Tessa Roseboom’s new book on giving children a solid start

Published March 1, 2022

On 17 February, Tessa Roseboom, Professor of Early Development and Health at Amsterdam University Medical Centre, launched her new book Gelijk Goed Beginnen (Off to a good start). Supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation and produced by Firma Twist, the launch took place at contemporary music complex TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht and was livestreamed online to 379 viewers. A recording of the launch event (in Dutch) can be viewed here:

The book is a sequel to De Eerste 1000 Dagen, in which Tessa lays out the importance of a child’s first 1000 days in life. Gelijk Goed Beginnen explores how different actors can contribute to a solid start for all children in the Netherlands, creating a climate in which all children have the opportunity to develop their full potential.

Tessa explains how everyone has a role to play in building the foundation for a healthy generation, including national and local governments, businesses, health care providers, the education sector, day care, volunteer organisations and many others. Actions range from schools and day care providing healthy food, to employers and governments supporting parents, and parents themselves simply loving their children.

Credits: Vudinh Photography

The book features interviews in which nine “people with a mission”, from varied professional and personal backgrounds, explain how they contribute to a strong start for children and a better world. Tessa encourages readers to multiply the impact by sharing the message that everyone can do something to build a healthier future together.

“Do your little bit of good where you are” as Desmond Tutu put it in a quote Tessa cited during the launch event. “It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

As well as Tessa’s presentation, the launch event featured an inspiring panel discussion led by Mohammed Azzouz and a virtual book hand-over. Diverse speakers shared how they intend to make a difference, including André Rouvoet (Chair GGD-GHOR), Sharon Dijksma (Mayor Municipality of Utrecht), Geke van Velzen (Director Reading and Writing Foundation), Jeroen Tas (Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer Philips), Michael Rutgers (Director Lung Foundation Netherlands and Chair Collaborating Health Foundations) and Robin de Jong (Chair VDRS).

Credits: Vudinh Photography

The launch further included video messages from Maarten van Ooijen (State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport), Chareaynis (Children’s District Chair for Amsterdam South-East) and Luba (Children’s Committee Member for Amsterdam South-East). Nanno Kleiterp, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Van Leer Group Foundation, highlighted in particular the financial benefits of investing in preventive measures to ensure a solid start for all children.

Gelijk Goed Beginnen is published by de Tijdstroom.