Opening Academic Year VU Univeristy 2017: Science for Sustainability
04-09-2017 14:15 04-09-2017 16:30 Aula VU

Opening Academic Year VU Univeristy 2017


‘The new government must pursue a clear, long-term climate policy.’ That was the message delivered by the leaders of the Dutch business community after a three-day expedition to the Arctic. The trip was organized by documentary maker Bernice Notenboom. She succeeded in convincing these top managers by making them see the melting polar ice cap with their own eyes. 

What can scientists learn from Ms Notenboom? How can they get everyone to grasp the true urgency of global warming? And might these lessons also be applicable to other major social issues involving science?

Bernice Notenboom, Bas Heijne – the Writer in Residence, and Jaap Winter – President of the Executive Board, will address this question during the opening ceremony to mark the new academic year. In addition, the British writer and religious scholar Karen Armstrong will receive an honorary doctorate, for her compassionate contribution to the debate about the position of different religions in society. Also, the StudenTalent Award will go to a VU Amsterdam student who has distinguished himself/herself in intellectual and social terms. 

You are very welcome to attend the opening ceremonies to mark the new academic year.


14:15 Reception in the Foyer


  • Start of the academic session in the Aula 
  • Opening speech by Jaap Winter, President of the Executive Board 
  • Lecture by Bernice Notenboom 
  • Presentation of StudenTalent Award 
  • Musical intermezzo 
  • Conferral of honorary doctorate on Karen Armstrong 
  • Reflection by Bas Heijne – Writer in Residence 
  • Concluding remarks by Jaap Winter

16:30 Reception in the Foyer

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