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Amazing research experience in the south of beautiful Netherlands

Updated: Aug 15

Brief description of the visit

My name is Bruno Šimac and I am Research Assistant and PhD student at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia. I visited an independent non-profit research institute Centerdata, located on the campus of Tilburg University, in the first three weeks of September of 2022. The Transnational Access Visit programme allowed me to work on longitudinal data representative of the Dutch population with the support of leading experts in LISS panel data analysis, while also offering me a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Netherlands.

The project’s topic

During my research visit to Centerdata, I was able to work on online LISS panel that consists of 5000 households across whole of the Netherlands. This data-rich panel allowed me to analyze and compare life satisfaction of youth (18-30 years of age) living in rural and urban areas of the Netherlands, as well as offering me the opportunity to investigate the relationship between social integration and life satisfaction of the Dutch youth. This visit had a strong impact on improvement of my PhD thesis because it brought to the light crucial disadvantages Croatian youth is experiencing today compared to the youth in the more developed Netherlands. Even after my return, I am continuing my work on this research project with intention of future publication.

Engaging in further academic activities

During my stay at Centerdata I was lucky to participate at the presentation titled Designing multi-mode surveys presented by dr. Marika de Bruijne. It was a great experience to hear various approaches in mixing different modes of survey strategies which could potentially help me in my future PhD questionnaire development and implementation. Also, I hope that research I conducted during my stay in Tilburg will open the doors for future collaborations, activities and international presentations at scientific conferences.

The academic collaboration

I was very satisfied with the level of academic and professional collaboration I experienced during my stay in Tilburg. Dr. Marika de Bruijne was an amazing host and helped me with anything I needed during my stay. She introduced mewith two academic collaborators that greatly helped me with understanding the nature of LISS panel data. Furthermore, I had meetings with other Centerdata employees that showed me how to use LISS panel data in the best way possible, but also helped me with theoretical part of the project by providing me with crucial information and literature on social integration and life satisfaction of Dutch youth. It also needs to be mentioned that I was invited for drinks and dinner with other colleagues so I had the chance to exchange experiences and knowledge about two very differing countries – Croatia and the Netherlands. Once again I send my deep appreciation to all Centerdata employees that accepted me as a member of their research collective.

Sightseeing in the Netherlands

During the weekday evenings I explored city of Tilburg that has many beautiful parks, interesting museums, great restaurants and lovely people. During two weekends that I stayed in the Netherlands I had a unique chance to visit different parts of this small, but lovely country. I was able to visit beautiful cities of Delft, the Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, as well as experience the well-known Dutch capital – Amsterdam.

Concluding thoughts

All in all, I would strongly recommend researchers at any stage of their career to visit Centerdata as part of the Coordinate TAV programme because it will offer you great opportunity to work on comprehensive and representative longitudinal panel data. Furthermore, colleagues I met during my stay at Centerdata were really friendly and welcoming, as well as being very helpful and professional in providing me with any needed assistance to achieve my research objectives. Finally, this visit also gave me a unique chance to travel the beautiful Netherlands which is an experience I will never forget!

Picture at beautiful Delft canals

Saint Joseph Church in Tilburg city center

Beautiful Spoorpark in Tilburg

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