A project is only as strong as its participants. At Butterfly Works we have people working locally as well as from our studio in Amsterdam. In our team you can find the heart of our organisation – a dedicated team of designers, strategists and organisers. We proudly present:

Merel van der Woude

Creative Director

Graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Merel is specialised in social design.  As Creative Director at Butterfly Works, Merel leads co-creation processes all over the world, develops mobile service systems, learning environments and social campaigns. She is a star in out-of-the-box thinking and getting to the core of user needs.

Willem Timmers

Freelance Education Designer

As an Education & Communication Designer, Willem gives shape to innovative and context-specific media tools, formats and contents. He has a keen eye for (audio)visual storytelling and uses pedagogical- and design thinking principles to create for (and with!) the end users and other creatives from around the world.

Thais Costa


Bart Leijssenaar

Bussiness Developer

With a Msc. in Business Administration with a specialization in Entrepreneurial studies Bart aims to explore and seize opportunities with a social impact. Bart is currently based in East Africa. His love for Africa grew when he was conducting his thesis research in Tanzania on small business development. Working abroad gives him a lot of energy and new insights.

Dorieke Looije

Project manager

A background in Development Economics and years of experience managing developing projects in the Netherlands and abroad, Dorieke knows how to make a project a success. As Project Manager at Butterfly Works, she makes sure the projects are carried out as planned and motivates and connects people in the process with her endless energy and optimism.

Shirley van der Maarel

Research and Communication Officer

A master of getting to the reason behind the reason, Shirley is able to make the theoretical practical. She studied Philosophy and International development in Amsterdam and completed a Master Human Rights at University College London. At Butterfly Works she works on research and communication, combining her experience in analytical thinking with strong writing skills.

Merel Sas

Freelance Design Manager

Graphic Designer by trade, Merel co-founded design agency ‘178 aardige ontwerpers’ before she started as Design Manager at Butterfly Works. Her added value shows in leading a process that results in a well-chosen design and a successful end product, while making sure everyone’s skills are used to achieve the maximum achievable.

Lewis Just

Concept creator

With a background in service and systems design, Lewis engages projects in both a holistic and user centred approach. As a specialist in social design, he focuses on getting to the core of the user’s needs, wants and desires and designs with people to create concepts that can improve the lives of individuals and communities alike.

Hanja Holm

Managing Director

A natural talent for overseeing processes and thinking ahead, Hanja knows how to make sure any process runs smoothly. She has a background in culture, management and organisation and several years of experience in managing projects. As Managing Director at Butterfly Works she makes sure everyone is working according to their talent while managing the organisation’s operations.

Rianne Doorneweerd

Project Manager

By working and living abroad in remote areas in the past, Rianne is able to manage international projects realistically. At Butterfly Works she works as a Project Manager, using her knowledge of cultural diversities and organisational skills, bringing projects to a success. She studied Visual Art and Design Management and is able to put creativity into action.

Lia Schalkwijk

Financial Officer

With many years of experience in financial administration, Lia works as Financial Officer at Butterfly Works. She has a great overview of the financial side of all projects, while making sure there is time for a personal chat.

Arnoud van der Zee

Supervisory board member

Bas van Berkestijn

Supervisory board member

Michiel Huisman

Supervisory board member

Ineke Aquarius

Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member

Hester Ezra

Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member

Emer Beamer

Co-founder and advisory board member

Anita van Duin

Supervisory board member

Patrice van Riemsdijk

Chairman supervisory board