How it all began…

Who am I?

Gijsbert Tweehuysen, born in 1953, studied Industrial Design at Delft University and graduated in 1981. One wife Marianne, one son Roelof (from ’86, also an industrial designer!).

In the 90’s I worked with DSM as “packaging branche specialist”. During that period I was involved in the negotiations of the industry with the government on reducing the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment. This resulted in the first “packaging covenant” in 1993. A very interesting period because the whole supply-chain on packaging and packed products was discussing in 2-weekly meetings the things we could do. From raw material suppliers to retail and everything in between. There I became a plastics supporter and environmentally consious.

A teacher…

After DSM I had some other jobs until I joined Zuyd University in 2002 as a teacher. The department I started my teaching career  was Industrial Engineering (TBK in Dutch).

Training students to understand processes: something enters a transformationproces, gets changed and comes out different. Basically it’s very simple, but for control you need a goal, a target, a purpose.

By teaching young people I realised that processes change the world. But the world is a closed system, so our students need to be consious of the limited resources and impact of their activities on this fragile equilibrium.

… and a researcher.

When Jacques Kimman joined Zuyd University as professor for New Energy, I joined his research group. But after some time I realised that I had no click with Kilowatts, but with Kilotonnes. I understood the sustainability aspects of solarpanels, but I had no feeling with the agenda’s of the energy companies. Looking for something I understood, I realised that “my plastics” were polluting the oceans in an horrifying way and I got committed to do something about this marine litter issue. Reading through the literature I quickly realised that hardly any research had been done on the contribution of rivers to the marine pollution. How strange, but what a challenge!

And there it started. The word ‘river litter” didn’t even exist, so I claimed the domain  ( and started reading, thinking and talking. My former DSM-colleagues welcomed my comeback in the plastic world and helped me to get started with the research on river litter.

The Mosa Pura project.

This presentation below triggered a lot of people and made it clear that rivers play a vital role when you want to intercept litter in the journey from land to sea.

Project Mosa Pura november 2011

Now I can look back at a year of studying, meeting concerned colleagues, involved regional authorities, interested scientists, enthousiastic students and many more people and I see that it is no longer “my” project, but “our” project.

This blog will keep you up-to-date with our research and adventures on the Maas with our ship: de Blauwe Reiger.