thaddeus Bergé (Radboud University Nijmegen) with his thesis: The Soyazation of Argentina: An Actor Network Analysis of the Soya Production in the Argentine Provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero.

2014: Kolar Aparna (Radboud University) won the prize with her Master thesis: Re-mapping the U.S.-Mexico Border.

2013: Renske van der Wal (University of Groningen) with her Master thesis: Plaatsbetekenis in hospices Een casestudy in de hospice van Groningen.

2012: Jeroen Beekmans (University of Amsterdam) with his Master thesis: Check-In Urbanism. Exploring Gentrification through Foursquare Activity.

2011: Marloes van Houten (University of Amsterdam) with her Master thesis: Nepal’s Civil War and its Impact Conflict Impact, Social Capital and Resilient Institutions in the CPN-Maoist Heartland Communities.

2010: Michiel van den Bergh (University of Amsterdam) with his Master thesis: Destructive Attraction: Blue Birds-of-paradise and local inhabitants; an equilibrium?

2009: Anu Kõu (University of Groningen) with her Master thesis on Estonian migrants to the Netherlands, entitled: Perceived Consequences of Migration on the Social Networks and Adaptation of Long-Term Migrants: Estonians in the Netherlands.

2008: Denise Kroes (Utrecht University) won the prize with a thesis entitled: Community-Based Tourism: a Way out of Poverty?

2007: Vincent Breen (University of Groningen) with his Master thesis: Roadside Monuments: Sites for Reflection.

2006: Marieke van der Sloot (University of Amsterdam) won the very first Thesis Prize in 2006, with a thesis on young Tibetans in India, entitled: I-Eye Tibet: Autovideographies Depicting Ethno-National Identity in the Daily Lives of Young Tibetans in Dharamsala, India.

Last modified:29 January 2019 5.10 p.m.