Johan Gysenbergs

Johan – Science Dome and Observatory

I am a cinematographer by profession and have been engaged in the world of planetariums for several decades now. I started to build and organize an observatory/planetarium in my home country Belgium in my twenties. Later I became project manager of the Artis planetarium in Amsterdam where I lived for 11 years. During this period an American planetarium company picked me to become their representative for Asia which brought me to Bangkok for the next 7 years.

That’s why my CV starts with the words:

I grew up and went to school in Europe (Belgium), worked for a US-based company (Nashua, NH), lived in Asia (Bangkok, Thailand) – a background that has given me a unique global perspective on diverse working conditions, relations and cultures. You can call me an old planetarium fox. I started at experimenta in September 2016 by invitation of Kenan Broman.

– Johan, Head of the Science Dome and Observatory

We’ve known each other for a long time. Exciting times then in which I saw the new experimenta literary rising out of the ground. It made me understand the complexity of the Science Dome better which has helped me throughout the years.

As head of the Science Dome and Observatory, I am responsible for a team of Edutainers, operational staff and supervising the observatory, Science Dome and Experimental Theater. Daily organizational duties concern programming and content but foremost create a short- and long-term future for the Science Dome. There is still a long way to go but we are sailing into the right direction. My personal hope is that experimenta takes on a more international approach. I often call Heilbronn ‘Tokyo on the Neckar’. That is probably some wishful thinking on my part because I’ve lived and worked in big cities … but there is certainly some truth to this. There is still a lot of untapped potential.

The best moments are always those with the closest contect to our visitors. It is the only way to determine whether you’re doing your job right. I remember moments when we hosted Girls Day College and I said to myself: That’s why we’re here. Or when a child tells one of our edutainers he likes Moon Pirate.

Knowing you’re part of a process that promotes this understanding makes us proud. Foundational work is important to me and I hope I never lose sight of this aspect of the job. One can also refer to the many challenges to get here as highlights. I moved from office to office five times before winding up here. We had several technical and organizational challenges, not always to our advantage. But because there is nothing to compare us with anywhere in the world when it comes to what we have to offer, we have learned a lot.

experimenta is a luxury employer in many aspects that gives you the opportunity to work in a very professional environment. In many ways, it is obivous that one of the foundation’s genuine concerns is to care for its employees. I am truly blessed both with an approachable CEO and incredible access to knowledge and experience from a broad spectrum of intelligent colleagues.