News - March 15, 2018

Professor: ‘Inaccuracies in controversial online lecture’

Linda van der Nat

Leonie Janssen-Jansen, professor of Land Use Planning, thinks the online lecture by emeritus professor Arnold van der Valk should be withdrawn again. She says the lecture includes deliberately inaccurate statements.

Janssen-Jansen has been working at WUR since 2015, and is Van der Volk’s successor. Before that she worked at the University of Amsterdam, where she did research on the case Van der Valk talks about in his online lecture on spatial planning. Property developer SADC complained to WUR about inaccuracies and framing in that lecture, which is part of a MOOC (massive online open course). Janssen-Jansen agrees with SADC. ‘In 2002, the development plan established that the area would become an industrial estate. So this is not about agricultural land, as Van der Valk claims. And there was no speculation on the land; the amounts he mentions are not abnormal for industrial estates.’

According to Janssen-Jansen, the people at the care farm were able to stay there free of charge for 16 years. Not because of ‘bottom-up’ resistance, as they claim, but because nothing was because done with the land because there were so many disused office buildings. ‘So it is not true that SADC is now chasing De Boterbloem off its farmland.’

Freedom of opinion and expression is good, but your opinion should be based on facts
Leonie Janssen-Jansen, professor of Land Use Planning

According to Janssen-Jansen, Van der Volk deliberately spreads inaccurate information. ‘You can’t expect me to believe that, as a professor, you are not aware of the development plan. Freedom of opinion and expression is good, but your opinion should be based on facts.’

The online lecture was initially taken offline after SADC’s complaints, but can now be watched again, until a new version goes online. Not a good idea, says Janssen-Jansen.

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