University Professor Henk van Os received the Distinguished 'Sta-penning' honorary medallion from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) on 28 February. He was presented with the medal by Louise Gunning, president of the UvA-HvA Executive Board. In addition, Van Os announced plans to create a fund for students at the Faculty of Humanities.
Henk van Os accepted the Distinguished 'Sta-penning' honorary medallion for special service to the UvA during the ‘Art and Society’ symposium organised in honour of his 75th birthday. Over the course of his career, Van Os has brought art history to the attention of a wide audience. His public lectures at the UvA’s Illustere School, for example, were a huge success. Van Os also made art accessible to the general public in the Netherlands with the popular TV programmes Museumschatten (Museum treasures) and Beeldenstorm (Iconoclasm).
The Distinguished 'Sta-penning' honorary medallion is the UvA’s most prestigious distinction, presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service to the University, as well as playing an active role in social and executive spheres. Van Os is the fourth person to receive this illustrious distinction from the UvA since 2006.
At the end of the symposium, Van Os announced the creation of the Henk van Os Fund. The new fund will finance travel grants for students and doctoral candidates at the UvA’s Faculty of Humanities. In this way, Van Os wants to make a significant contribution to the academic training and personal development of students and doctoral candidates. The most notable aspect of the fund is that it has been established from the registration fees paid for the lectures Van Os delivered at the UvA’s Illustere School.
Van Os was appointed professor of Art and Cultural History and dean of the University of Groningen’s Faculty of Humanities in 1974 and 1984 respectively. From 1989 to1996, he was the general director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and was subsequently appointed University Professor holding the chair in Art and Society at the UvA in 1996. Van Os regularly holds guest lectures at universities around the world, which have included Smith College Northampton (US), the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History) in Munich and the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. In 2006, Van Os was awarded the Eremedaille voor Kunst en Wetenschap van de Huisorde van Oranje (Medal of honour for Art and Science of the Order of the House of Orange).