The first sixteen students from the River Delta Development Master’s degree started last week at VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) in Velp. They kicked off their semester in Velp with a series of excursions in the area where they will be immersed in the river system.
Because the River Delta Development Master’s programme is a collaboration between HZ University of Applied Sciences in Middelburg, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and VHL in Velp, students will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of three different parts of the delta. After having studied in the coastal area of Zeeland over the last six months, the students are now settling into life at VHL. They will explore their new research region this week, which is also their new living environment. They will visit the Veluwe stream valleys and the Rhine at its various forks, explore the IJssel around Zutphen and learn about fish migration in the northern provinces. All these places are accompanied by stories from citizens, companies, knowledge institutions and governments, with whom the students will enter into dialogue as future 'facilitators of change'.
The Master’s students will then set to work in a Living Lab. Some will head to Romania to further develop eco-tourism in the Danube Delta, while others will work on carbon credits (alternatives for farmers in peatlands), do research on dike dwellers (animals that see our dikes as an ideal habitat) or investigate the navigability of the IJssel during droughts. One day a week, students will be taught about the river system by VHL professors, researchers and guest speakers, and time will be set aside for coaching.
This semester is followed by the final part of the Master's programme with half a year of study in Rotterdam, where students immerse themselves in the issues faced by this urban delta environment.