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Celebrating the Award Winners at the ISTR Conference

Several awards were presented at ISTR’s 13th International Conference at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam back in July and we would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the award winners.

Emerging Scholar Dissertation Award

This award, established in 2006 by an anonymous donor, is given once every two years at the biennial ISTR conference to the author of the best dissertation in the field of comparative study of civil society organizations, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and voluntarism and related issues.  The purpose of the award is to encourage young scholars to enter the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies throughout the world.  The winner this year was chosen from among 60 other entries from 28 countries. The overall quality of the entries, the diversity of the topics approached, the scope of areas addressed, as well as the spectrum of research methods utilized, left a very positive impression with the members of this year’s Selection Committee.

This year’s winner is Andrew Heiss, Brigham Young University, for his PhD thesis Amicable Contempt: The Strategic Balance between Dictators and International NGOs.

andrew-heiss-2016Examining the activities and adaption of international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs) in the context of increasing global restrictions on civic space, Andrew’s dissertation addresses the paradox that while INGOs’ service and advocacy activities can threaten the legitimacy and power of authoritarian regimes, numerous autocratic states still allow the work of INGOs; similarly, despite limitations and restrictions on their own activities, numerous INGOs continue to operate in these countries. Thus, the idea put forward and explored throughout the dissertation is that the relationship between INGOs and autocratic regimes is a state of amicable contempt: each party is aware that the other both threatens and supports their existence.

Focusing on the timeframe of 1991 to 2014, and on the three cases of Egypt, Russia and China, the dissertation addresses questions about: Why do regimes allow INGOs to work in their country? What influences INGO decision making in restrictive environments? How do regimes reap the benefits of INGOs programming? How do INGOs adapt to restrictions? A creative, detailed and thorough examination of an increasingly important international issue, the dissertation thereby provides a strong theoretical basis for examining INGO-dictator relationships. Additionally, it offers a diversity of practical findings that can be used by local and international NGOs to manage risk and to improve their likelihood of survival and impact of their work.

The Selection Committee also acknowledges the merit and achievements of the two other finalists.

Nora Derbal, Freie Universität Berlin, Charity for the Poor in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1961–2015.

Sara Compion, University of Kentucky, Volunteering And Democratization In Southern Africa: A Structural And Cultural Analysis.

Best Articles in Voluntas 2016 & 2017

 These articles will be open access and available to the public for August and September.  Patricia Mendonca, University of Sao Paulo and chair of the awards committee, presented awards to:

  • Abdulrazak Karriem, University of Western Cape Town, South Africa and Lehn M. Benjamin, Indiana University, United States, for their article, “How Civil Society Organizations Foster Insurgent Citizenship: Lessons from the Brazilian Landless Movement,” February 2016, Volume 27, Issue I, pp 19-36.
  • Jasmin Slootjes, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Thomas Kampen, University for Humanistic Studies, The Netherlands for their article, “Is My Volunteer Job Not Real Work? The Experiences of Migrant Women with Finding Employment Through Volunteer Work,” October 2017, Volume 28, Isuue 5, pp 1900–1921.

Best Poster

Stefan Toepler, George Mason University, and Publications Committee Chair presented the award to Andre-Anne Parent; Stéphanie Tourillon-Gingras; and Christian Jetté, Université de Montréal for their poster The Entre-Maisons Ahuntsic – A Collaborative Project at the Hearth of Low-rent Housing Units. Click here to see the award-winning poster!

best poster “It is the task of the publications committee to select and confer the best poster presentation award.  Doing so is a very delightful task; our only regret is that we cannot offer any publications opportunities along with the award.  That said, in selecting our awardee, we look for both intellectual and visual appeal of the poster. Intellectually, we look for clearly presented statements of the research question and approach that also convince through concision. Visually, we like posters that utilize different design elements without being distracting and that easily guide the eye along … bonus points go to posters that manage to do so without overtaxing the eyes of the grey-haired crowd and do not force us to open the magnification app on our iPhones.  There were many highly fascinating posters, but this one had the best overall package.”

PhD 3 Minute Thesis

3 minute thesisRuth Phillips, University of Sydney in Australia and President-Elect of ISTR, presented the award for the PhD 3 Minute Thesis to Fanny Dethier for her presentation titled Seeing Through NPOs. A new innovation for ISTR, this experimental competition offered a light-hearted way for students in the ISTR PhD Seminar to practice the art of distilling their ideas down to the core questions and concerns in 3 minutes and 1 PowerPoint slide.  Ten students all gave very good presentations during the seminar and the experience was fun for the audience.  A prize was awarded to the person who made the case for their research in the most clear and compelling manner, and the winner made her presentation to the entire plenary. You can view a video of her presentation (at the end of the opening plenary) by clicking here.

But besides the fun, the 3-minute thesis teaches important lessons – research should be designed to be useful, and in order to be useful (and in order to funded!) the users need to understand it and believe in it.  Sometimes 3-minutes are all we have to get the attention of our audience.

It is ISTR’s hope that this competition provided an opportunity to make the wider conference attendees more aware of the PhD seminar, and hopefully inspired the students to feel more connected to the larger group of scholars and begin to see it as their research home into the future.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

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Three highlights of the ISTR PhD Seminar 2018: Or why participation is highly recommended

Guest post by Franz Koranyi who is writing a PhD on ‘philanthropic engagement in community-based networks in the field of education’ at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Do you know that feeling of anticipation preceding an important presentation or event? You anticipate your own excitement, helpful feedback of others, interesting encounters and wonder how you will experience the ambiance of the event. Preparing for the fourth ISTR PhD Seminar from 8th to 10th July on the train to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I had this exact feeling. Like Mieke Berghmans I expected to have the (rare) opportunity to talk, discuss, and work with other early career researchers who are all interested in the same field, concerned with phenomena such as the third sector, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. This promised the chance to discuss my PhD in a different way than I present it to my peers in educational science.

From the moment I arrived at the hotel, the feeling of excitement became a feeling of joy. We had all been booked in the same hotel which meant that we met right before the start of the seminar. Having been given the opportunity to share a room, I first met my roommate from Jamaica. This was a perfect match since he not only is a very empathetic person and great roommate, but also works on the engagement of foundations. So, we were on the same page from the very beginning. Arriving at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, we experienced a very welcoming atmosphere that instantly made us feel comfortable. After hearty welcoming words by the organizers Pelle Åberg (Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College) and René Bekkers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and an interesting keynote speech by Taco Brandsen (Radboud University), we were ready to go for very valuable two seminar days. In the following I am going to sketch three aspects that in my opinion significantly shaped that experience:

Group sessions: a key element of the PhD Seminar were the group sessions of about six mini-plenaryor seven students and two faculty members. Every student had 45 minutes that were approximately divided into 15 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of discussion. As stated by Mieke Berghmans this turned ‘normal’ presentations at conferences upside down, thereby providing more space for discussion of ideas, concepts, and most importantly challenges that you face at the moment. What I found to be most special in comparison to other workshops was that presentations went completely without slides. Instead, prepared with the abstracts of each participant, we sat together speaking to and discussing with each other. This implied for the presenter to come straight to the point; otherwise you risked that your audience would lose your line of thought. Still, in cases of confusion participants could easily make additional clarifications. The group sessions had a very positive atmosphere as described for the years before by Christiane Rudmann, and we received valuable feedback by students and faculty members alike.

PhD1Community: another important element of the PhD Seminar was the interaction outside of group sessions. There were tons of opportunities to enter into conversations with each another: We mingled in breaks (with delicious catering), enjoyed a lovely BBQ together, drank a glass of wine at the reception, or danced at the PhD party (to the music played by René Bekkers and band). This allowed us to meet fascinating people from all over the world in a more informal setting (more than 50 students from over 20 countries). At the same time, the range of interests was overwhelming, ranging from measuring the third sector in Malaysia for the first time, seeking civil society and the public sphere in social media, to research on volunteering by vulnerable groups. All the interaction gave us the opportunity to connect with each other and exchange not only knowledge, ideas, and daily challenges in the PhD life, but also talk about matters apart from our academic identity.

Professional development: the PhD seminar as well as additional workshops during the conference provided the opportunity for us to also think about our future careers. During the seminar we were offered three workshops on scholarly identity, the tenure track, and getting published that were chaired by a faculty member. These were open formats, in which information on the subject was mixed with personal experiences and stimulated by additional participant inputs as well as questions. For example, scholars in third sector research often face the challenge that they need to specialize in another discipline since (at least in Europe) schools in nonprofit / third sector studies are rare. Thus, we discussed what strategies are suited to cope with this challenge. Furthermore, during the subsequent ISTR conference, there were more workshops on professional development such as ‘post-doc opportunities’, ‘teaching and learning’, ‘non-academic job market’, ‘navigating job-market and career strategies’ and ‘academic job interviews’. These workshops provided food for thought and offered opportunities for further exchange on our future plans.

These are only three aspects of the PhD Seminar, however, there was even more to experience (e.g., a 3 Minute Thesis Competition as described by Steph Haywood) that would not fit into the space of this post. Thus, I highly recommend applying for the next ISTR PhD Seminar in 2020 – because of both the excited feeling before meeting your fellow PhD colleagues and the joyful, interesting, and valuable experience during the seminar sessions, social exchanges, professional development workshops and many more. A big thank you to the team at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the ISTR, the faculty members and all the fellow PhD students for making this experience possible. I am looking forward to seeing you at another seminar or conference.

 

 

Ten things you didn’t know about private philanthropy for development

The following is an overview of a special roundtable ISTR is hosting at this year’s conference. 

Philanthropy’s role in advancing sustainable development attracts a lot of attention. However, very few figures are available to date on the volumes and sectors of philanthropic flows supporting development. To address this lack of reliable and comparable data, the OECD produced the report on Private Philanthropy for Development. The report calls into question long-held assumptions about the volume, nature and potential of foundations’ engagement in developing countries, and the role they can play to support the SDGs.

philanthropy for development

The report examines philanthropic resource flows for development purposes, as well as foundations’ priorities, practices and partnering behaviors. It presents fresh perspectives and action-oriented recommendations to optimize philanthropy’s role in support of sustainable development.

This report offers practical insights for government policy makers and decision makers in civil society organisations, social enterprises and foundations. It results from close co-operation between the OECD Development Centre’s Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) and the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate.

The ISTR Conference will host a round table introducing and presenting the 2018 OECD Report on Private Philanthropy for Development. Lorenzo Pavone, Head (Acting), Partnerships and Network Unit, OECD Development Centre, will present the report’s ground-breaking data and fresh perspectives on how to optimise philanthropy’s role in support of sustainable development.

Following this, the panel will discuss the report’s findings and its implications.  Panel participants include:

 

Ten things you didn’t know about private philanthropy for development

12 July, 10:30am to 12:00pm

ISTR Conference, VU University Amsterdam, Room, 2A-33

Directions to the Conference Venue

Here is some helpful information for those of you traveling to Amsterdam for the ISTR Conference.  You can also download a print version of these instructions, or get it off the ISTR Conference mobile app.

CONFERENCE VENUE
The conference will be held at VU University Amsterdam, which is located at the South of Amsterdam. The Campus is easily accessible from the center of Amsterdam by various numbers of public transport (metro/tram).

Address: Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam

Transit stop: De Boelelaan/VU

Here is a photo of the main building where the conference will be held and a map showing it’s location on campus.  It’s the tallest building on campus so you can’t miss it.

From Schiphol Airport to VU

  • Take the train to Station Amsterdam Zuid
  • Express tram 51 (1 minute), direction Amstelveen Westwijk
  • Tram 5 (1 minute), direction Amstelveen Binnenhof
  • It is a 10-minute walk to the VU from Station Amsterdam Zuid. From the Amsterdam South Train station, take exit ‘VU / Parnassusweg’ and follow the signs à From there it is a 600 meter walk to the main entrance of VU Amsterdam. After descending the stairs, go left and walk straight. You will see the tall concrete building just in front of you.     

From Central Station to VU

  • Metro tram 51, direction Amstelveen Westwijk (16 minutes), stop at: De Boelelaan/VU
  • Tram 5, direction Amstelveen Binnenhof (25 minutes), stop at: De Boelelaan/VU
  • Tram 16 or 24, direction VUmc, final stop

Tram, bus, metro tickets

The GVB day or multi-day ticket provides you with unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam, both day and night, on the bus, tram, and metro, for the number of days that best fits your plans.

1 hour                                 € 3.00

1 day (24 hours)               € 7,50

2 days (48 hours)             € 12,50

3 days (72 hours)             € 17,50

4 days (96 hours)             € 22,50

5 days (120 hours)           € 27,50

6 days (144 hours)           € 31.50

7 days (168 hours)           € 34,50

Buy those tickets at the airport Schiphol (AKO), Holland Tourist Information, yellow ticket vending machines, and GVB Tickets & Info desks at major metro stations.

You can also buy the tickets in advance online: GVB day ticket or multi day ticket

Bringing your kids? A children’s day ticket is also available for a heavily reduced fare. This ticket is for children 4 through 11 years. The child ticket can only be purchased via GVB Tickets & Infowww.ovshop.nl, and our Service points

By Car to VU

The A-10 Amsterdam ring road can be reached from all directions.  Follow the A-10 to the Zuid/Amstelveen exit S108.  Turn left at the end of the slip road onto Amstelveenseweg; after three hundred yards (at the VU University hospital building) turn left again onto De Boelelaan.  VU University Amsterdam can be reached via city routes S108 and S109.

Parking 

There is a limited amount of parking space around VU University Amsterdam in De Boelelaan, which has parking bays, and also in Karel Lotsylaan.  There is paid parking on VU Amsterdam parking lot to the right of the Hospital Outpatient Clinic.

Schiphol Airport to Downtown Amsterdam

Please note that if you are traveling from the airport to the conference venue directly, you should refer to the instructions above.

Amsterdam Airport Express

airport express logo

Need a quick connection between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the city centre of Amsterdam? Take the Amsterdam Airport Express (bus 397)! Please note: this used to be bus 197.

The Amsterdam Airport Express provides a quick and easy transfer from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city centre of Amsterdam. Departing every 7,5 minutes from bus platforms B15-19, this bus takes you directly to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum or Leidseplein. From there on you can get to many hotels in Amsterdam very easily.

Buy your e-ticket now!

·         (single e-ticket)

·         (return e-ticket)

You can also buy this ticket at the Info & Ticket bus or directly from the bus driver.

Helpful Links:

Timetable bus N97 (Niteliner) Schiphol Airport – Amsterdam Centre

 

How to Run a Conference Panel That Isn’t Horrible

Several ISTR members and friends of ISTR have sent us copies of this blog by Adam Grant.  We thought it resonated and wanted to share it with all of you.  The text of his blog is below.

How to Run a Conference Panel That Isn’t Horrible

Published on 

Whenever I go to a conference, the thing I dread most is panels.A typical panel is a show about nothing. Sure, it worked on Seinfeld—but they had comedic geniuses obsessing over the perfect script and a whole cast of skilled actors and producers making it sing. (Though panels do have some recurring characters: I’m sure you’ve met The Rambler, The Spotlight Hog, and The Mansplainer.)

Panels aren’t going away any time soon. Since I end up sitting on them and moderating them on a regular basis, I decided to see if I could fix them.

And by fix them, I mean run a panel that doesn’t ruin your day. Here are my guidelines:

CHOOSING THE CAST

1. Keep it small. In my experience, the best panels have a moderator and no more than two or three guests. Just like in teams, less is more. Larger panels create more communication and coordination difficulties. It’s impossible to find a rhythm with six people on stage. People just sit there waiting to make their point.

2. Invite people who complement each other. I’ve suffered through panels that flop because the participants have nothing in common and because they have totally redundant perspectives. You need a mix of similarities and differences. In psychology it’s called optimal distinctiveness. Every panelist should fit into a common topic but stand out based on having unique insights or experiences.

3. Design for relationships between the panelists. A group of strangers sitting on stage together is a recipe for disaster. A great panel feels like being a fly on the wall for an actual conversation between friends or sparring partners.

Don’t just think about the qualities that you want in individual panelists or moderators; invite people who actually know each other. They’re used to having conversations together, they’re familiar with each other’s views, and they’re more likely to be comfortable debating and disagreeing respectfully.

If they haven’t connected before, have them spend some time getting to know each other. Even a quick email exchange followed by five minutes face-to-face backstage can help build rapport and give time to compare notes on what to cover (and avoid).

SETTING THE STAGE

4. Encourage the panelists to talk to each other. A rookie mistake is when panelists are all having individual conversations with the moderator. That’s just a bunch of one-on-one interviews slapped together—you would never do that in a meeting or at a party.

Maryellen Reilly introduced me to a creative way of nudging authentic discussion: invite each participant to ask a question of one other panelist. Along with catapulting them into a natural back-and-forth, it’s fascinating to see what they most want to learn from one another.

5. Ask them to keep their comments short. The most compelling responses are usually no more than 60 seconds. That’s where you start pushing the limits of conversational attention span and violating the natural flow of back-and-forth. Go longer and you’re just doing sequential monologues. Short answers open the door for burstiness, where it sounds like the panel is literally bursting with ideas. The energy picks up, people veer off script and actually build on one another, and there’s more room for unexpected wisdom and spontaneous humor.

6. Don’t let every panelist answer every question. That immediately devolves into mind-numbing turn-taking. No one has something interesting or informative to say on all the topics.

7. Tell them you might interrupt them. The moderator’s job is to guide the conversation to make it worthwhile for the audience. So if panelists start rambling, you need to jump in with a comment, a fresh question, or a redirect. At first I struggled to do that—I was afraid of being disagreeable. But I found that when I told panelists in advance that I might interrupt them, the awkwardness melted away. It’s not rude to interrupt them once you have their permission.

PREPARING THE SCRIPT

8. Start by asking for a story. Panels fall flat when participants never get to share their knowledge—and the audience has no context for why they’re there. Sometimes moderators try to solve that by reading lengthy bios for each panelist, which is a huge waste of time. Just introduce them with a few highlights that explain why they’re on stage, and invite them each to tell a story on the topic.

As you can hear in a #MeToo panel that I moderated at WorkHuman this spring with Ashley Judd, Ronan Farrow, and Tarana Burke, people come alive when they tell stories. I know that as a panelist, I’m much more entertaining when I tell a story about learning to love criticism or being told I type too loud. And then there are some natural follow-up questions to ask.

9. Pose questions that make the audience—and the panelists—think. The richest questions often start with why (to get at motivation/purpose) and how (to get at strategy/tactics). It can also help to surface tension, which doesn’t have to be with other panelists; you can prompt them to challenge conventional wisdom or their own past experiences.

Two of my favorite questions are “What’s the worst career advice you’ve gotten?” and “What’s something you believed early in your career that you now think is wrong?” Sometimes it helps to give them the questions in advance, both for peace of mind and for reflection time.

Another trick is to have the audience ask their questions at the beginning of the panel instead of the end. As Kumar Garg points out, it helps the panelists get more specific and more practical.

10. Run a lightning round. Come ready with a few questions that panelists can answer in a word or a sentence. Other than an opening story, that’s the only time you want everyone to chime in: it’s a great way to get diverse ideas on the table swiftly and represent everyone’s voice. It can be a fun appetizer early on if there’s a burning question where you want to surface a range of views, a nice interjection to keep the conversation moving if it’s dragging in the middle, or a strong closing if you want to wrap up with a light, memorable Q&A.

It’s always reassuring to hear successful people open up about their vices. What was your worst idea ever? What task do you procrastinate on? When do you feel the most self-doubt?

***

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, a #1 New York Timesbestselling author, and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife. He shares insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED.

An insider’s guide to visiting Amsterdam

Guest post by Claire van Teunenbroek, 4th year PhD student at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU University.

There are more than enough museums in Amsterdam. In order to make a selection I asked several real ‘Amsterdamers’ about the ‘must see’ places in Amsterdam.

The history of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city like no other. It started as a little fishing village (named Amstelledamme) in the 13th century and since then the city has always been driven by trade. Fun fact: the early progress of Amsterdam in the 14th century is partially due though exclusive trading rights to beer imports from Hamburg. During the 14th  and 15th centuries, Amsterdam underwent a rapid development. This time was called the Golden Age. Unfortunately only a handful of medieval buildings survive today: among them are the Old and New Churches (see below) and the Houten Huis (Wooden House) at the Begijnhof.

By the 17th century Amsterdam turned into the richest city on earth by trading in beer, wheat, guns, tobacco and diamonds. While Dutch ships sailed all over the world, artists such as Rembrandt led a cultural renaissance in the city. Some of the oldest buildings date back to the Golden Age, such as the town hall at the Dam Square (now Royal Palace). In addition, the Amsterdam residents were and still are a diverse group resulting in part from the high rates of immigration from those fleeing persecution in their homelands (especially in the 16th and 17th century).

From 14 may 1940 to 5 May 1945, Amsterdam was occupied by Nazi Germany. More than 100,000 were deported, among them Anne Frank (you can visit the Anne Frank house where the girl and her family hid from the Nazis for more than two years, but note that the Anne Frank house is almost always fully booked during the summer times so try to get your tickets in advance). Now a days, the city is again home to many different nationalities. Just go for a walk in the Amsterdam forest or ‘een rondje Bosbaan’ and see for yourself.

Places to visit

Amsterdam has several interesting places to visit but ISTR Conference participants will have limited time to be tourists.  Visiting the following places will give you an idea of the rich history of Amsterdam. If you want to visit any of these places I advise you to search for additional information about possible reservation requirements.

Amsterdam Heineken Beer Museum

heinikin

Admission: €18 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10.30am – 17.30 pm

Where: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam

Beer helped build Amsterdam and it is still an important substance for the city; if you love it as much as the Dutch, you can visit the Amsterdam Heineken beer museum. This iconic and historic beer museum is a top tourist attraction. The brewery was established in 1864 and now a days Heineken is a huge multinational company. During the tour you can see their old defunct brewery, with several amusement park attractions added to the exhibition. You can admire the 19th century architecture, old photographs and other memorabilia from the Heineken family. Beer tasting is included in the admission price (for adults only, of course).

Oude Kerk (Old church): 13th century church

old church

Admission: €10.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Oudekerksplein, 1012 GX Amsterdam

Built in the 13th century, this protestant church is the oldest in Amsterdam and it was originally built as a Catholic place of worship, which is why the Oude Kerk features things characteristic for Catholic cathedrals (like sculpted misericords in the choir, high windows, impressive old gravestones and exceptional architecture). In 1566 the interior was demolished when the Amsterdam population revolted against the Catholic Church. Traces of vandalism remain visible until today. Another interesting fact is the that contrast between the religious house and its surroundings could not be bigger: next to the church you will see a coffee shop.

Nieuwe kerk (New church)

new church

Admission: free

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Dam Square, Amsterdam

Adjacent to the Royal Palace you can find the Nieuwe Kerk, a church of the highest order. It was built circa 1400 to make up for the shortage of churches in the city over the years. Contrary to the Oude Kerk, it managed to escape major damage during the revolt against the Catholic Church. However, two centuries later it was completely demolished when plumbers accidentally started a fire. It was restored to its former glory, exhibiting the early Renaissance style. Today, the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam is the most important church in the Netherlands. Since 1814, Dutch monarchs have been inaugurated here, including the reigning King Willem – Alexander. In between coronations and weddings, the Amsterdam New Church is the venue for the temporary art and history exhibitions.

In addition, you can taste some wine under the Nieuwe Kerk at The Wine Cellar. This cozy (and often overlooked) location is below grount at the side of the historic church.

Houten huis and Begijnhof

het houten huis

Opening times: daily 8am – 17 pm

Where: Beijnhof, number 34

Het Houten Huis is the oldest house in Amsterdam, dating from around 1420. It is one of the two remaining wooden-front houses in the city; timber houses were banned in 1521 after a series of catastrophic fires. You can find the house at number 14 at the Begijnhof courtyard. The Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard dating around the early 18th century. The courtyard was originally built for the Begijntjes, a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns.

Ons Lieve Heer op Solder: Amsterdam’s secret religious house

secret church

Admission: €11.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 18 pm

Where: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, 1012 GE, Amsterdam.

Museum Ons Lieve Heer op Solder is a 17th century canal house with a catholic church in the attic. Catholicism was officially outlawed after the reformation in the 16th century. As a result, many followers of Catholicism were forced to worship in secret. Some built hidden churches like this chapel. The chapel remains almost completely intact. The chapel is tucked away in the hearth of Amsterdam’s inner city. The church symbolizes the characteristic (religious) tolerance of the Netherlands, established by the Dutch in the sixteenth century under Willem of Orange. It is also the oldest museum in the city, second only to the Rijksmuseum.

Town hall at the Dam Square (now Royal Palace)

town hall

Admission: €10.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 10am – 17 pm

Where: Nieuwezijds Voorburg 147, de Dam Amsterdam

Originally the town hall, the building was built in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. It was then the largest secular building in Europe. It later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal house. Fun fact: the building includes 13,659 wooden piles.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam: accurate replica of a VOC ship and more

ship museum

Admission: €15.00 p.p.

Opening times: daily 9am – 17 pm

Where: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam

You don’t even have to go inside to be marvelled by this museum. The building was built in 1656 to house equipment for Dutch warships, like canons, munition, sails and ropes. Now a days the building hosts several exhibitions related to ships and the sea. In front of the museum lies a replica of the VOC-ship Amsterdam. You can enter the ship while visiting the museum and touch the canons, sails and ropes. Also, you can go below deck to get hands on experience.

Cheese museum: because the Dutch love their cheese

cheese museum

Admission: free of charge, but a donation is always welcome

Opening times: daily 9am – 10 pm

Where: Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA Amsterdam

The Dutch love their cheese and have a more than 600-year tradition of cheese-making. Most of the cheeses you can find (and bite if you buy one) in the museum are named after Dutch cities, like Gouda, Maaslander and Leerdammer. The museum is about a step away from the Anne Frank House, on the other side of the Prinsengracht, and is completely dedicated to Dutch cheese. The museum also has an attractive shop. At least one of the sellers wears traditional Dutch clothes and so could you! You can visit the “photo corner” where you can dress up as Dutch farmers in order to take a picture (all free of charge).  

Amsterdam Forest, Bosbaan and Dutch pancakes at a local farm: Boederij Meerzicht

pancake house

Opening times Boederij Meerzicht: daily 10am – 19 pm

Where: Koenenkade 56, 1081 KG Amsterdam

Site Boederij Meerzicht: https://www.boerderijmeerzicht.nl/english

After a busy day I advise you to take a walk through the Amsterdam forest (2,471 acres) and enjoy a delicious (and very Dutch) pancake at the Boederij Meerzicht. The farm was built around 1857, long before they planted the Amsterdamse forest. The farm is one of the few farms that managed to remain even after the forest was built. The farm is now run by the third generation, but grandma’s pancake recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

If you feel like walking, you can follow the Bosbaan, which is a rowing lake situated in the Amsterdam forest. The Bosbaan measures a length of 2200 metres. The Amsterdam forest has several open areas and meadows. Some of which are located along an artificial beach along ponds.

bosban

Traditional Dutch Cuisine: Restaurant Moeders

mothers

Opening times: 17 pm – 24 pm (Monday – Friday) Weekends: 12.00 pm – 24 pm.

Where: Rozengracht 251, 1015 sX Amsterdam

Moeders (Dutch for “mothers”) opened in 1990. During the opening the guest were asked to bring their own plate, glass and cutlery. As a result, the wooden tables are set with a diverse range of plates, wineglasses and cutlery.  Moeders is known for several Dutch specialties. You can order several traditional Dutch home dishes. In addition, the desserts are simply amazing.

We look forward to welcoming you to Amsterdam!

 

 

Download the ISTR Conference Mobile App!

Navigate the ISTR International Conference with our mobile app, powered by Core-apps. With our mobile app, you can:

  • Stay organized with up-to-the-minute, speaker, session, and overall conference information
  • Read the full submitted abstracts for each paper
  • Search sessions and abstracts by conference theme
  • Create a personalized schedule by bookmarking sessions
  • Save your favorite sessions so that you can return and review them later
  • Receive important real-time communications from the ISTR staff
  • See what sessions are currently happening and what’s coming up next using “What’s On Now”
  • Find attendees and connect with your colleagues. Be sure to publish your profile to interact with other app users
  • Have local restaurants and transportation information on hand
  • And much, much more!

Download the App 

SCAN: Use your devices QR code scanner to quickly find the ISTR Conference App

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SEARCH: The App Store or Google Play for “ISTR”

FOR ALL OTHER DEVICE TYPES: (including BlackBerry, Windows, and other web browser-enabled devices): point your mobile browser to

http://www.core-apps.com/dl/istrevents

to be directed to the proper download version for your device.  

Platform Compatibility: Android v4x+ and iOS v7x+

Should you have any questions, please contact:

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