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Opening Academic Year

The Opening of the Academic Year is celebrated annually in the Pieterskerk in Utrecht on the first Monday of the new academic year, usually at the beginning of September. Each year, one of the chair groups chooses a theme and provides a substantive programme. The rector welcomes the new students and opens the new year, after which a guest speaker gives a short lecture. During the celebration, music and columns by students and young researchers can be heard.

Examples from recent years: 

2021: Valuable knowledge

Special guests were Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science, and Mardjan Seighali, the new president of the Humanistisch Verbond and director of the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF. 

2020: Recognition and rewards

More emphasis on quality rather than quantity, more attention to differences in the qualities of university lecturers and teamwork, and an open connection to society. In the national project 'Recognition and rewards, the collaborating universities and research institutes are looking for a new balance in valuing and stimulating employees. This Opening of the Academic Year was the starting signal for a programme in which this important theme will be given concrete form at our university.

2019: Transfer of rectorship

The chain of office that Prof. Joke van Saane received from departing rector Gerty Lensvelt-Mulders was designed thirty years ago by goldsmith Gijs Bakker and consists of a square and a circle, they symbolise rationality and emotion. There are philosophies of science that argue that the two are incompatible. Science is objective, emotion should stay far away from it. The departing and coming rector pondered the question of how the University of Humanistic Studies, as a university of philosophy of life, tries to involve both. 

More examples can be found on our Dutch web page.

Opening Academic Year