The University of Amsterdam (UvA) celebrated the opening of the 2013-2014 academic year on Monday, 2 September. During the opening, a number of prominent speakers elaborated on the theme ‘Amsterdam in the wider world: China’.
In her presentation, Dr Louise Gunning-Schepers, president of the UvA Executive Board, discussed the cordial ties that already exist between China and the UvA. She also presented a special publication to mark the event, UvA meets China, which includes a broad range of contributions from Dutch and Chinese authors.
Fenrong Liu, professor of Logic and vice-director of the department of Philosophy at Tsinghua University, Beijing, spoke about her own journey from the East to the West. Johan van Benthem, professor of Pure and Applied Logic at the UvA, then went on to highlight the centuries-old ties between China and the Netherlands from a historical perspective. As a regular visitor to China, Dimitri de Vreeze, member of the Executive Board at DSM, shared some of his own experiences in dealing with the Chinese people and their culture, and discussed China’s rise as a world leader.
Special mention was made of the new Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship Fund, which will see 15 talented and motivated students from outside the EU receive full bursaries as of 2014-2015. The number of bursaries is expected to increase with the help of future funding from private partners (corporate and private donors).
The musical interlude was provided by the UvA J. Pzn Sweelinck Orchestra, which performed Antonin Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Opus 96.
The ceremony concluded with Nol Verhagen, former director of the UvA and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA) libraries, being appointed Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Henk Heijman, mayor of the town of Bussum, conferred the title on Verhagen in recognition of his special service to the UvA and Dutch society as a whole.