Fien Hebly
Fien Hebly

Maker: Giorgos Gripeos



Advisor for social innovation and equity

Fien Hebly

LinkedIn profile

Fien works as an advisor for urban renewal and care innovation. She currently divides her time between the projects Leven Lang Leven and the European Social Innovation Competition. She is passionate about societal issues and loves the critical questions that accompany them. In search of answers she enjoys listening to other peoples stories most, “because one thing I do know, is how much we still don’t know.”

After many wanderings, Fien landed at Kennisland. Ze studied Arabic Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and stayed in Cairo and Lebanon for longer periods. She did finance at Studio/K and was a programme maker at an indoor park in Amsterdam. “When I started my master Sociology everything suddenly clicked together. Power dynamics, systems and hidden structures revealed themselves to me and also my own ideas and actions acquired a new meaning within them. I found that social bottlenecks often reside in our blind spots. To explore these can be a painful process, but deerly needed for sustainable progress. Since this time, I try to find these ‘light-bulb moments’ as often as I can.”

Before she joined Kennisland, Fien worked in education for students who are behind in learning. The satisfaction she got from forming a personal bond with her students and their parents resulted in her developing a social emotional curriculum. “I felt the lacking self esteem of my student as their biggest barrier to success. That’s why I wanted to have a separate curriculum in which we could address these issues in a playful manner. The lessons were a big success. Everybody came out positive, while having had the space to have courageousI found that social bottlenecks often reside in our blind spots. conversations.” 

After this, Fien made a transfer to praktijkonderwijs (practical education)++Practical educationOne of the four types of high school in the Netherlands. Children in the Netherlands start high school around 12 years old. Praktijkonderwijs is meant for students who are not able to follow regular education because of their cognitive level. Students eligible for praktijkonderwijs need to have a learning backlog of at least three years and are tested on their IQ. Students cannot obtain a diploma and are schooled towards work as much as possible. This is one of the bottlenecks Fien likes to ask critical questions about. as a group teacher. Here she discovered, first hand, one of the splits in the current Dutch education system. On the one hand there is a big teachers deficit and the need for passionate personnel, on the other hand there is an immense workload that makes it difficult for colleagues and managers to successfully support new teachers. Fien left education with a heavy heart and an unforgettable experience under her belt and started looking for a more enquiring work environment. 

At Kennisland Fien has found a fitting place, because they share her ambition to connect people and ideas with each other and amongst themselves. “In my view, an issue is always connected in a million different ways. The challenge is to untangle the different perspectives, stories and realitiesIn my view, an issue is always connected in a million different ways. The challenge is to untangle the different perspectives, stories and realities., and create a more or less holistic frame of reference of our society and its mechanisms. I see this intersectional approach++IntersectionalityA theoretical framework from the social sciences, which emphasises the complexity of the different identities that form someones ‘being’, especially in connection to inequality. No one is determined by their race, gender, age, class, etc, but people are build up from different identities and factors. in the projects of KL, and more importantly, I see it in my colleagues.”

Fien’s favourite Arabic text is a poem by Mahmoud Derwish (1941-2008) which she had to learn by heart in the second year of her studies. “Illa ummi”, “For my mother”. 


Arabisch gedicht
For my mother

Arabic poem 'For my mother' by Mahmoud Darwish

Maker: Mahmoud Darwish

Rights: All rights reserved


Click here for translation.

Deze tekst heeft een Creative Commons Naamsvermelding-licentie (CC BY) en is gekopieerd van de Kennisland-website. Ga voor de volledige versie met afbeeldingen, streamers en noten naar

This text has a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) and has been copied from the Kennisland website. For a full version with images, streamers and notes go to