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Wouter Rijsman: 'Far beyond my expectations'

Alumnus testimonial

Wouter Rijsman graduated in Urban Sociology in 2009.

Wouter Rijsman
Wouter Rijsman, Photo by: Arnold van West

Born in the countryside in the eastern part of the Netherlands, I got fascinated about urban life and started studying Sociology. Because of the available courses on Urban Sociology, I switched from the VU – where I got my bachelor’s degree- to the master Sociology at the UvA. My choice was mainly based on my interest in subjects like public space and ethnic entrepreneurship.

When I graduated, I narrowed my scope of interest to a goal to work at a social housing cooperation. After a few months I found a job and  started working at JongeHonden (“Young Dogs”) where I worked on  a broad range of projects for multiple companies. At JongeHonden I also wrote a business plan and became one of the entrepreneurs. 

An important master

Now I am co-founder and partner of BLOC (website: BLOC achieves regional development by developing collaborations and partnerships between governments, investors, entrepreneurs, marketing organizations, NGOs and citizens. My current work is far beyond my expectations when I graduated, both in terms of pleasure in work and possibilities.

My master in Sociology has been very important to learn how to cope with complex tasks. Furthermore,

I think it’s important that you learn how groups of people interact. With my Master’s degree in my pocket , I have a better understanding of how people interact in the urban landscape and countryside. 

Find the key

It’s a fine line between doing what you like and failing to reach your goals in adding value to society and clients. Therefore, I think it’s important to focus on your unique value. What do you like? What do you think is important? What are you good at? Where do people want to pay you for? It’s hard work to find the key to combine these elements, so it’s important to keep your eyes open! If you know what you like and what’s important to you, it’s easier to recognize opportunities that will match your ambitions!