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About us Faculty of Spatial Sciences Organization Lectures and symposia Herta Macht thesis prize

Background Herta Macht thesis prize

The Herta Macht thesis prize commemorates the grandmother of Faculty of Spatial Sciences staff member, dr. Bettina van Hoven. The prize of 1000 euros and a small sculpture has been awarded to young researchers since 2006.

Van Hoven founded the prize to keep the memory of her grandmother, who she calls a special ordinary person, alive.

Why this prize?

Many prizes are named after famous scientists, people who have devoted their lives and work to producing important knowledge of some sort. But what about those people behind the scenes, those significant people that support famous-scientists-to-be by listening, praising, cooking dinners, providing comfort etc. Those take, in carrying out such activities, play a key role in the becoming of famous scientists. Van Hoven believes that people like her grandmother do exactly that, make grand things possible, simply by being themselves and being there. She assigns great significance to the presence of her grandmother and the place where she lived, and van Hoven spent many hours of her childhood and youth, in her own (career) development. A prize in Herta Macht's name, and a little time every year to devote to the winning young scientists, to grandmothers and others just like her is more than appropriate

The aims of the Herta Macht thesis prize are to further the cultural aspects and societal relevance of research in the spatial sciences.

Who is Herta Macht?

Herta Macht was born in East Prussia in 1918, she was the eldest child in a dual income family. Her father had a higher function in the railway sector and her mother was an entrepreneur, a seamstress. The workplace of her father and the natural environment surrounding this made for many hours of fun and mischief in Herta's youth and childhood, whilst the home with its smells and sounds of sewing, fabrics, clients and her little brother were preferably avoided. Herta's escape was her own grandmother's farm.

In the second world war, Macht fled to Germany where she began to make a living by collecting milk cans from local farmers. In order to settle, she was required to marry and she rationally did what was needed to build her own home and career. Like her own mother, she turned out to have entrepreneurial spirit as she took on running the local store and pub both of which became central meeting points in the village. In addition to rearing two children.

When her husband passed away, the store and pub were sold and Herta ran the local post office and became a key figure in the organisation and maintenance of local activities for older adults: bowling, dancing, card clubs etc. When she was older she finally became (bowling)queen of the village. As a grandmother, she transferred the value of an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a social attitude. She also made her home into a place of love, fun and mischief for her grandchildren.

In April 2003, Herta passed away after years of living with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Last modified:09 May 2016 10.44 a.m.