About Us

We are a group of critical thinkers, freedom-oriented academics and engaged citizens, who came together during the recent lockdowns.

We are building an institute for real academic growth, personal development and innovative enrichment of our world.

Unshackled Education

Nova Academia aims to nurture critical, constructive, and creative students, who wish to do vital research, to design or create new appliances or art. We believe that critical thinking and uncensored exploration strengthen both the individual and the general community and are the basis of a healthy and functional society.

Positive learning environment

Our academics and students enjoy the freedom to think, write, design and create. We limit bureaucracy, as much as we can. This radical freedom attracts the brightest and brings out the best in all involved.

Cutting Edge

In the mentorship program we teach and guide students in doing interesting cutting-edge research in an area of interest to both mentor and student. The nature of the help depends on the mentor(s) involved, and may include workshops, reading groups, regular one-on-one meetings, co-authorship, joint production of videos, study trips, etc. Many of the learning and community activities are on WhatsApp, in the online Nova Academia youth community called Liberi Mentis (mail bonnecato@school-of-understanding.nl to sign up), where students and mentors discuss, share documents, have joint videos, and announce events.

New and Unique

Nova Academia was conceived at the Second Science Summit in 2023 in Amsterdam, born from a desire to create a free, high-quality, and joyful academic institution. Its founders and initial supporters have a long-running interest in education, finding each other during the struggle against government-overreach and the slide of existing “universities” that have become low-level obedience training centres.

The general aim of the Academy is to produce critical well balanced students, to do vital research to strengthen the general community, and to embody new ways of having healthy and functional communities.

“Academia at its best is about beauty, where young minds discover and interpret the world; where communities of both students, academic mentors, and life mentors are built for personal and group betterment; and which is a place of intellectual light and freedom in this world.”

Paul Frijters
Academic Director Nova Academia

Our Events

Keep up to date with our events and sign up for activities organised by mentors, students, or Nova Academia staff members.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Our Founders

Professor Dr Paul Frijters

Academic Director

Paul Frijters was the Professor of Wellbeing Economics at the London School of Economics: from 2016-nov 2019 at the Center for Economic Performance, thereafter at the Department of Social Policy, with emeritus visiting status since 2020. He is also currently a Professor of Economics at MBS College in Saudi Arabia.

He completed his Masters in Econometrics at the University of Groningen and a PhD in economics at the University of Amsterdam. He has engaged in teaching and research at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, QUT, UQ, the LSE, and now MBSC.

Professor Frijters specializes in applied micro-econometrics, including labor, wellbeing, and health economics, though he has also worked on pure theoretical topics in macro and micro fields. He has been the director of various large projects, including migration in China and Indonesia, and corruption in Australia. He devised a new cost-effectiveness methodology for wellbeing that has been adopted by the governments of UK, New Zealand, and (tentatively) Scandinavia.

Professor Frijters is a prominent research economist and has published over 150 papers and around 10 books. He is in the top 1% of cited economists and in 2009 he was voted Australia's best young economist under 40 by the Australian Economic Society.

Dr Tjeerd Andringa

Head of epistemological development

Tjeerd studied solid state physics at the University of Groningen. After his studies he helped to start what is now the successful Artificial Intelligence department. He received his PhD on Continuity Preserving Signal Processing while starting the company SoundIntelligence. He returned to the University to become director of education and to found a soundscape and soundscape analysis research group. To ensure more societal impact he continued his soundscape efforts in the company SoundAppraisal. Also in 2014 he was asked to contribute to the start of the University College Groningen. Here he focused on epistemological development of students.

Over the years it became clear that the University wants students to focus on realising learning outcomes (on command demonstrating pre-specified behaviours) and not on their intellectual and epistemological development. Andringa left the university 2023 when it clearly stated its position that epistemological development (beyond level 4) is something the university effectively prevents.

Andringa now develops the most effective approaches for students to self-develop a well defendable worldview and gain access to the higher levels of epistemological development, self-actualization, and wisdom.

Dr Dolf van Wijk


Dolf studied biology and did a 5-year university employed PhD in Aquatic Ecology, including research and teaching, at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. Subsequently, he worked for 2 years in environmental water policy (Rijkswaterstaat Groningen) and teaching at Van Hall Institute (Groningen). Then he joined Akzo Nobel for 11 years as head of the Environmental Research Laboratory in Arnhem, The Netherlands. In 2001 Dolf and his family moved to Belgium where he worked for 17 years at Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council), first as a scientific advisor and later on in various management roles, including Executive Director for the chlor-alkali sector (Euro Chlor) and was member of the Cefic leadership team.

After his retirement in 2019 he worked for 3 years as a consultant for the chemical industry on chemicals policy and strategy. Dolf published over 50 scientific papers, including book contributions and symposium proceedings. Over the years, in his spare time, Dolf practised journalism in writing blogs and articles for various media, such as Climategate.nl, Opiniez.nl, Viruswaarheid.nl, Gezond Verstand, and De Andere Krant. His interest in media impact got him interested in phenomena such as group think, propaganda, marketing techniques and hypnosis (he is a certified hypnotherapist with the US Guild of Hypnotists). Dolf is also a passionate sea-sailor and instructor.

Dr Erika Turkstra

Head Location

Dr Turkstra did a PhD on renal physiology at the University of Utrecht in 1998. She has lectured and worked as an Associate Professor at Griffith University for almost 10 years. Her main expertise is in Health Technology Assessment in Australia and London for over 15 years, working both for governments and pharmaceutical consulting companies. She has published extensively in health journals and commercial reports.

Willem Engel

Head Culture

After spending 12 years in the lab, Willem switched to full-time dancer/dance teacher in 2008. Until the crisis, that was his passion and work.

In March 2020, after the dance school closed, he started delving into corona matters. What he discovered is now the core of the anti-measures movements. The virus is much less deadly than thought. He discovered enormous corruption surrounding PCR tests and vaccine manufacturers.

Key points in Willem's political vision are autonomy and responsibility. In the spirit of Pim Fortuyn, he wants to return to smaller organizations, get rid of the mega schools and large utilities and healthcare giants, the centrality of the human.
His 2 areas of expertise are education and healthcare. In education, people must be developed in addition to skills. General education, philosophy and especially emotional development should be central to education.

Anne Willemsen

Head Media

Anne Willemsen is a journalist and organiser. Whe has been involved with the magazine Gezond Verstand (Common Sense) from the very beginning. Initially, she volunteered for managing social media and organizing events (even secretly during lockdowns). Now, she coordinates the back office of the Gezond Verstand organization as the right hand of Karel van Wolferen.

Anne Willemsen feels right at home at conferences and presentations. Meeting people, engaging in conversations, providing information, and then making connections energizes her. During her master’s studies in business administration at Nyenrode, she, like everyone else, had to stay at home when ‘Covid’ appeared. Her inquisitive nature, which she had always possessed as a child, resurfaced. The question “But why?” had to be countered by many teachers and later by the professors of the Leiden Law School and Nyenrode Business University.

Drs Djamila Le Pair

Head Student Affairs

Djamila traded (animal) psychology at Leiden University for a job as a copywriter, at advertising agencies. A growing interest in Dutch language mechanics, however, drove her back to academia, resulting in an MA in Dutch/Flemish Literature at the University of Amsterdam (1994), which included one year of English Literature at University College London and a thesis on children’s literature.
Having risen to the top of quality management ranks at the Dutch postal services’, she and her young family moved to Switzerland and on to the United Kingdom, where she home educated her children until secondary school. Since then she has had various administrative jobs at Cambridge University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and currently works as a freelance writer and journalist, having contributed to De Andere Krant, Gezond Verstand, Potkaars and Voorwaarheid. Djamila writes about, and campaigns for, WikiLeaks’ visionary founder, Julian Assange.

Esther van Loo

Head Language & Cultural Education

Esther van Loo holds a Master Degree Russian language and literature from the University of Amsterdam and a first degree license for teaching. She worked in various domains of education with various target groups. She likes to combine the work both front ­and backstage, as a teacher/trainer and as a developer of curriculum, lesson and testing materials, especially in the field of language and humanities (history and literature).
She currently runs a language institute where she focuses on the languages of the Euregion: Dutch, Limburgish, German and French. After all, in times of global transitions “il faut cultiver son jardin” as Voltaire said.

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