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NCR DAYS 2023 Program

Back to event websiteDay 1Day 2YNCR Event  • Keynotes


Last updated: April 6, 2023

Day 1 (April 12, 2023)

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Day 2 (April 13, 2023)

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YNCR Social After-event

After the formal program of the NCR DAYS 2023, Young NCR warmly invites everyone to come join us for a round of bowling at Olround Bowling Center (Heyendaalseweg 90-92, 6525 AK Nijmegen). The bowling alleys are reserved until 17.30, afterwards it will be possible to get diner at your own expense.

We will gather at the bicycle stands of Lindenberg Cultuurhuis at 16.10 to cycle together to the bowling center in a 10-minute bike ride. It is also possible to walk, that will take around 30 minutes. It is not necessary to sign up for this activity. The first drink is on Young NCR, so come join us! (of course, no age limit applies)

Keynote speakers

Historical ecology

Rob Lenders – Historical-ecological lessons for future river management

Sustainable functioning of river catchments requires robust design and management of the river ecosystem. In recent decades much progress has been made, but quite a few necessary steps remain. Knowledge and understanding of the historical ecology of rivers is a must, as it can teach us about mistakes made in the past and thus how we can do better in the future. Using a number of concrete examples, this lecture will outline for the Rhine the historical-ecological development of the last millennium and provide lessons for river management in the 21st century.

Rob Lenders is an animal ecologist and environmentalist by training, and a specialist in the historical ecology of north-western Europe, especially from the perspective of human-animal relationships (notably fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals). He approaches these relationships from both an ecological and a humanities perspective. In his research, he collaborates with archaeologists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, linguists and philosophers. His work contributes to a deeper understanding of the factors that wrought major changes in riverine ecosystems and such understanding provides an essential basis for the effective ecological rehabilitation.

Esther Stouthamer – Holocene palaeogeographic development of the Rhine-Meuse delta

The Holocene development of the Rhine-Meuse delta has been externally controlled by changing climate, sea level, tectonics, water and sediment supply. In turn, internal processes, like avulsion, compaction, and morphological succession have determined the distribution of water and sediment over the delta and the storage and (temporary) preservation of sediment within different delta compartments. The combination of these external forcings and internal processes has determined the development of the delta over time and has resulted in a complex subsurface build-up.

Subsurface build-up and the associated distribution of properties is a critical control of the natural functioning of a delta, its sensitivity to natural and human-induced change, and the success of technical and nature-based measures in delta management. With regard to river management, subsurface properties play a key role in determining the potential for subsurface-related failure mechanisms of water defenses and channel stability.

Prof. dr. Esther Stouthamer is a full professor in Delta evolution and subsurface processes at Utrecht University. Her fields of expertise are: delta evolution, subsurface architecture and properties, land subsidence, fluvial morphology, Quaternary geology, and physical geography. Research within her group focusses on understanding Holocene delta evolution and its resulting subsurface build-up and properties, post-depositional processes, and determining the susceptibility of the subsurface for post-depositional processes (impacts) and application of this knowledge in the development of sustainable delta management strategies. She initiated and leads the NWA-Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence and Society and NWO-TTW Piping in Practice research projects and participates in the STW-AllRisk project (subsurface-related failure mechanisms).

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Nature-based solutions

Bregje van Wesenbeeck – Nature based solutions 2.0

Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are increasingly popular for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and can be applied across different landscapes. In rivers we can learn from past successes and mistakes to improve the way we work with NBS in the future. Moving beyond project scales in space and timem and making use of old and new river management practices is needed to fully embrace NbS power.

Dr. Bregje van Wesenbeeck is the scientific director of Deltares, a Dutch research institute for water management, and a senior expert in nature-based solutions. She also is an associate professor at the Delft University of Technology in nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction with a focus on salt marshes and mangroves. She strives to both strengthen the scientific foundation and further practical application of nature-based solutions. At Deltares she has over 15 years’ experience in working with development banks, UN, NGO’s and governments in Asia, Africa, USA and the Netherlands, for whom she provides advice on flood risk reduction, erosion mitigation and climate change adaptation. As scientific director she chairs the science council of Deltares, which advices on quality and direction of the work and organization.


Twitter: @BregjevW


Ralph Schielen – NBS in practice: upscaling and mainstreaming

In this presentation in will focus on what is needed to apply Nature based solutions in operations and management practice of water authority organisations. There are already many frameworks, best practices and guidelines available (see e.g. ) but which steps need to be taken to connect this to mainstreaming NbS? And perhaps even more ambitious: can NbS also fulfill a role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in low and middle income countries?

Ralph Schielen holds a PhD in Mathematics from Utrecht University. He is a senior advisor on Hydraulics, Morphology and Water Management at Rijkswaterstaat, the main governmental Water Management Authority in the Netherlands. He also holds a position as senior researcher at Delft University of Technology. Ralph Schielen’s research concerns the behavior of lowland rivers under climate change and anthropogenic interventions, with a focus on Rhine and Meuse. He is co-author of the river-chapters of The International Guideline on Natural and Nature Based Features for Flood Risk Management, and is also involved in the application of Nature Based Solutions (NbS) to establish resilient and robust river-landscapes. An important subject in his research is the connection between science and practice in applying NbS, and stimulating mainstreaming and upscaling of NbS.


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River water quality

Ad Ragas – The past, present and future of river water quality

We are delighted to announce the upcoming keynote speech by Professor Ad M.J. Ragas on “The Past, Present, and Future of River Water Quality”. Professor Ragas is a highly respected expert in the field of environmental risk assessment of chemicals, and this keynote promises to be a fascinating and informative exploration into the chemical and biological status of our rivers. Professor Ragas will provide a historical overview of the factors that have contributed to water pollution, examine the current challenges facing our rivers, and provide a future perspective on the management of chemical risks.

Ad Ragas (1964) studied biology and obtained his PhD at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He currently holds a position as a full professor in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment at this university. His main expertise is the modelling of human and ecological risks of chemicals, covering emissions of chemicals, their fate in the environment, toxicokinetic processes and their adverse effects in humans, farm animals and species of ecological interest. Within this field, his focus is on quantifying and assessing uncertainty of model predictions. He actively participates in several large research projects on pharmaceuticals and contaminants of emerging concern, i.e. PREMIER, LABPLAS, TransPharm and SUSPECt.

Gerard Stroomberg – River water quality and drinking water production

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) Article 7.3 states:

‘Member States shall ensure the necessary protection for the bodies of water identified with the aim of avoiding deterioration in their quality in order to reduce the level of purification treatment required in the production of drinking water.’

Hence, for water managers it is of key importance to evaluate and report on the quality of water and the level of purification treatment that is required. For this purpose a novel framework of indices is defined, and their definition allows the inclusion of new, emerging substances. The indices can be calculated based on micropollutant characteristics alone and do not require any knowledge of specific purification treatment installations. Applying this framework of indices to water bodies provides an objective and reproducible way of evaluating the required purification treatment level. The indices were calculated for water quality data for up to 600 micropollutants from five sampling locations along the river Rhine in the Netherlands. This revealed differences between the sampling sites (index values ranged from 145 to 273) and showed that for the river Rhine the required purification treatment level, as well as the underlying removal requirement and purification treatment effort, have not improved over the years, despite the introduction of the WFD in 2000.

Dr. Gerard Stroomberg is director of RIWA ( which monitors, analyses and advocates river water quality improvement on behalf of the drinking water companies that use river water. RIWA’s mission is “RIWA strives for a quality of the surface water that requires natural purification to prepare impeccable drinking water.”

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Channel bed erosion and man-made structures

Rick Delbressine -Replacement and renovation of the weirs in the Meuse: the long start of a challenging project

Rick Delbressine works at the Department of Waterways and Public Works (in Dutch: Rijkswaterstaat Programma’s, Projecten en Onderhoud). He works as a senior advisor with a specialisation on the Meuse. Amongst others he is involved in the Multi-Year Programme for Infastructure, Spatial Planning and Transport (MIRT) regarding the ‘Zuidelijk Maasdal’ and the project replacement and renovation of the weirs in the Meuse.

Rick studied civil engineering at the TU Delft and has worked at the Department of Waterways and Public Works since 2013 in various functions. In his keynote Rick will address the start-up phase of the project regarding the replacement and renovation of the weirs in the Meuse. The reason for this project is that the weirs are nearing the end of their longevity. A potential replacement provides the opportunity to also take into account other functions of the river system.

Astrid Blom

Come back soon for more information


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