The first, cautious, steps

When I walked onto the VU campus a couple of weeks ago, I was confronted by a stark image – deserted buildings, empty classrooms, not a student in sight. How different it was three months ago: a vibrant buzz, animated discussions in classrooms with the lecturers, groups of young people studying together, interacting with each other and with the staff, learning together. lees meer

Open Door

My colleagues and I in the Executive Board find it extremely important that we get input and feedback from the broader VU community about issues that impact the multiple dimensions of student and alees meer

Van Rijn and all that

I have repeatedly stated that the only way that we are going to effectively address the complex real-world problems that we face is to collaborate, and to integrate diverse perspectives, expertise,lees meer

Different strokes

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about how the idea that academics are expected to excel in all aspects of their academic endeavours - teaching, research, knowledge transfer (kennisvalorisatlees meer

Time Out!

I want to focus this column on student wellbeing.lees meer

Design the Future

The institutional plan of the university articulates our goals and dreams and serves as a beacon to guide our policies and processes towards achieving our collective ambitions.lees meer

The Adventure 2018

During my New Year’s address to the VU community last year, I referred to the words of the late Sumantra Ghoshal, and expressed my ambition to work together to change ‘the smell of the place’.lees meer

To the next level

What sort of university are we? What sort of university do we want to be?lees meer

Engaged Students

Is the university simply an institution where you come for an education in your chosen field? Is there more to the VU than the courses you follow as a student?lees meer

Welcome to the VU

To all the new students and colleagues starting at the VU this academic year: One year ago, I was in your shoes. I can remember being a touch apprehensive, but mostly excited about starting on a fantastic new adventure. lees meer

Core business

Education is the core business of a university.lees meer

The New Order

‘The old order changeth, yielding place to new…’ (From the poem Morte d’Arthur, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1835).lees meer

First Impressions

Upon taking office as rector, I remarked during my installation address that I would be spending a great deal of my time listening to the VU academic community.lees meer


Rector magnificus