Desirée Houkema

National Talent Centre of the Netherlands

Arnhem, Netherlands

Website: National Talent Centre of the Netherlands


Desirée Houkema is currently working for the National Talent Centre of the Netherlands (NTCN) which aims to contribute to the optimal development of gifted children, adolescents, and adults in the Netherlands.

With a background in Psychology and Cognitive Science & Engineering (Artificial Intelligence), she previously worked in the field of speech recognition. Around 2005 she started working in the field of giftedness as an ECHA Specialist in Gifted Education.

Currently, she organizes a diverse range of local, regional and national activities (i.e. workshops, train-the-trainers, conferences and expert meetings) aimed at supporting the needs of gifted children, with a focus on issues related to personal growth, talent development, the social and emotional needs of the gifted, twice-exceptional children and (preventing the risk of) high-potential drop-outs.

She aims to connect professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as educational workers, psychologists, health care professionals, parents, and others involved in the life of gifted individuals. The interactive platform is used to share information, learning materials, good practices and tools to support talent development. This platform also facilitates collaboration between professionals in the field of talent development and giftedness.

Being a parent of gifted children, she's also facilitating parent groups to support the emotional needs of gifted children. She started the initiative Peers4Parents, a network of facilitators of parent groups in the Netherlands.

For the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC), she’s one of the WCGTC Delegates for the Netherlands.