Maria Ter Welle Prize

2012 - present (until 2012: Sister Ter Welle Prize)

The Maria ter Welle Prize was created by the Willem Kolff Foundation and the Kidney Foundation as a successor to the Sister Ter Welle Prize. The prize is a token of appreciation and incentive for an initiative by a nurse, social worker or dietician that contributes to a better quality of care for kidney patients.

Maria ter Welle (1900-1946) was the head nurse of the internal department of the city hospital in Kampen when Professor Kolff developed the world's first artificial kidney here. Ter Welle was responsible for the care and well-being of the patients treated by Kolff.

The aim of the Maria ter Welle Innovation Award is to create a platform for projects by nurses, dieticians and social workers who provide innovation in the care of kidney patients and improve the quality of life.

The Maria ter Welle Innovation Prize was awarded for the first time in 2012 and consists of a medal with a blue and white ribbon (the city colors of Kampen), a certificate and a sum of 2,000 euros that can be spent on the national roll-out of the project of the winner.

In 2003, 2004 and 2009 the Sister ter Welle prize was awarded and presented to the winner in a public ceremony.



  • Marjo van Helden, nurse specialist in kidney diseases, Radboudumc Nijmegen.
    Marjo van Helden was awarded the prize for her many years of dedication to kidney transplant patients. She is closely involved with patients and their families before, during and after transplantation. Patients and colleagues praise her drive and warm personality. In addition to direct patient care, she has devoted herself to professionalizing the profession for many years. She has made efforts both nationally and internationally and initiates improvements in healthcare.
    Marjo van Helden has been closely involved in setting up the psychosocial screening of people in the run-up to a kidney transplant. The screening is now used in a large number of hospitals in the Netherlands. The information that emerges from this, for example about insight into illness, language proficiency, and self-reliance, is used for optimal preparation and aftercare for transplants.
    Marjo is also involved in the care of young adults, who have to make the transition from pediatric nephrology to adult care. This transition is often a major and drastic step for parents and child.
    Marjo van Helden also developed information videos about medication and blood pressure and an e-learning program for transplant patients. She has been active on the board of the Dutch Transplantation Association and the European Society for Organ Transplantation.
    Katja van Geffen (manager Care & Innovation Kidney Foundation): 'The nomination and all statements of support show a very committed and enthusiastic care provider. Marjo van Helden is a constant factor in guiding patients around the transplant; a very drastic and exciting period for the patient and his environment. Due to her warm, humorous personality, she enjoys enormous trust from patients and their loved ones. Someone who can be approached easily and who gives expert advice. And someone who really put the profession of nurse practitioner on the map. In short, a very worthy winner.'
    Derk Meulman (chairman Willem Kolff Foundation): 'Marjo has also committed herself to the further development of the profession, both nationally and internationally. She has helped to ensure that nurses and other paramedics are united and represented within the Dutch transplant field and in international professional associations. This also allows these professional groups to make their voices heard in those places.'
    Source: Marjo van Helden wins Maria ter Welle Prize 2021


  • Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, no Maria Ter Welle prize was awarded in 2020.


  • Trijntje Kok-Steenbergen (dietician from UMC Groningen) and Magda van Loon (nursing specialist at Maastricht UMC+) are the winners of the Maria ter Welle Prize 2019. They receive this prize for their many years of intensive commitment to kidney care. The prize is an initiative of the Kidney Foundation in collaboration with the Willem Kolff Foundation with the aim of honoring nurses, social workers and dieticians working in renal care. There were twelve nominees. In addition to a medal, the winners receive a sum of 2,000 euros that can be spent on personal development.

    Since this year, the prize has been an oeuvre prize for healthcare professionals who improve the lives of kidney patients. Support and advice from nurses, social workers and dieticians are at least as important to kidney patients as their doctor's medical care.
    John Jacobze (chairman Willem Kolff Stichting): 'Trijntje and Magda are both committed to a better life for the patient in their own field of work. But they have also made a major contribution to the development of the field. The way in which they give substance to their work and their profession is entirely in the spirit of Maria ter Welle.'


  • Sophie Luderer, dietician at the Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital in Nijmegen.
    Together with Louise Witteman, dietician at Robin Health Games, she developed a serious game for kidney patients. Watch the video


  • Peter Janssen, dialysis nurse Maastricht University Medical Center.
    Peter Janssen conceived and implemented the project 'DIAHUB, a small-scale dialysis facility in a care centre. Watch the video


  • Renske Karens, Gelderse Vallei Hospital, Ede.
    Renske Karens came up with a solution for kidney patients 'Let's call it FRODIO! A solution for kidney patients with fluid restriction'.


  • Noeleen Berkhout-Byrne, LUMC Leiden
    Noeleen Berkhout-Byrne was awarded the Maria Ter Welle prize for the idea she developed for The Nefrogeriatric Care Path.


  • Paul Gundlach, nurse specialist, Maasstad Hospital Rotterdam.
    Paul Gundlach received the prize on 26 March 2013 during the Dutch Nephrology Days for the project 'Preventive nephrological care pays off: deployment of nurse specialists in a high-risk population'. This project focuses on the correct follow-up of people in whom kidney damage has been discovered by chance.
    In the Netherlands, an estimated half to one million investigations are performed annually in which intravascular iodine-containing contrast agents are administered. Monitoring of renal function is mandatory for patients undergoing contrast studies, as this may lead to acute renal damage. Many people discover through this check that they have kidney damage. Innovative in this project is the early guidance that these people receive from nurse specialists to prevent further kidney damage.


  • Trudeke Struijk-Wielinga, dietician VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.
    Trudeke Struijk developed an approach to prevent a shortage of protein and energy intake in dialysing kidney patients.
    This is a complication that occurs in 30 to 50 percent of hemodialysis patients. "Not all patients are offered a meal during or after dialysis and therefore miss eating moments. If you consider that they dialysis three days a week and that it is virtually impossible to consume sufficient protein and energy, this means that their condition deteriorates quickly." , says Struijk. "Several protein-rich eating moments per day are very important in order to be able to eat as needed. As a dietitian, I consider it my task to help kidney patients to consume sufficient energy and proteins on dialysis days. During a pilot at VUmc, we demonstrated that it is possible is to improve the intake of proteins and energy through normal diet. I am very proud that I have won this honorable prize and that this example is now being followed nationally."



  • Jannie Smit, Kampen, The Netherlands.


  • Judy Columbo, Brooklyn / New York, United States.


  • Heidemarie Alexander, Furth, Germany.