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

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Recent Posts

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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


The Groninger municipality organised an amazing hackaton “Hack the educational gap” (see here and here).

Annelene Bloemen, Denise Bouwman, Tina Kretschmer, Ymkje Anna de Vries, and I formed a team. And we won! Probably because we made neat visualisation of the existing data. See slides here.


Talks & Workshops

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


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