Professor Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers becomes Senate member for Party for the Animals

01 Jun 2023

Professor of Environmental Governance and Politics Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers will become a member of the Senate for the Party for the Animals. In two weeks' time, she will be working in The Hague as well as in Nijmegen. 'This morning I cycled to the university, and I realised: I'm going to be the people’s representative, but also an animal representative.’

How are you going to combine those two jobs?

‘The Senate always meets on Tuesday, so I’ll be in The Hague then. That means I have to prepare on Monday, so I will be working less at the university. But I’m not sure yet how much less. The results for the Senate elections are still preliminary; the official results will follow on Thursday (today, ed.).’

Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers.
Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers.

Since when have you been an active member of the Party for the Animals?

‘I have been a member for a few years, but until now I only did some informal work for the party. Things like lectures that originated from my involvement in the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity, IPBES (published in 2019 and written by 150 scientists from 50 different countries warning of the extinction of one million plant and animal species, ed.). Politics is not new to me, as I used to be an active member of GroenLinks. The Party for the Animals did not exist yet.’

How did you end up on the candidates list for the Party for the Animals?

‘Simply by applying.’

The Party for the Animals won three seats on Tuesday, just like four years ago. Are you satisfied?

‘Yes. Although we did hope to win another one in the fight for the remaining seats. But three is enough to attract the debate, and to vote in favour of or against a proposal.’

What will your contribution be?

‘I can share the latest scientific insights with the House and insert them into the debate. As the Party for the Animals, we stand for a sustainable, animal-friendly, and just society. For example, we do not see the nitrogen problem as an isolated problem, but as a consequence of our society that is neither sustainable nor animal-friendly. What we need to move towards is a fundamental change in society. That is why I entered politics at this time: there is support for such a fundamental change. People are literally taking to the streets to campaign for sustainability; just look at the actions on the A12 (highway near The Hague, ed.). And scientists are also increasingly asking themselves what they can do or taking action, for example through Scientist Rebellion.’

Were you on the A12 yourself? Are you a member of Scientist Rebellion?

‘I am not yet a member or active due to practical reasons. Recently, I have been focusing mainly on combining science and politics, which is already quite a chore. As the former Greenpeace campaign manager, I am no stranger to campaigning, so hopefully I will succeed in the future!’

When will you start as an MP?

‘The first meeting with the new members is on 13 June. Yes, that’s very soon. This morning I cycled to the university, and realised: wow, I’m going to be the people’s representative, but also an animal representative. That’s great.’

Translated by Jan Scholten

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