’Queen Máxima opens academic year: 'You matter!'

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On Tuesday 5 September, Her Majesty Queen Máxima opened the university year for all universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands at Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The honour was given to the Hanze because the oldest college of the Netherlands celebrates its 225th anniversary this year. The theme of the opening was 'You matter!'.

The Hanze surprised Máxima with a short tour of the Art Boulevard in the Van OlstBorg,  where the Queen talked to former Minerva students Charlie Holper and Beth Wong about their artworks. Afterwards,  the Queen enjoyed the musical performance 'Blend',  which was specially composed for the occasion by the Prince Claus Conservatoire and Lucia Marthas Institute for Performing Arts.

Dreams and talents

During his welcome speech, Dick Pouwels elaborated on the theme of the opening 'You matter'. 'A phrase that you will probably have heard before’, said the chairman of the Executive Board. 'A cliché, perhaps. And yet it's more than that. Each student, each professor, employee or researcher has their own story, their own dreams and talents. That is why we aim to pay more attention to the personal development of the students in our programmes. For example, from September 2024 onwards, all students of the Hanze will no longer receive binding study advice, but personal study advice. The focus will not be on the number of points that you have to accumulate, but on who you are, where you want to go and whether you are on the right track.'

Queen Máxima

Queen Máxima felt honoured to be at Hanze University of Applied Sciences on the threshold of the new academic year during its anniversary year. She recalled how a 225-year-old ideal took flight and became a source of talent. Her Majesty encouraged first-year students in particular by recognising that a new study programme, new friends, a different city, moving into student accommodation for the first time can make you feel insecure. Keep believing in yourself, find your own rhythm, it doesn't have to be perfect. Lecturers, as the backbone of higher professional education and the basis of the knowledge economy, were also praised. Lecturers help students develop and get the best out of themselves. In addition, they lay a foundation for our knowledge economy with education and practice-oriented research. She calls students, lecturers and researchers the pillars of a vital society. A college education helps you discover who you are and what your talent is. Each and every talent is needed, each and every talent deserves a chance. Máxima wished everyone at Hanze University of Applied Sciences a wonderful year.

Presentation of the Henk Pijlman Innovation Award

During the opening of the university year, Claudio Cavalieri received the Henk Pijlman Innovation Award for his graduation research into ammonia pollution in agriculture. Former Executive Board chairman Henk Pijlman presented the award.

Wim van de Donk

The Chairman of the National Committee 4 and 5 Mei, Professor Dr. Wim van de Donk, rector magnificus of Tilburg University, emphasised in his speech that we should work together in education. ‘Realise that you're not just in it for yourself because you're never going to make it alone. We need each other, in this world perhaps more than ever.’

Máxima in conversation with students

Not until she had spoken to students and professors about the developments in practice-oriented research, did Queen Maxima return to The Hague. With Professor André Heeres and Johanna Thomann of the BioBased Economy Knowledge Centre, the Queen discussed recycling polymers and biopolymers in both chemical and biological ways. Máxima talked about student welfare with professor Lies Korevaar and Angela Horst. Together with Professor Floris Boogaard, Joey Koning and Thomas Dol of The NoorderRuimte Knowledge Centre explained how the Climate Tree contributes to a solution against heat and flooding in cities.