Desirée Houkema

Managing Director
National Talent Centre of the Netherlands

Arnhem, Netherlands

Website: National Talent Centre of the Netherlands


Desirée Houkema is the Managing Director of the National Talent Centre of the Netherlands (NTCN) which aims to stimulate talents and creativity for 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.

The NTCN organizes a diverse range of local, regional, and national activities (i.e. network events, expert meetings, and conferences) aimed at supporting the needs of individuals with characteristics of giftedness. NTCN will also host the ECHA2022 Conference in The Hague.

Desirée is involved in a broad range of other activities as well. Social and emotional needs, personal development, twice-exceptional learners, and (preventing the risk of) high-potential drop-outs have her special attention. She works as a teacher for several organizations, and as such she’s also involved in the RITHA programme. Furthermore, she’s providing coaching and training programs for (specialised) professionals about giftedness, talent development, creativity and personal growth. She’s especially focused on adolescents and adults who get stuck in school or life, and who are searching for meaning.

In all her activities, 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. She’s also continuously building bridges between research, practice and policy making. Furthermore, being a parent of gifted children, she's facilitating parent groups to support the emotional needs of gifted children.

For the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC), she’s one of the WCGTC Delegates for the Netherlands, and she's a member of the Council of the European Talent Support Network (ETSN).