STRW local: Observatory Allies

Observatory Allies

If you ever find yourself facing challenges or uncomfortable situations (e.g. related to aggression, bullying, discrimination, or any other concerns), our Observatory Allies are here to support you. These colleagues have undergone special training to provide a confidential, non-judgmental space for discussion and advice.

While Allies can provide guidance on potential steps forward, please be assured that any information shared with them will remain confidential. Only anonymous feedback is relayed to the observatory management to foster a positive environment for all.

The current Allies are:

Joe Callingham Jackie Hodge Robin Hölscher
Huib Jan van Langevelde Nienke van der Marel Yamila Miguel
Wouter Schrier Marian van de Walle Ignas Snellen
Sjoert van Velzen Arianne Pen-Oosthoek


Leiden observatory aims to provide a warm, friendly and open environment for astronomers of all gender identities, nationalities, and ethnic and religious backgrounds. This should create a welcoming atmosphere that enables students and researchers to fully develop their capabilities. While this environment should clearly help preventing any inappropriate behavior, it is important that if you notice any unwanted behavior of any kind you take action.

A first action might be to have a chat with our Observatory Allies: Bernhard Brandl, Huib Jan van Langevelde, Yamila Miguel, Arianne Pen, Pedro Russo, Frans Snik or Xander Tielens. Other possibilities for help and advice include the Institute manager (Evelijn Gerstel) and the Director (Ignas Snellen) who serve as Observatory Allies as part of their role. Bachelor and Master students can also always turn to Wouter Schrier (study Advisor). It is also possible to speak confidentially with the Human Resources Advisor, Marian van de Walle: .

Anyone who works for Leiden University can contact the confidential counsellors. They can advise and support you through any procedure you follow, and are sworn to strict confidentiality. They can help you along the way and, if necessary, will refer you to the most appropriate person for your request. Leiden University has a number of confidential counsellors:

personnel affairs (Problems with your manager/colleagues/communication problems/re-organisation of your work environment etc):

  • Marije Bedaux and Nadia Garnefski .

Unacceptable behaviour (such as bullying, sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and violence):for undesirable behavior such as matters of aggression, violence or sexual intimidation:

Academic Integrity (such as falsification/deliberately misleading interpretation of research results or methods, plagiarism, problems concerning co-authors or other misconduct):

  • Frits Koning : +31715266673,
  • Jan van Ruitenbeek, +31 71 527 5450,

Malpractice (whistleblowing): (concerns issues related to wrongdoing where the public interest is at stake, such as violation of the law, an imminent threat to public health/people's safety/damage to the environment/ the proper functioning of the organisation in consequence of an impropper act or omission):

  • Gert de Boer (external): +31 6 51 06 63 29,

PhD candidates (Persistent problems between PhD student and supervisor concerning communication, strong disagree about direction research project, or problems in working relationship with a colleague that makes your feel unsafe due to discrimination, bullying, sexual intimidation or violence)

  • Confidential counsellor for PhD students of the Faculty of Science:
    Prof. Jan Boersema: +31 71 527 5650,

For more information about the Vision, Mission and core Value of Leiden University, please go to: