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About us How to find us dr. B. (Bettina) van Hoven

dr. B. van Hoven

Academic Director of Education University College Groningen, Associate Professor Cultural Geography
dr. B. van Hoven

Birthdate:        30 August 1972

Birthplace:       Bramsche (Germany)

Nationalities:   Dutch/ German

Marital Status: married (2 children: 2005, 2009)


Research Summary 

My research in past years has focused on the experienced dimensions of wellbeing and liveability, predominantly in urban spaces. Much of my research addresses different aspects of and perspectives on ageing. I employ a qualitative methodology and increasingly include participants actively throughout the research. In an effort to find better ways to access the life-worlds of different groups of people, and to connect knowledge production to wider audiences, I recently have begun to work at the intersection of science and arts. 


1999         PhD “Made in the GDR- the changing geographies of women in the post- socialist rural society in Mecklenburg-  Westpommerania”, University of Plymouth, UK

1998         SEDA (Teaching Associate), University of Plymouth, UK

1997         GTA (Teaching Assistant), University of Plymouth, UK

1997         PGDip(Postgraduate Diploma) University of Plymouth, UK (with distinction)

1996         BSc “Impact of management on old growth forest ecosystems of Southeast Vancouver Island”, University of                            Plymouth, UK

1991-1994  Biology, University of Osnabrück, Germany

1992-1994  Biology and Geography for ‘Lehramt Gymnasium’, University of Osnabrück, Germany

                   ‘Sachkunde’ and Arts for ‘Lehramt Grundschule’, University of Osnabrück, Germany


Past research:

I am Associate Professor in Cultural Geography. In a nutshell, I study the role of places in the wellbeing of people, especially marginalized groups. Here I look at the experience of place, feeling at home, the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the physical and social environment of people, and the way people are committed to maintaining and improving their place. My approach is characterized by a participatory, qualitative methodology including walking interviews, collecting visual data and translating outcomes, not only for scientific journals, but also a wider audience. I have a great interest in collaborative work in order to develop case studies across different geographic locations and contexts and in so doing contribute to theory development though analytical generalisation. My research can be described as focussing on three main issues:

-The role of people, place and process in developing place making and place attachment

- The impact of place attachment on wellbeing

- The production of knowledge, i.e. the impact of methodologies on knowledge incl. the relevance of non-human actors.

In the past years, my research has mostly taken place within the University societal themes of Healthy Ageing and Sustainable Society. Examples are the recent PhD projects I co-supervised on youth in rural Estonia (Elen-Maarja Trell, 2013), and on older adults in urban neighbourhoods (Debbie Lager, 2015), on the role of arts in resilience in coastal areas (Gwenda van der Vaart), and on experiences related to (forced and voluntary) migration (Clemens Bernardt, Rik Huizinga, Laura Kapinga). In addition, I have developed a Groningen-based project with various community partners on age-friendly neighbourhoods. In this project older adults are trained as co-researchers.

A research area that crosses the social and natural sciences, and the arts and humanities addresses the role of nature/ animals in the human experience of environments (e.g. the Great Bear Rainforest project, a project on animals in care settings, the AHRC/ NWO funded network on Tidal Cultures’, Angelica Caiza’s PhD project on ‘becoming bat’, and the proposed project on Coastal heritage (H2020) but, in relation to this, see also the International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies conference I organised in 2013, , and the WaddenAcademy’s Sense of Place symposium I co-organised, see

See also 'Projects' (menu on the left) for descriptions and public dissemination activities

Tasks within the Faculty of Spatial Sciences

My tasks at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences encompass research, teaching, management and supervision. In the past years, I have both been coordinator of various courses, and taught at both Bachelor level and Master level, and have taught in the PhD programme (Nethur). For three years, I organised a shared course on Gender, Place and Culture with the University of Amsterdam. Most of my teaching relates to qualitative methodologies (at Bachelor and Master level), research skills (at Research Master level), issues related to my research interests (guest lectures), and project and field work abroad. I have repeatedly given guest lectures at the Universities of Wageningen, Bremen and Plymouth (UK).

See 'Teaching' (menu left) for my teaching mission and recent teaching activities

Faculty Committees and coordination:

In the past years, I have been active in various committees in various roles, such as the Ethics Committee, the Internationalisation committee (Co-chair with Johan Woltjer), Teaching assessment committee Research Master (Chair), Grievances committee, NETHUR Education committee. Between 2008-09 I assisted Paulus Huigen as Research coordinator for the Department Cultural Geography and on the URSI Board.. In 2014-16 I coordinated the Master thesis.The most significant position was as member of the Research master coordination team (with Phil McCann, Louise Meijering, Chris Zuidema) between 2011- 2016. I am currently on the teaching assessment committee for the Master Cultural Geography, and the Library committee.

Past PhD supervision:

2006 Louise Meijering (Title: ‘Making a place of their own’) (Promotor: Prof. Paulus Huigen, University of Groningen)

2013 Elen-Maarja Trell (Title: ‘Rural Realities. Everyday places and practices of young people in rural Estonia’) (Promotor: Prof. Paulus Huigen, University of Groningen)

2015 Debbie Lager (Title: ‘Perspectives on ageing in place. Older adults' experiences of everyday life in urban neighbourhoods’) (Promotor: Prof. Paulus Huigen, University of Groningen)

Current PhD supervision:

Gwenda van der Vaart (Promotor: Prof. Paulus Huigen, University of Groningen), PhD on the role of arts in resilience in coastal areas (estimated completion 2017)

Clemens Bernhardt (Promotor: Prof. Paulus Huigen, University of Groningen), PhD on ‘making place’ in Dutch asylum seeker centres (external/ part-time candidate, estimated completion 2019)

Angelica Caiza (Promotor: Prof. Bettina Bock, University of Groningen, the Netherlands), PhD on Becoming Animal: human/bat/ encounters, practices and conservation (estimated completion 2020)

Rik Huizinga (Promotor: Prof. Helga de Valk, NIDI and University of Groningen, the Netherlands), PhD on place making of Syrian migrants (estimated completion 2021)

Laura Kapinga (Promotor: Prof. Bettina Bock, University of Groningen, the Netherlands), PhD on the role of religion in youth transformation of Muslim youth in Groningen and Newcastle (estimated completion 2020)

External Examination PhD candidates

2004 External examiner PhD Anke Strüver, ‘Stories of the “Boring Border”. The Dutch-German Borderscape in People’s Minds’, University of Nijmegen (Promotor: Prof. Huib Ernste)

2014 External examiner PhD Jelle Brands “Safety, surveillance and policing in the night-time economy: a visitor perspective” , University of Utrecht (Promotor: Prof. Martin Dijst)

Awards and Grant activity

2016 Fellowship Innovation in Teaching, University of Groningen (3,600 euros)

2013 funding for Emotional Geographies Conference (41,000 euros)

2013 Waddenacademy funding for 'Between the tides' activity (1,000 euros)

2013 Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO stimulation grant for Open Access (1,000 euros)

2012 Waddenacademy funding for production of an Art Atlas of the Wadden Sea area (4,000 euros)

2012 “Between the Tides”. Comparative arts and humanities approaches to living with(in) intertidal landscapes in UK & the Netherlands. Learning from those who live and work with complexity, change and fragility. Co-Investigator, with Principal investigator: Dr. Owain Jones (University of Gloucestershire). Funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (UK) (34,380 euros)

2010 Research group guest RGS-IBG 2007 International Council for Canadian Studies, Europe-Canada Award, theme: youth and belonging (12,000 Canadian dollars)

2006 Small Research Funds (Department of Cultural Geography, University of Groningen), Faculty of Spatial Sciences and Canadian Studies Centre: International workshop ‘Geography and liminality’ (8,000 euros )

2006 Stichting Groninger Universiteitsfonds- Gratama Stichting: ‘A forest for the future’ (20,200 euros)

2006 Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research: visitor grant sponsoring collaboration with Prof. David Sibley (University of Leeds) (1,815 euros)

2006 Geographical Perspectives on Women (GPOW) book award for edited collection ‘Geographies of Masculinities’ (Routledge)

2005 Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research/ EEVA/ NETHUR/ URSI/ Pedok (with Ine Gremmen): ATHENA workshop ‘Gender, Diversity and Urban Space’ (7,000 euros)

2004 Urban and Regional Studies Institute Groningen: ‘Gender Space and Culture’, international workshop (4,000 euros)

2004 European Science Foundation: Exploratory workshop ‘Living transformations in EastCentral Europe and Russia’ (14,000 euros)

2003 Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research VENI ‘Imprisoned Geographies- Contested Places of Long-term confinement’ (project duration 2003-2007) (200,000 euros)

2002 RGS-IBG Postsocialist Geographies Research Group: Young Research Worker’s Award

2001 Runner Up (journal) Area Prize

2000 Small Research Funds (Department of Cultural Geography, University of Groningen): project ‘Gender and Work in Hollywood’

1997 Dudley Stamp Memorial Small Research Grant

1996 PhD- Scholarship (-1999) from the University of Plymouth, UK 1994 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship

Other academic activities

Participation in (research) networks

Tidal Cultures (University of Groningen, University of BathSpa, University of Exeter, University of the West of England, the University of Cardiff, University of Hamburg)

Wellbeing and Ageing research network, Faculty of Spatial Sciences,

RUG Coastal Resilience Network, Faculty of Spatial Sciences,

RUG Sustainably Society- Migration Matters,

RUG Canadian Studies Netherlands

Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (via Zorginnovatie Forum)

As a result of network participation, I have been co-organiser of a few summer schools. In collaboration with the Centre for Canadian Studies, I co-organised a summer school in 2015, and in collaboration with Sustainable Society, I co-organised the Migration Matters summer school in 2016.

International activities

I regularly present or (co-)organise sessions at international conferences. I also welcome international guests regularly. As a result of the Tidal Cultures network, there are regular exchanges with colleagues in the UK and Germany. In addition, I have maintained active connections with various colleagues in British Columbia/ Canada at Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia at Vancouver and Kelowna, Vancouver Island University and University of Victoria in Canada (as member of the Board of the Canadian Studies Centre but also as a result of fieldwork activities).

International Visiting Fellowships

2007 Visiting Scholar, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, Canada (9 months) and Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Human Rights, Diversity and Identity, University of British Columbia at Okanagan, Canada

1998 Visiting Scholar ‘Women Studies’ Northeastern University, Boston, USA (6 months)

Reviewer activities for (inter)national (funding) organisations:

2014- 2017: committee member of NWO VIDI funding scheme

2015: reviewer ORA scheme

2012: reviewer for Pegasus Long grant scheme (Research Organisation Flanders, FWO)

2011: member of NWO committee 3rd round Open Competition

2010 (MaGW) selection 2

010: member of NWO committee 3rd round Open Competition (MaGW) preselection

2009: consultant on translation of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis programme NVivo 7 to German

2007: member of NWO committee 3rd round Open Competition proposals MaGW

Conference and workshop organisation

2017 International workshop on (Interdisciplinary) Science, Arts, Technology and Society at the University College Groningen (May)

2016 Co-organiser Summer School ‘Migration Matters’ (Sustainable Society)

2016 Co-organiser Ouderenfestival Groningen (Groninger Forum)

2016 Hoven, B. Van and Lager, D.R. session organisers ‘Zorgzame buurten en wijken: de leefwereld centraal’ sessions 1-3 at the Building the Future of Health conference, Groningen

2015 Lager, D.R. and Hoven, B. Van Session organised: ‘Affective dimensions of ageing: solidarity and interdependence’. Fifth International and Interdisciplinary Conference of Emotional Geographies, Edinburgh

2015 Co-organiser Summer School ‘Perspectives on Cultural Pluralism’. Centre for Canadian Studies. University of Groningen

2014 Buda, D., van Hoven, B., & Hoskins, G. Co-creating & Co-performing Tourism of Affects, Emotions, Feelings and Senses: session 1 and 2. Annual International Conference Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers

2014 Lager, D., Negrini, C., van Hoven, B., & Schwanen, T. Urban and Suburban Geographies of Ageing: session 1 and 2. Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers, London, United Kingdom.

2013 Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies Conference

2012 International, multidisciplinary workshop on Ageing and Wellbeing (hosted by the 'Ageing and Wellbeing' research network at the FRW)

2009 7th Feminist European Research Conference, organization theme ‘Social Economic Europe’

2007 Session ‘The production of penal spaces‘, Annual Meeting of the American Associations of Geographers (with David Sibley, Leeds, and Matt Mitchelson, University of Georgia)

2006 International workshop ‘Geography and liminality’, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, RUG, NL

2005 ATHENA international workshop ‘Gender, Diversity and Urban Space’, RUG, NL (with Ine Gremmen, Groningen)

2004 ESF funded exploratory workshop ‘Living transformations in East-Central Europe and Russia’ in Groningen, NL 2004 Session ‘Geographies of “closed” spaces’, Annual Meeting of the RGS-IBG, London, UK

2003 International workshop ‘Gender, Space and Culture’, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, RUG, NL

Editorial Boards

Current: Emotion, Space and Society Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography

Past: Antipode; ACME. An international E-journal for Critical Geographies; Emotion, Space and Society (book review editor); European Spatial Research and Policy (book review editor); Gender, Place and Culture International Handbooks in Human Geography (Springer Verlag); Geografie; Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie

Professional Boards

Current: Centre for Canadian Studies, University of Groningen

Past: Association for Canadian Studies Netherlands

Occasional reviewer

peer-reviewed, international journals:

ACME. An international E-journal for Critical Geographies; Antipode; Area; European Urban and Regional Studies; Gender, Place and Culture; Geoforum; Journal of Rural Studies; Professional Geographer; Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie; Journal of Geography in Higher Education; Signs; Urban Studies; Social and Cultural Geographies; Emotional, Space and Society; Health and Place; Progress in Human Geography; Population and Space

Valorization activities:

The section above on research projects lists a number of public dissemination activities related to the respective projects. In addition, I have been very active in Sustainable Society events related to my research and in various exchanges on Ageing and wellbeing involving the Zorginnovatie Forum, Art Academy Minerva, the Hanze University, WIJS, care providers and the municipality. I have been invited regularly as expert in discussions related to healthy neighbourhoods, diversity, housing and mobility, but also in relation to creative and participatory research methodologies.

Last modified:09 November 2017 09.53 a.m.

Contact information

Hoendiepskade 23-24
The Netherlands


Location Zernike, Building 5417, Room 209

University College Groningen