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Frans van Eemeren, emeritus professor of Speech Communication, Argumentation Theory and Rhetoric at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), has been named Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Eberhard van der Laan, mayor of Amsterdam, presented Van Eemeren with the Order on Friday 28 June.

F.H. van Eemeren

Van Eemeren was honoured for his exceptional academic achievements and crucial administrative role within the UvA organisation.

Together with Professor Rob Grootendorst († 2000), Van Eemeren was the founding father of pragma-dialectics, which is an internationally acclaimed approach to argumentation. Pragma-dialectics regards argumentation as a discourse activity aimed at resolving differences of opinion. Van Eemeren helped argumentation theory gain prominence within the field of speech communication and successfully managed to established links with other fields, such as logic and law. He has authored dozens of books and hundreds of academic articles.

The international appreciation for his work is clearly reflected in the numerous awards he has received from institutions in various countries, including the United States and Great Britain. In 2010 he received an honorary doctorate from the Swiss University of Lugano.

Van Eemeren also played a key role in administrative terms. Amongst other achievements, he helped establish the UvA's Faculty of Humanities and assisted in the creation of its current organisational structure, for which he developed the underlying architecture during his tenure as dean.