Danielle Jansen is (probably) getting a seat in the Lower House for NSC

Associate professor Danielle Jansen is ranked 14th on the candidate list of Pieter Omtzigt’s new party, Nieuw Sociaal Contract (NSC). Why does she want to enter politics, and what does she expect to achieve? UKrant spoke with her.

You are currently a university associate professor and researcher in the field of healthcare systems and the organisation of care for children and adolescents. How did you end up in the 14th position on the NSC list?

‘A little more than a year ago, I received an email from one of Pieter Omtzigt’s employees, asking if she could interview me because Pieter wanted to know how we could improve healthcare. After two very enjoyable interviews, I was asked to participate in an expert group that would assist Pieter with healthcare issues. I realised that I had a lot of expertise to offer. We delved into a number of themes and wrote several papers, which I found very enjoyable.’

‘When the government fell, I knew that Pieter was thinking about forming his own party. I was on holiday when he called and asked if I would like to apply for a possible position on the list. I had two weeks to think it over calmly and discuss it with my family because it’s not an easy decision. Ultimately, I made up my mind quite quickly.’

There were more than 2,400 applications; what was the selection process like?

‘I had to go through the same process as everyone else. It was sort of exhilarating and scary every time: am I the right person for the job? I was certainly not the only one with knowledge about healthcare who had applied. I had to go through two job interviews, both of which I had a good feeling about. I think that’s because I was myself and could show them what I bring to the table and how I work. It didn’t feel like I had to do anything different to impress them; I could just be myself. That gave me peace of mind. I met all the other candidates during the final round, and that evening, I got a call that the position was mine. It was truly wonderful.

If the recent polls are correct, you will get a seat in the Lower House. What are your ambitions?

‘Anything can still happen, but yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with a seat. What I sometimes find disappointing in research is that so many practical implications are not implemented after we provide advice. In politics, everything needs to be much more specific – you want to know how to address things right now, and that’s what I really want to make a difference in. I want to address the issues in healthcare, including socioeconomic health differences, as well as investing in prevention and improving youth care.’

You wouldn’t be able to continue your current job. How do you feel about leaving the academic world?

‘That’s certainly a shame. I always brag that I have the best job in the world. If this opportunity hadn’t come along, I would have happily continued this work for many more years because I find it incredibly enjoyable. The combination of teaching and doing research on a topic I’m passionate about is something I really like.’

‘I’m sad to leave that behind, but the fact that it’s such a radical change probably makes it a bit easier. I also know many people here who research topics like youth care, so I think I’ll still run into many colleagues in my new job. We can continue to collaborate, but in a different way. It’s nice that I’ll be working on the same topics within healthcare that currently fascinate me. And who knows, maybe even more in-depth and hopefully with greater impact.’

The elections are on November 22; are you busy with preparations?

‘We are currently busy writing the election programme. It was really nice that the programme hadn’t been finalised when we as candidates came into the picture. That way, we had a significant say in it. In addition, we’re being taught what awaits us if we become Members of Parliament and what we need to learn to get started.’

‘At first, I was a bit nervous, but I also find it very exciting to learn. I think I will learn some things by observing and ease into it gradually. But I’m mostly looking forward to it, especially because we have such great support within the party.’


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