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During the Opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012 acting president of the Executive Board Paul Doop outlined the direction of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the light of current developments in higher education.

During the Opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012 acting president of the Executive Board Paul Doop outlined the direction of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the light of current developments in higher education. He examined, among other things, the debate surrounding the positioning of the UvA and the intensification of cooperation between knowledge institutions in Amsterdam. Doop also gave a concise answer to the question of whether a merger is imminent between the UvA and VU University Amsterdam: 'No'.

Halbe Zijlstra, State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, spoke about the strategic agenda for higher education. Sander Breur, UvA student and former president of the Dutch National Union of Students (LSVb), gave an overview of the criteria - from a student perspective – that should play a role when determining the positioning of universities.

'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, dealt with, among other things, the like button. This phenomenon increasingly forms the basis of public communication and plays a major role in the evaluation of scientific education and research, according to Van Dyck.

Erik Verlinde, professor of Theoretical Physics and winner of the NWO Spinoza Prize 2011, described what motivates scientific progress and the circumstances under which a ‘Eureka moment’ can be achieved.

Damien Denys, professor of Psychiatry and head of the Psychiatry Department of the AMC-UvA concluded the event with a speech about the tendency of humans to want to fill up emptiness and nothingness.