University Day, the annual event for University of Amsterdam alumni and employees, was held on Saturday, 1 June. The event attracted a record number of visitors – some 1,600 alumni, employees and their children. UvA alumnus and ESA astronaut André Kuipers gave the keynote address in the main Auditorium and officially opened a special parent and child programme in the afternoon.
The traditional programme – including the opening speech and the annual knowledge festival in the Oudemanhuispoort – took place in the city centre. The special parent and child programme featuring many events was held at Science Park Amsterdam.
In his keynote speech, Kuipers described his stay at the ISS international space station and the various scientific experiments he conducted during his time in space. Prior to his speech, the band ‘Alderliefste’ played two songs by Dutch icon Ramses Shaffy. Meanwhile, other visitors took part in city walks or tours of various museums, such as the Amsterdam Hermitage, De Nieuwe Kerk, Foam photography museum, Allard Pierson Museum and Hortus Botanicus.
The afternoon programme included the annual knowledge festival in the Oudemanhuispoort, staging two rounds of lectures and debates on topical issues such as European identity, the Netherlands as a tax haven, the labour market in times of crisis and healthcare costs. The 2013 UvA Thesis Prize was later presented to the three winners: Vicky Breemen (Information Law, cum laude, first prize), Martí Perarnau Llobet (Physics, cum laude, second prize) and Laura Lauta van Aysma (Musicology, cum laude, third prize). The special parent and child programme at Science Park Amsterdam included various workshops, spectacular experiments and interactive lectures, giving the children the opportunity to learn more about science and their parents’ University.