Marianne J.E. van der Heijden

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    • Public speaker
    • Networker
    • Project starter
    • Writer
    • Critical mind
    • Knowledge broker


    I am a connector, an activator and a professional question mark. I love to discover, travel, talk and listen. I love to learn about cultures, languages, ways of life from cultures other than my own. And I love to improve, to try make a situation or a person the best version that could possibly be.
    My curious and enthousiastic nature has translated into an academic career: I have become a professional question mark! 
    By training I am a Medical Anthropologist and as such I have worked in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, England, Spain and the USA.
    My research is mainly focused on Integrative Medicine: combining contemporary science with knowledge of non-western knowledge systems. 
    These projects ranged from the use of acupuncture in HIV-positive people in Uganda to ethnobotany in South Africa, from mind-body therapies in cancer patients in the Netherlands to participating in a think tank on how to give Integrative Medicine a place in our health care system. 
    My most recent work is my PhD in Medicine at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam the Netherlands and Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. For my PhD I have studied the effects of music interventions in hospitalised children undergoing painful procedures such as children with burns. 
    Furthermore, I am an activator who likes to bring people together in social change and awareness. 
    My interests are: health and healing, environmentalism, animal welfare and cultural diversity
    I like all projects that aim at improving a situation in a holistic and well-informed way.


    Ubuntu is the Southern African word for 'humanity' or 'humanity towards others'. The beauty of us humans is that each and everyone of us is unique. We are beautiful creatures who walk our own paths, learn our own lessons and develop in our own unique way. Yet at the same time, to borrow the words of Herman Melville: "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men, and among those fibers our actions run as causes and they come back to us as effects"
    Know what your unique talents are and give the best you can to the world we live in. 
    Be kind, always. Think long term, think sustainability for both you and the rest of the world. 
    Know your own history and the history of the world. 
    Educate yourself and don't be afraid to change your mind. 


    PhD Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, MSc Medical Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, BSc Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of Non-Western Societies, University of Amsterdam

    Years In Practice

    8 years

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