On 2 February 2012, the Dutch programme for was launched at the European Space Agency visitors’ centre, Space Expo, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. About 300 schoolchildren from across the country attended the event and took part in EU Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE) workshops.
In one of the workshops, students teamed up in pairs and were challenged to build a model of the Japanese Subaru Telescope to test their fine motor skills. One team, students Jack and Jeffrey from the Amsterdam International Community School, demonstrated incredible skill in constructing their telescope and worked together particularly well to finish within the set time. As a prize, the students were awarded with an EU-UNAWE Earthball each.
The day ended with a very special treat: the students had the opportunity to ask questions directly to the Dutch ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers, who is currently on the International Space Station (ISS). “Did you bring any Dutch delicacies to the Space Station?” asked one student. The astronaut laughed and said that he had brought a lot of Dutch cheese with him. Kuipers then amazed the children when he demonstrated weightlessness by swimming around on the ISS.
"The children asked me if I was an astronaut. When I told them I was an astronomer, they thought that was just as impressive as being an astronaut, which was nice to hear!" says Wouter Schrier, National Project Manager for EU-UNAWE in the Netherlands, who organised the workshops.