Nerdland Festival: queuing for sewage

It is Sunday, June 5th and it is 4 pm at the Nerdland Festival. I (Toon Verlinden) walk past one of the tents where a talk is taking place. The place is bursting at the seams. People are queuing up outside. Surely, there must be a well-known person on stage? Not quite! Instead, there is a researcher discussing … sewage. So there is hope!

It’s certainly nice to see that not only big names such as Lieven Scheire and Hetty Helsmoortel manage to attract a two-thousand-person audience. Just as well, there are hundreds of attendees of the Nerdland Festival who are eager to hear a scientist talk about dendrochronology (the science of tree rings), tinnitus, or sewage.

In case you missed it or weren’t allowed to leave your lab for the past month: Nerdland Festival is Belgium’s largest outdoor science festival with no fewer than 13,000 visitors. The 2022 Edition took place on June 3-5 in Wachtebeke, Belgium. Toon Verlinden, founder of The Floor is Yours, is also the organizer of the festival. And he is convinced:

Your research is fascinating too

Researchers are quick to say: ‘my topic is not at all fascinating’. Wrong: People are curious creatures. If you present your topic in the right way, people will hang on to your every word. In a previous blog post, we shared with you how you too can make your research pop.

But fascinating research is not enough

Most of the speakers received advance training from The Floor is Yours: a workshop on ‘presenting with impact’, followed by a personal feedback session. Is that really necessary? Our answer is “yes!” Because even with experienced speakers we saw clear improvements. Captivating an audience of six hundred people with your presentation is not something you can just wing.

Will you be speaking in front of a large audience soon? Some good advice: prepare well and ask for feedback from people who are not yet familiar with your topic, such as your partner or a friend. Do they understand everything? Is it captivating enough? Make sure you prepare yourself well! Anyone attending Nerdland Festival paid for a ticket, drove all the way to Wachtebeke, and selected your lecture from over 200 shows, acts and workshops. So you better give it your best shot.

Would you like to be listed as a speaker at the Nerdland Festival?

Are you not a well-known name yet? Haven’t yet made a media appearance or given an interview to the newspaper? Don’t worry, you still have a chance. We are always looking for good speakers and storytellers. But make sure to start on time! In November or December, we will launch the call for speakers and activities for our 2023 Edition. Sign up at or now and keep an eye on our newsletter and social media!

What will definitely improve your chances of being selected?
Start participating in other activities and events now! One of the first things Hetty and I do when we receive a proposal is Google that researcher’s name. The more videos or other locations where they have spoken or hosted an activity we see, the more confidence that gives us.

Where can you find an overview of science activities?
We created an overview of more than 25 opportunities. Get started now.

And keep May 26-28 of 2023 free on your calendar. We hope to see you at Nerdland Festival 2023. On or around the stage! 🙂

Translation: Leslie Van Ael