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University of Amsterdam (UvA) professor of Educational Science Fons van Wieringen was appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau on 20 January 2011. Van Wieringen also received the Grote Stapenning from the UvA, the highest honour for outstanding achievements at the University.

Newly knighted Fons van Wieringen receives the UvA 'Grote Stapenning', the highest honour awarded for an outstanding contribution to the University.

University of Amsterdam (UvA) professor of Educational Science Fons van Wieringen was appointed Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau on 20 January 2011. The outgoing president of the Education Council of the Netherlands received his award from Marja van Bijsterveld (the Minister for Education, Culture and Science) in the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) in The Hague. Van Wieringen also received the Grote Stapenning from the UvA, the highest honour for outstanding achievements at the University.

In connection with his retirement on 20 January, Van Wieringen bid farewell to both the UvA and the Education Council. At a special symposium in honor of his departure, the Minister for Education praised the efforts of Van Wieringen: ‘Under the inspiring leadership of Fons, the Education Council has made an important contribution to the development of Dutch education. He can rightly be called a special star in the Dutch education sector. ‘

‘Grote Stapenning’ honour

In addition to the minister’s contribution, there were also speeches from publicist and writer Bas Heijne and Geert ten Dam, the new president of the Education Council, and also UvA professor of Educational Science. Gerrit Komrij also read out three sonnets about education.

Dymph van den Boom, Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam, discussed the efforts of Van Wieringen in strengthening the scientific and social position of educational science. She then presented the ‘Grote Stapenning’ from the UvA, as a token of appreciation for Van Wieringen’s special significance as lecturer, researcher and governor at the University.

Expectant education

Van Wieringen briefly discussed the main points of his farewell speech at the UvA entitled Expectant education. He stated that expectant education sets the bar high, thus attempting to encourage, not frustrate, the ambitions of students. Moreover, the basic objectives of education are important, such as language and mathematics.

According to Van Wieringen, education also needs to address the question of the meaning of our existence, the question of the meaning of life. ‘Discussing these deepest expectations requires teachers who are able to broach this subject, who know about appropriate historical and current references, teachers with special qualities, and although not all teachers possess these qualities, it is the teachers that do that we will later recall.’ For the full farewell speech see the link below (in Dutch).