About me

In a nutshell…

I am not a desk jockey, am jargon-averse and have three modes of reasoning: scholarly / theoretical / pensive (thinker) + practical / (pro)active / energetic (doer) + tired / private (“off“).

I am not into consumerism and status symbols. I am a feminist. I like organising and running all sorts of things and also enjoy entertaining people in various ways (which can be on a very small scale, just to get people to smile and/or push them out of a bad funk). I tend to function as a catalyst; that seems to be my inescapable role in life.

Below are a few selected bits and pieces (with links) about me.

    • Author
Amsterdam American Business Club
    • Member April 2003 – end 2008
    • 2020: Various NAM/APHA webinars that count as CE, including topics like health disparities
    • 2020: Various webinars (STAT, Digital Digest, My Life My Say etc) about topics such as also the food situation in the UK
Geochemical Society (US-based)
    • Newsletter editor Dec 1998 – Feb 2010
Law (English): HarvardX Law School (EDX), pro se/LIP (UK) etc
    • From Trust to Promise to Contract 2015
NIMF Foundation (Network for women in science and technology)
  • Board member and member of many committees; co-organizer of two symposia and panel member for a later symposium 1988 -2004:
Royal Netherlands Chemical Society
    • Board member Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section Mar 2001 – Sep 2004
Taking the Lead
    • Advanced Learners Course 2010-2011 (Take Part)
    • Member Portsmouth Environmental Forum Mar 2009 – Aug 2010 (dismantled)
Toastmasters International
    • Member Toastmasters of The Hague Apr 2003 – Jul 2004
    • Bioethics – the ethics of everyday life (also available on Thinkific)
VU University Amsterdam
  • Entry qualification: Atheneum-B with great distinction (Coriovallum College, 1978)
  • MSc with distinction (earth science, 1993)
  • Additional diploma for research in chemical oceanography (1993)
  • Combined with two evening courses at the Netherlands School for Journalism (1993)
  • Followed by four years of PhD research (marine biogeochemistry) for universities in the US (USF) and the UK (Plymouth/Southampton)
  • Self-employed since October 1997 combined with various courses and workshops
Various other organisations besides KNCV (#12421) such as Dutch KNGMG, American Society for Microbiology (#55207518), GAIA, women on the web (Nl) and American Geophysical Union
    • Former member for 10 to 20 years; I eventually let go of my science-related memberships after I moved to the UK

Before I went into science – and briefly overlapping – I worked in tourism and hospitality in Amsterdam. I also lived in the city of Leiden for a while, where I studied “German language and literature” for one semester. I was an ace at languages but my heart was with the sciences.

Doing fieldwork in Sweden (while based in Amsterdam). The year was 1989, I think. I lost that coffee thermos at the end of 2010.

In Sweden, doing geological fieldwork (same day as the previous photo).


One of my fieldwork areas in Spain (1980s).

Equipment I worked with





My flamenco shoes (I danced briefly before I moved to the US, at Wladimir Dance Studios in Amsterdam, with flamenco dancer and dance instructor Inés Arrubla: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8BYGbIHHTk)

Me emigrating to the US on 2 January 1994. Location: Schiphol.

Me emigrating to the US – with two cats – on 2 January 1994, my siblings and a bunch of my friends sending me off.

Me emigrating to Florida on 2 January 1994, when I was 33.

That’s the photo taken for my university ID in Florida in 1994. I was 33 and having the time of my life.

Beach cleanup in Florida with the marine science department (1995).

I convened an AGU conference session in Boston in 1998 and met up with a friend after the conference. Before the conference, I stopped by at WHOI. I was based in Amsterdam then and had become self-employed.

Plymouth, right after I gave my talk at PICO-III (after I had first interviewed Keith O’Nions in Oxford for The Geochemical News).

MC Nieuws editorial team meeting at WUR in 2003 (me on the right).

Photo taken during a post-doc course (chemical speciation) at WUR (SENSE Research School), September 2002.

Me taking photos of myself in a mirror at 6 or 7 am after having “worked” all night as an extra for the film “SuperTex” (with Stephen Mangan and Maureen Lipman).

(I was an extra for TV, film etc for a short while, in Amsterdam.) I gave this rarely worn dark-green ballgown to a charity shop in Portsmouth a few years ago. (A pity, in a way, as I’d had it adjusted to fit me.)

This is me (on the left), at our annual Environmental Chemistry symposium shortly before I relocated to the UK.

Boat trip near Arnhem with Arcadis Elements team in 2003 or 2004 (me on the left, holding a glass of wine).

Me at a rehearsal in Bristol in 2009. I looked much better than I sounded that day, partly owing to a turquoise fiber deftly stuck onto the pad of my A that day. (It made all the notes below that A play off too of course; the sequence of the main notes from top to bottom is BAGFEDC.)

That’s me on the left, as a former homeless woman in Portsmouth in early 2011, receiving the “Taking the Lead” course certificate from the mayor. My (almost exclusively foreign) income had tanked after I moved from Southampton to Portsmouth and so I lost my home during the course. I was 50 then.

All over the world, people were losing their homes at the time because of the subprime mortgage crisis in banking. I, however, became the target of, well, let’s call it extensive bullying of all kinds. Often sadistic. Not exactly a laughing matter.

(I was also attacked in England once, earlier, within a bullying context. See this post.)

It didn’t stop after I lost my home, it got worse. I have no good idea of what drives English people to do such things to random strangers other than that it seems to have a lot to do with inequality and appearances (perceived – i.e. sometimes merely imagined – weaknesses).

Local leaders – not that particular mayor, I hasten to add – have indicated that what I am dealing with are local cultural issues that I will just have to get used to. Really?

It included increasingly vicious sadism (including animal torture), has gone on for over twelve years and it still goes on. It’s vicious and vile and nasty and has done a tremendous amount of damage of all kinds.

If that is truly what Portsmouth is truly like then, well… then. But this viciousness seems to be part of the English cultural makeup. The English do unspeakable things to each other and to others, things that should get them a prison sentence of one or two decades. But everyone shrugs about it unless it somehow goes viral on social media and the consensus swings against it.  It’s not a local thing – even though the locals may think that it is and that it means that they’re superheroes or something.

This image exemplifies much of life in England, where I’ve been since the end of 2004. Bullying, hacking etc of random strangers is completely accepted, misogyny is rampant, the law is often seen as something that only fools abide by, child sex abuse is quite common too and many people here consider cruelty cool, the government often setting the tone. Where does that come from? And is it really all as black and white as it seems? I wanted to know and explored it in one of the books I wrote.