Universiteit Leiden

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Academic ceremony

Opening academic year 2021–2022

Monday 6 September 2021
You can also watch the livestream of this ceremony on this page.
Pieterskerk Leiden
Kloksteeg 16
2311 SL Leiden

Missed the ceremony?

Read the report and watch video fragments.

Opening of the Academic Year: ‘Take care of each other’

The opening this year will focus on the theme of well-being. The ceremony will be opened by Annetje Ottow, President of Leiden University's Executive Board. Jennifer Cumming, Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Birmingham, will explore the topic of well-being in her keynote speech, and Andrea Evers, Professor of Health Psychology, will reflect upon this from a Leiden perspective. In a round table Annetje Ottow, Hester Bijl and Martijn Ridderbos, the Executive Board, will discuss how aspects of this broad theme fit into the university’s new strategic plan. 

The Leiden University Student Platform will award its annual teaching prize to the lecturer who, according to the students, was the best in the past year and there will be performances by, among others, the S.M.G. ‘Sempre Crescendo’ madrigal choir and spoken word artist Sophia Blyden. 

Simultaneous interpretation is available in English and the ceremony also can be viewed live on this website (livestream). 

From 14:50

  • Cortège of students and administrators
  • Opening by President Annetje Ottow
  • Keynote speech by Jennifer Cumming, with a response by Andrea Evers
  • Musical intermezzo
  • Round table with the Executive Board
  • Performance spoken word artist
  • LUS Teaching Prize awarded
  • Closing remarks
  • Annetje Ottow President of the Executive Board

    Prof. Annetje Ottow studied at Leiden University, receiving a Master of Laws (cum laude) in business law, and went on to receive a Master of Laws from Queen Mary College in London. She worked as a lawyer from 1990 to 2006. Ottow obtained her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in June 2006 and she became Professor of Public Economic Law at Utrecht University in 2007. Ottow was Vice President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University from 2018 to 2021.

    Annetje Ottow has served as President of Leiden University’s Executive Board since 8 February 2021. She is responsible for strategy, knowledge transfer, alliances and external relations, international relations, communication, alumni policy, a safe environment, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability at the University. Ottow is also the point of contact for the campus and for campus development in Leiden city centre. 

  • Jennifer Cumming Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology University of Birmingham

    Jennifer Cumming is Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Birmingham (UK) and a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

    Jennifer’s current research focuses on community-based approaches to developing practical and culturally-tailored interventions for athletes and, more recently, individuals who are traditionally considered ‘harder to reach’. She is interested in how individuals learn to effectively regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours with mental skills training, and determine the impact of self-regulation (or dysregulation) on performance, health, and well-being. Whereas sport psychology customarily focuses on mental skills as a regulatory capacity that athletes use in competitive and non-competitive situations, she more broadly uses this knowledge to support social inclusion, mental health, and health-related quality of life in communities that are more challenging to engage, such as homeless adolescents or care leavers.

  • Andrea Evers Professor of Health Psychology

    Andrea Evers is Professor of Health Psychology at Leiden University and head of the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit. She is also Medical Delta Professor for Healthy Society at Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University. She obtained her doctorate in 2003 at Radboud University (cum laude). In 2011 she was appointed as Professor of Health Psychology of Somatic Diseases at Radboud University and in 2013 she became Professor of Health Psychology at Leiden University. In 2019 she was appointed as Medical Delta Professor, in which she is committed to researching the theme ‘Healthy Society’. For the Leiden-Delft-Rotterdam alliance, she is also responsible for the theme Health & Well-being within the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) Digital Society programme.

  • Hester Bijl Rector Magnificus

    Professor Hester Bijl is Professor of Numerical Mathematics at the Faculty of Science and since February 2021 has been the first female Rector Magnificus at Leiden. She studied Technical Mathematics at Delft University of Technology, where she also obtained her doctorate. As Professor of Aerodynamics, she was Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. She was a member of the first cohort of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and also a member of the board of KNAW. Between 2016 and 2021 she was Vice-Rector Magnificus at Leiden University.

  • Martijn Ridderbos Vice-chairman of the Executive Board

    Martijn Ridderbos, RC, studied Business Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. After graduating, he began his career as a business consultant for government and non-profit organisations. In 2013 he became Chief Financial Officer and Director of the  National Service Centre of the Public Prosecution Office. Until 2017 he was also Assistant Professor of Public Management at the School of Governance of Utrecht University, where he taught public management and public financial management. In May 2017 he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of Leiden University. His portfolio includes finance, ICT and real estate. 

  • Ebrar Kaya Student Middle Eastern Studies Leiden University

    Ebrar Kaya is currently studying Middle Eastern Studies. In the past year, he was active within various co-participation bodies and as chairperson of the university student party LVS. From 1 September onwards he will continue as Assessor in the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Humanities. The assessor is responsible for the portfolio of student affairs within the Faculty Board.

  • Sophia Blyden Writer en spoken word artist

    Sophia Blyden (1993) is an author, spoken word artist, editor and programme maker. Narrating and sharing personal stories is a key theme in her work and she strongly believes in the power of vulnerability to unite people. She writes about and organises events on such themes as feminism, mental health and love. Since 2020 she has been affiliated with art collective ROEM; she also works for VPRO’s Brommer op Zee literary programme.

    Photo: Fenna Jensma

  • Catrin Böcher Chair Leiden University Student Platform

    Catrin Böcher is in the second year of a Master’s degree in Industrial Ecology, having already earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science: International Relations and Organisations. She is the current chair of the Leiden University Student Platform (LUS), the student think tank that selects the winner of the annual Leiden Teaching Prize, which is awarded at the opening of the academic year. The LUS advises the Executive Board of the University – the Rector Magnificus and President – on topical matters related to teaching and student affairs. The LUS was founded in autumn 2013.

‘Sempre Crescendo’ student music association was founded in 1831, which makes it one of the oldest music associations in the Netherlands. The student orchestra and choir are led by professional conductors. In addition, many members play in smaller ensembles, such as the madrigal choir that will perform during this opening.


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