"When we work together, it makes us all stronger"

Pieter Duisenberg opens academic year at Nyenrode

September 6 2021
About Nyenrode

According to Drs. Pieter Duisenberg, chairman of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Dutch society is under pressure. Climate changes, educational transformations and developments in university research force us to stay sharp. Duisenberg gave his speech ‘Universities Without Walls’ at the opening of the 2021/2022 academic year at Nyenrode Business University, in which he referred to the 2030 Vision of the European University Association.  

Prof. Dr. Koen Becking, Rector Magnificus at Nyenrode, welcomed the guests physically present in the room, including deputy of the province of Utrecht Hanke Bruins Slot, mayor of the municipality of Stichtse Vecht Ap Reinders and the Foundation Board, and the audience participating through the livestream. Becking looked back on the last year and half, during which students and participants were mainly educated remotely. “Three quarters of all freshmen at the ssve (mbo), hpe (hbo) and ue (wo) felt lonely to a greater or lesser extent in the past year due to the lack of social interactions. Those numbers worry us. Together with our students we took it upon ourselves to give them the best possible experience. I am proud of the flexibility and perseverance they have shown to make the most of it.”

Anniversary year

This academic year is an extraordinary year for Nyenrode: the year in which Nyenrode celebrates its 75th anniversary. The 2021/2022 academic year will not only be the year in which we celebrate our anniversary and look back on the past. It will also be the year in which we look forward to the future and determine our strategy for the time to come. We are aware of the fact that we ourselves must continue to keep learning. We have to stay relevant for our students, scientists, the corporate world and society.” Becking concluded his speech with the reveal of the anniversary logo. 

Green and digital transitions

Keynote speaker Pieter Duisenberg brought attention to the urgency of university research. The educational impact of universities is greater than ever. “In the current era, there are two major opportunities for the future, namely green and digital transitions. I believe that our universities can and must play a powerful role in shaping this common future. These transformations will determine the next century. And you, our universities, must be the powerful engine to drive our efforts forward.”  

“To meet the challenges we face today and in the decades to come, we need universities without walls. The fourteen universities and the VSNU want to look beyond their own walls. When we work together, it makes us ALL stronger.”  

Memorable moments 

The chairmen of the student societies Jonge Compagnie van Verre (JCV), Vereniging van Accountancy Studenten (VAS) and Nieuwe Compagnie van Verre (NCV) looked back on an eventful year. Sitting still and doing nothing is not an option for Nyenrode’s active student society life. “Despite the obstacles we encountered on the way, we have proven that we take on the challenge and that we are able to reconnect”, said Isabella van der Graaf, chairman of the JCV.

Also the next year will be centered around connection, as she elaborated: “Together with the committees, we are determined to make this year special by making new connections and looking ahead. Major efforts have already been made to ensure that this anniversary year will be a year in which we create and celebrate memorable moments, both big and small, where all members once again will be able to enjoy everything JCV has to offer.”

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