Professor Mönks receives international Mensa Award

Professor Mönks wins Mensa Award

The Mensa Foundation ( has given the Mensa Foundation Life Time Achievement Award and a US$ 1000 cheque to Dutch professor Frans Jozef Mönks. It was handed out by the international Mensa chair Willem Bouwens at the ECHA conference in Münster, Germany last Thursday. Professor Mönks was himself one of the founders of ECHA (see also, now the biggest and best conference in Europe about gifted children with over 1000 visitors.
Professor Mönks wrote his first article on highgiftedness in 1963, a time when highly giftedness was far from getting any attention. He pioneered in this area, and he has an impressive track record.  He was also the founder of the excellent Centre for Research on Giftedness at the Radboud University in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), and at the age of 80 he is still working at the Radboud University on ‘psychology and pedagogy of the gifted child’.  Also he continues publishing on the subject.
Mensa the Netherlands ( is very proud of him and the Life Time Achievement Award that recognizes the immense benefits of his work for gifted children!
We are working to start our own Mensa Foundation in The Netherlands, in cooperation with MERF that has its roots in American Mensa. The launch is planned in 2013 when Mensa the Netherlands celebrates its 50 year existence. Further news about that will follow….
For now, I like to congratulate professor Mönks and thank him for his ‘life time’ work!

Read more about Mensa:
Mensa SlimmerIQuiz
Mensa NL 50 years
Mensa Foundation in the Netherlands

Nikhef meets Mensa

nikhef meets mensa  Nikhef meets Mensa

Last weekend professor Frank Linde, director Nikhef helt two lectures (for the price of one) for a Mensa audience. That happened because at the beginning of his lecture, he told that he had two lectures and asked the audience to choose. Mensans don’t choose if they foresee that lots of interesting information is coming up. And Frank Linde accepted the challenge, I think he thought the audience would get satisfied soon enough – but they didn’t. It was a great experience both for the lecturer and for the Mensa members. See the comments of Frank Linde here at his Nikhef blog. It is very funny and gives a great impression of the evening.

I was in the audience myself, preceding professor Linde’s lecture with the formal opening of that Mensa weekend as chair of Mensa NL. During the opening I gave away a puzzle of Japanese Mensa to the Mensa member who was first to solve a riddle. Frank Linde showed immediately great interest. He was intrigued by the Japanese Mensa puzzle – being intrigued the way he was, we call that: ‘potential Mensa material’. And he is right, curiosity is a joy and puzzles are there to be solved.

It is great that so many interesting people are interested in Mensa nowadays. We have transformed from a somehow inward looking club into an organisation open in full communication with the world. High intelligence can be fun: it is more appreciated now than it was in the past and both the world and the Mensa members themselves will profit from that shift of perception!

More info about Mensa at
Read also these blogs:
Mensa Fonds NL born yesterday!
Spanish Mensa and Spanish Princess

Highgiftedness ‘from the inside’

highgiftedness  Highgiftedness ‘from the inside’

A new Dutch book was published with 13 interviews of high gifted people: Ongekend hoogbegaafd / the unknown highgifted by Jacqueline Lucas. She wants to show ‘from the inside’ what it is like to be high gifted, how this advantage can come with difficulties and under what conditions it will develop as a real advantage. The presentation of the book was last Friday, and the room was packed with participants. It was interesting to see how many people nowadays feel for this subject, even claim ownership of the theme. Quite some participants got recently aware of their high intelligence, and were in the middle of the process of ‘what does this mean for me’.

It is very good that talent development gets more and serious attention. The problem side of highgiftedness is still a bit over-represented in my opinion, but let’s hope and contribute so that that will stabilize. We need more policies to profit from the talents that we have in our country.
A recent government study shows that the Dutch education system can do more than average for weak students, compared to other European countries, but it can do less than average for strong students…. And we claim that our future lies in a good and strong knowledge economy. There is some work to be done then! Let’s go for it, and include high gifted people both in our education and in our working environment.

Other blogs that may be interesting for you:
Nikhef meets Mensa
Finals Mensa SlimmerIQuiz coming up
Ik kan vliegen: wow!
Mensa member Angela Riddering publishes book about trust

Left Handers Day and High Giftedness

left handers day Left Handers Day

Last weekend, 13th of August, was Left Handers Day, meant to raise awareness for the special needs of left handed people. 15% of the worldwide population is left handed and that can create specific problems, for example cutting with ´normal´ scissors – designed for right handed people – can cause pain in wrists and other joints. One research even says that left handers die 9 years earlier than right handers, not because of stress as they have to adapt all the time, but because of accidents with machines developed for right handers.

Nevertheless nowadays no minority has only problems, every minority can prove its positive points. Left handers, they say, are more creative because they had to be inventive already in their childhood. Research also proved that left handers are more intelligent than right handers: 45% of high gifted people is left handed, says Sander Reijn, a shop owner for left handed products, in Het Parool newspaper last week.

Well well: since a few years I am the chair of thé high IQ association in the Netherlands, Mensa (, with 4000+ members and how come we do not know. So I looked on the internet and found their website, indicating where the rumour comes from and that it should not be taken too seriously. Intelligent people can be left handed: the article mentions Barack Obama, Leonardo da Vinci and Johan Cruijff as examples. But the reverse is not necessarily true.

When will groups learn that their emancipation does not depend of the supposed extra qualities they bring, but of the courage to be just who they are and create the necessary societal conditions for that.

Other interesting blogs:
Social safety at work for gays and lesbians
Social skills of Gen Y
Mensa Fonds Awards: why?

South Korean wisdom

south korean wisdom South Korean wisdom

What is unique about being a Mensa member (for Mensa, see or is the news and wisdom that can come to you from Mensa members all over the world. This week, a Mensa member from South Korea with a scientific background, enlightened us with this post deriving from South Korean wisdom, that you need to read twice to get to the bottom of it:
Once upon a time, a king ordered to execute a prisoner.
The prisoner cried and cursed that the king will suffer in the hell.
One of king’s subordinates said ‘You are too disrespectful to the king.’
The prisoner responded ‘I will be killed soon, I can say any word.’
Two subordinates returned to the king, and the king asked ‘Did he regret?’
One subordinate said ‘Yes, your majesty. He even prayed God to forgive you who ordered the execution.’
The king said ‘Hm, I must stop the execution.’
Another subordinate interrupted. ‘No, your majesty. It is a lie. He did not regret. and even cursed you’
The king said ‘I know that your words are nearer to the truth. But, his words sound better than yours.’
The subordinate appealed ‘Your majesty know the truth, but I am being blamed to tell a truth.’
The king said ‘He lied but he has a good intention, while you told me a truth, but you have a bad intention. Not infrequently, a lie with a good intention is better than a truth with a bad intention.’ At last, the execution was canceled.
Please learn from this South Korean wisdom and enjoy!

Other blogs you may like:
Maak kennis met Mensa SlimmerIQuiz presentator
Jurylid Mensa SlimmerIQuiz: inventiviteit viert hoogtij
Mensa Fonds Awards: why?
Never ever give up
Nikhef meets Mensa

High intelligence in education

How to explain to teachers of a grammar school what high intelligence means for life and how it works out in educational settings? This was a challenge that Mensa took up this week in front of a group of 40 teachers in the city of Gouda.

We used two movies, a top-down presentation and interactive groups sessions in order to make the teachers enthusiast for the challenges that highly intelligent students offer. It was a good method to get the message across. The more they spoke about it, the more the teachers realized that they have already quite some experience but that there is more work to be done.

How to make students who show average results but could be excellent, work at their level; and how to create time as a teacher to help these students, since a lot of time is already used by students with bad results. Why do students who are very intelligent, have to leave school because they don’t seem to be able to learn simple things like words and grammar in Greek? Being highly intelligent is no automatic guarantee for success; every talent needs to be fostered and high intelligence can ask for specific paths to follow.

It was a pilot for Mensa The Netherlands to visit this school and it convinced us that there is much more work to be done!

You may also like:
Nikhef meets Mensa
Finals Mensa SlimmerIQuiz coming up
Professor Mönks receives international Mensa Award