In the Netherlands, Mrs Dorine Burmanje of the Kadaster received a royal decoration. It’s the knightly order ‘Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau’. Mrs Josan Meijers, Mayor of Lingewaard, awarded the accolade to Burmanje on behalf of King Willem Alexander on September 26th, 2019.
The decoration was bestowed upon Burmanje in recognition of her long and active service as Chair of the Executive Board of the Netherlands’ Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency (Het Kadaster). Next to this, her strong involvement in international geospatial activities and land rights played a part, as well as her commitment as Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB). Between 2009 and 2011, Burmanje was President of EuroGeographics. In 2017, she accepted the co-chair for the United Nations Committee of Experts on Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).
When Burmanje started out at the Kadaster in the beginning of the 21st century, it was all about broadening its tasks. The Topographical Service of the Netherlands has been part of the Land Registry since 2004. The same happened in 2008 with the Information Centre for underground cables and pipelines (KLIC). Between 2007 and 2014, the Kadaster added various additional tasks to its roster, including the management of a number of key registries. In short: under Dorine Burmanje, the Kadaster developed into the nationwide focal point of public geo-information.
Compact and transformed
The organization is now geared to technological developments that follow each other in rapid succession. Also, the Kadaster has become more compact and transformed from an institution with ‘cold data’ to an organization that is actively involved with Dutch society. According to Burmanje, data and location-related information contribute to solving social issues. “It is most obvious in natural disasters; a tsunami or the Haiti earthquake. Location-specific information is essential for the reconstruction of a country. If that is not present, there is complete chaos. Examples closer to home are of a smaller scale, but there’s plenty of them.”
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Woman in the board room
Not many women can boast positions as an interim CEO of an energy company (EnergieNed 1995-1999), or as a Secretary Director of a water board (Waterschap Rijn en IJssel 1999-2004). On implementing a quotum on female executives, Dorine Burmanje said in 2013: “More diversity starts with the recruitment of candidates. Half of it must be male, half must be female. And you can always find one woman, I say. So, you can put one man next to her. Then you have a neat fifty-fifty distribution.” As a role model in a technical sector, she consistently shied away from ‘boring’ conversations on gender-issues. Rather, she would emphasize successes under female leadership. Of her own position, she said: “Often, I was the only woman in the board room. I noticed that as a woman, I was infringing on the game that had been played for years. I found out that the percentages will not be increased if men do not participate. Nothing will happen. But whether we should call it brave when men actually give good women a chance, I am not too sure. That should be normal behavior.”
Dorine Burmanje received her royal decoration during a farewell party coinciding with her last working day as Chair of the Kadaster’s Executive Board. “I am honored and very proud of this Decoration and the rewarding work that I was able to contribute to Kadaster and the international community”, Burmanje said at this party. As a consequence of her retirement, she will also step down from her position at the UN-GGIM.