Universiteit Leiden

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Academic ceremony

Opening Academic Year

Monday 4 September 2023
The livestream starts at 14:45
Kloksteeg 16
2311 SL Leiden

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This theme will also be the focus of the keynote speech by Jan Willem Erisman, Professor of Environmental Sustainability and coordinator of the Liveable Planet-Sustainable Futures interdisciplinary research programme. Erisman is also the chair of the Scientific Climate Council, which advises the Dutch Cabinet. After the keynote, students and staff will speak about the challenges of making the university more sustainable.

During the ceremony the LUS Teaching Prize will be awarded to a lecturer nominated by students and a student music company will provide the music. A reception will be held after the ceremony, at around 17.00 hrs.

You are cordially invited to attend this ceremony.

The ceremony starts at 14:55 with the entry of the cortège of students and administrators. The programme starts at 15:00 sharp and is expected to last until 16:45.

Opening speech

Annetje Ottow, President of the Executive Board

A liveable Earth

Keynote speech by Jan Willem Erisman, professor of Environmental sustainability

Sustainable business operations

Vice-chairman Martijn Ridderbos talks with Chris Suijker and Peter van Bodegom


Performed by the Practicum Musicae Orchestra

Sustainability in our curriculum

Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl in dialogue with students Allard de Graaf, Jiahui Plomp and Laura Hommes

LUS Award ceremony

Faye Speijers, LUS chairperson

The concerned voice of our university community

Which concerns are high on the agenda of staff and students?

Closing remarks

Annetje Ottow


Opening speech

  • Annetje Ottow President of the Executive Board

    Annetje Ottow is President of the Executive Board of Leiden University and professor of Public Economic Law at the Faculty of Law.

    After her studies at Leiden University and Queen Mary College in London, she worked in the legal profession for 16 years, first at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and later as a partner at Houthoff Buruma and obtained her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 2006.

    In 2007, Ottow was appointed professor of Public Economic Law at Utrecht University. Here, she served as dean of the Faculty of Law, Economics, Governance and Organisation from 2014 to 2018, and as Vice President of the Executive Board from 2018 to 2021.

    At Leiden University her portfolio includes Strategy, Alliances, external and international relations, Communication, Social safety, Diversity and inclusion and Sustainability.

    She is also the contact person for the (development of the) Leiden inner city campus.

Keynote speech

  • Jan Willem Erisman Professor Environmental sustainability

    Jan Willem Erisman is professor Enviromental Sustainability within the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University. He is member of the Health Council of the Netherlands (Gezondheidsraad) and a member of the Council of Animal Affairs (Raad voor Dierenaangelegenheden). Jan Willem obtained his PhD on atmospheric deposition of acidifying compounds in the Netherlands in 1992 at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. In 2009 he was appointed as extraordinary professor on Integrated Nitrogen Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    It is Jan Willem Erisman’s ambition to contribute to sustainable development of our society. He has done this through developing a career in science, management and commercialisation of technology, all ingredients necessary to fulfil this ambition.
    His work starts with a system view and he uses participatory approaches to work towards practical solutions for pressing societal issues such as sustainable agriculture, food and health, energy and nature conservation. His research has been focused on environmental sciences, climate, biodiversity, nature conservation, energy transition, food production and sustainability of resource use and circularity. He acted independently to help find and implement solutions for sustainability issues using science and fact based integral multidisciplinary approaches.

Sustainable business operations

  • Martijn Ridderbos Vice-chairman of the Executive Board

    Martijn Ridderbos RC studied business economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the postgraduate controller course at VU University Amsterdam. After seven years at Moret Ernst & Young Consultancy, he was appointed Vice-President at Capgemini in 2001, where he managed an advisory group in the field of education, work and income. In 2008, he founded his own consulting firm. 
    Ridderbos became Concern Director of Finances at the Public Prosecution Office (Openbaar Ministerie, OM) in 2013, a post which he, from 2015, combined with the position as General Director of the Service Centre of the OM. Here, his portfolio included finance, IT and facilities management.
    Between 2011 and 2017, Ridderbos was lecturer in Public Management at Utrecht University, teaching the executive master’s Management van Publieke Vraagstukken (Management of Public Administration), and the masterclass in Leiderschap in Cultuur (Leadership in Culture), among others.
    As vice-chairman of the Executive Board of Leiden University his portfolio includes finance , real estate, ICT and research infrastructure, HRM  and (physical) security at the university. He is also the point of contact for the development of Campus The Hague. 

  • Chris Suijker Deputy Director Expertise Centre Real Estate

    Chris Suijker was appointed Deputy Director of the Real Estate Directorate with effect from 1 July 2023. She worked previously as programme manager for the Humanities Campus, and earlier this year became Head of Energy & Sustainability at the Real Estate Directorate. This department translates the university’s ambitions for energy savings, circularity, mobility, biodiversity, climate adaptation and water efficiency into plans that can be implemented within the available investment margins.

    Suijker’s role is to promote discussion and cooperation on these themes within Real Estate and the faculties and units. She is also responsible for monitoring and accountability to the Executive Board and to the government. Suijker believes good communication is essential to achieve change.

  • Peter van Bodegom Professor of Environmental biology and Circular Horticultural Systems

    Peter van Bodegom is professor of Environmental Biology and professor of  Circular International Horticulture Systems within the Institute of Environmental Sciences. He investigates biodiversity and ecosystem patterns to support transitions to a sustainable society.

Sustainability in our curriculum

  • Hester Bijl Rector Magnificus

    Hester Bijl is professor of Numerical Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the Faculty of Science. She is also a member of the Supervisory Board of TNO and commissioner of Impuls Zeeland, the Regional Development Agency. Bijl is also a board member of the Leiden Bio Science Park. 
    Hester Bijl studied Applied Mathematics at Delft University of Technology, where she also obtained a PhD in numerical mathematics in 1999. She also obtained a master‘s degree in English Language and Literature from Leiden University. For her research on applications of numerical fluid dynamics in aerospace and wind energy technology, she received, among other things, person-oriented grants from NWO. She was a member of the first cohort of the Young Academy of the KNAW and also served on its board. From 1999 to 2003, she was a visiting researcher at NASA Langley Research Center for several periods.
    Before coming to Leiden in 2016, where she was appointed vice-rector magnificus, Bijl spent 17 years at Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, where she eventually held the position of dean.

  • Allard de Graaf Student Leiden University

    Allard de Graaf obtained a master’s degree in Governance of Sustainability (Leiden University), a combination of environmental sciences and policy studies, focusing on the most pressing sustainability topics, such as climate change, circular economy and water management. From this background he presented a paper based on BuurtLab070, as an example of what could be gained if neighbourhood and university joined hands. In BuurtLab070, scientists and residents jointly try to reach solutions for a sustainable way of living.

  • Jiahui Plomp Student Leiden University

    Jiahui Plomp is a Company Law research intern at Leiden University. She explores the relation between law and sustainability and organised the lecture series Sustainability & Law for students at the Leiden University Law Faculty.

  • Laura Hommes Student Leiden University

    Laura Hommes is a fourth year student at Leiden University College, studying Earth, Energy & Sustainability. For her last semester, she just started a internship at a marine research institute studying seagrass growth in the German Wadden Sea. Next to university, she is co-chairing a working group called ‘save our oceans’ and also started the webpage Sustainable The Hague with a group of other students in 2021. 

The Van Hagerbeer organ

The first organ to be installed in what is now called Pieterskerk church dates from 1446 and was probably built by Jacob van Biltsteyn from Kampen. In 1639, the instrument was restored by father and son Van Hagerbeer.  To this day, about 100 pipes from the original organ are part of the Van Hagerbeer organ, ranking them among the oldest sounding organ pipes in the world.

Jan Verschuren

The Van Hagerbeer organ is played by Jan Verschuren, who studied organ at the conservatories of Leuven and Utrecht. Organ recitals have taken him throughout Europe. Verschuren succeeded Folkert Grondsma as the organist incumbent at the Hartebrugkerk in Leiden and he is also the university organist for Leiden University and the Technical University Eindhoven. In 2002 he was decorated by the Société Académique des Arts-Sciences-Lettres in Paris for his contributions to promoting French organ music. Today, Verschuren will be accompanied by Bert Crama to handle the various sets of stops.

Practicum Musicae Orchestra

The Practicum Musicae Orchestra (PMO) is an orchestra for and by students from the Practicum Musicae minor. Since 2019, it has been a place where, in addition to individual training, students can gain experience playing in an orchestra and ensemble, and develop their knowledge of repertoire for chamber orchestras. The PMO distinguishes itself from other (student) orchestras by always seeking academic and/or social relevance. For example, in autumn 2022, the orchestra performed concerts featuring only music by women composers, accompanied by a lecture on the art historical background of these works. The performance of SONOS also fits perfectly within this interdisciplinary objective.

Practicum Musicae is a unique talent development programme that offers multi-talented university students the opportunity to also develop at a high musical level. For three years, students take courses at the conservatoire alongside studying for a degree at Leiden University. The programme is offered by the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA), a partnership between Leiden University and the University of the Arts in The Hague.


  • Violin: Sophia Boomsma - Medicine and French Language & Culture
  • Violin: Lisanne van Veenen - Astronomy and Science Communication
  • Viola: Victor Batenburg - Artificial Intelligence
  • Cello: Ivo Bles - Staff member Internationalisation Leiden University
  • Double bass: Ben Carp - Informatica
  • Flute/Piccolo: Bibiana Türkcan - Chemistry

Practicum Musicae Orchestra (website in Dutch)

SONOS (2023) is a four-movement composition for orchestra by Florian van der Reijden. For each of the movements, Van der Reijden drew inspiration from current natural-science themes such as gravitational waves, pattern recognition and the impact of human sound on marine life.

On 4 September you will hear an appropriate taster from a small ensemble: the fourth movement of SONOS, which is about rising sea levels. Van der Reijden not only drew inspiration from this theme, but also incorporated important data into his music. Between the lowest note by the double bass with which the piece begins and the highest note with which the piccolo concludes, you will hear the average change in sea level between 1993 and the present, as tracked by NASA.

Van der Reijden: ‘The result is a melody (or actually more of a chromatic scale) that rises and falls unpredictably, yet creeps unmistakably upward, with no sense of where it will end. This causes tremendous tension, which increases the higher we get.’

The world premiere of SONOS is on 11 September, during the celebration of the 230th anniversary of the Royal Society of Physics, Diligentia. Composer Florian van der Reijden and Leiden University Assistant Professor of Quantum & Society Julia Cramer will then give an explanation of the work, which was written especially for this occasion.

The three nominees for the LUS Teaching Prize were all put forward by their students. Members of the LUS attended a number of lectures and made a shortlist with three finalists. The LUS paid particular attention to teaching innovation, interaction with students and the lecturer’s ability to continuously improve his or her teaching. The prize will be presented by LUS chairperson Faye Speijers.

The nominees

  • Kirsty Rolfe University Lecturer

    Kirsty Rolfe is a university lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. Her research focuses on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, in particular news, political writing, and gender.

  • Paul Gobée Docent Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum

    Paul Gobée is a physician, anatomy teacher and e-learning developer, amongst others of CASK (Clinical Anatomical Skills), a series of interactive e-learning lessons for medical students of anatomy and for surgeons.

  • Frank Takes Associate professor/Director of Education

    Frank Takes is an Associate professor/Director of Education, whose main fundamental research interest is computational network science, focused on methods and algorithms for knowledge discovery from (social) network data. 

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