Leiden University bids farewell to Mayor Lenferink
This week, Leiden University bade farewell to Henri Lenferink, who is retiring after 20 years as mayor of Leiden. During a lunch at the Hortus botanicus, with guests including the Executive Board and various deans and former administrators, those present reflected on how much Lenferink has meant for the university.
In a speech to Lenferink, President of the Executive Board Annetje Ottow mentioned the special relationship between the university and the city. ‘The growing ties and synergy between the university and the city and its people has only increased under your mayorship. You sought and forged bonds’, she said to Lenferink. ‘The sparkle you bring wherever you go has been hugely important to all of us. We really are going to miss you.’
Lenferink also received thanks for his commitment to the city and university during. He played a leading role in bringing the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) to Leiden, for instance. And he contributed to the growth and development of Leiden Bio Science Park as well as being an enthusiastic ambassador for Leiden, European City of Science in 2022. Former rector magnificus Carel Stolker praised Lenferink for his intense love of the people of Leiden, great collaboration and sense of humour. ‘You were always there and brought a light touch to things, particularly in your many speeches.’
The mayor was given various gifts during the lunch. He was made a keyholder of the Leiden University Fund for the next ten years by Vice-Chairman Martijn Ridderbos. ‘To maintain our relationship, for now and in the future’, said Ridderbos. UBL director Kurt De Belder presented with Lenferink with a huge, everlasting library card that means he will always be welcome at the university library. And One last surprise for Lenferink was his own spot in the Great Auditorium in the Academy Building: there is now a bench with his name on it.
Lenferink was clearly moved to receive the gifts. ‘The city is very dear to my heart but so too is this university. I have really treasured all the contacts. Regardless whether I was visiting professors or deans, I heard the most wonderful stories. Many led to great collaborations and hundreds of projects in the city. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself.’
Looking back on 20 years of Mayor Lenferink
Text: Tom Janssen
Banner photo: Emile van Aelst