Research lines

Visualisation in research

Visualisation is key in any project involving datapoints. Yet the reader is not ‘showered in graphical displays’ [Anscombe, 1973]. I am an active promotor of the use of visualisation, and try to help people make graphs in several ways: i) by making the graphs for them; ii) by giving visualisation-workshops in R; iii) by creating R-packages that facilitate the use of graphs.

Studying the number of children people want and have

There is huge variation in the number of children people (would like to) have over time / across the globe / within countries. I try to study the determinants of this variation, including individual factors like wealth and education, genetic factors, and social influences.

Evolutionary perspectives on human height variation

My research in the past has focussed on variation in human height. In particular, how evolutionary processes have been and are shaping variation in stature. I tried to address questions like: Why is there such variation across countries in height? Why are women on average shorter than man? In what ways does height play a role in mate choice and competition? Does natural selection act on height in contemporary populations? Why are the Dutch so tall? Why am I so tall?

Recent Publications

More Publications

  • Do Data from Large Personal Networks Support Cultural Evolutionary Ideas about Kin and Fertility?

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  • Collecting large personal networks in a representative sample of Dutch women

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  • Effect of Self-reported Height on Occupational Rank Among Police Officers: Especially for Women it Pays to be Tall

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  • ESMvis: A tool for visualizing individual Experience Sampling Method (ESM) data

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  • Three facets of planning and postponement of parenthood in the Netherlands

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Recent Posts

More Posts

The CBS has published a great report on the Dutch not getting taller, or even shrinking. Naturally, I had to show up to do all sorts of interviews. Some greatest hits:






Given the upcoming US elections, several media outlets have shown interest in my research on US presidential height. So did The Economist:

They definitely improved my graphs:

I should try and see if I can recreate those graphs in R.


Renkse Verweij en ik hebben onlangs een artikel geschreven over ons onderzoek naar kinderloosheid voor de website van Sociale Vraagstukken: Eerst zekerheid, dan pas kinderen



I currently teach or contribute to the following courses at the University of Groningen’s sociology curriculum:


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