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During the Opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012, Acting President of the Executive Board Paul Doop outlined the current direction of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) set against the background of recent developments in higher education. Halbe Zijlstra, Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, subsequently talked about the strategic agenda for higher education.

Fotograaf Monique Kooijmans

During the Opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012, Acting President of the Executive Board Paul Doop outlined the current direction of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) set against the background of recent developments in higher education. He examined, among other things, the issue of profiling and the intensification of cooperation between knowledge institutions in Amsterdam.

Halbe Zijlstra, Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, subsequently talked about the strategic agenda for higher education.

After this, Sander Breur, UvA student and former president of the National Union of Students (LSVb) examined the aspects that he believes, from his perspective as a student, should play a role in the further promotion of the UvA's profile.

‘Touching the right chord’

After a musical interlude by the Amsterdam band PIET, three UvA academics from various disciplines spoke in response to the theme 'Touching the right chord'.

José van Dijck, professor of Comparative Media Studies and dean of the Faculty of Humanities, examined, among other things, the like button. This increasingly forms the foundation of public communication and plays a major role in the evaluation of academic teaching and research, according to Van Dijck.

Erik Verlinde, professor of theoretical physics and winner of the NWO Spinoza Prize 2011, outlined the motives behind scientific progress and the circumstances under which a ‘Eureka moment’ can be achieved.

Finally, Damiaan Denys, professor of Psychiatry and head of the Psychiatry department of the AMC-UvA, spoke about the tendency of humans to want to fill up emptiness and nothingness.