Nieuws - 7 februari 2013

To Antarctica with Queen Beatrix

Who? Han Lindeboom
What? Extraordinary professor of Marine Ecology and polar researcher
Why? He has a special relationship with Queen Beatrix, who has announced her abdication

A 'special relationship'. In what way?
'I really got to know the queen when I was chairing the Commission for Polar Research. It clicked between us. After that I organized two symposiums for her. In 2011 I was honoured with the personal medal for services to the arts and sciences - the first physicist to receive it.'
What is she like close up?
'On the evening before a symposium we go over it at the palace, and then she really chats. She can gossip about people just like anyone else. And we talked about the wear and tear to my knee. She had two bad knees but with two knee replacements, she can ski again now.'
And the matter in hand?
'She really does her homework and can join in the discussion. She had seen the documentary  The end of the line. She asked questions about that. She asked one researcher about the role of viruses in the sea. It was clear she had read about that study. I was never much of a royalist before, but Queen Beatrix is incredibly inspiring.'
Did her abdication come as a surprise?
'You knew it would come at some point. A couple of years ago I invited her to Antarctica but she turned down the invitation. 'Perhaps when I'm retired,' she said.