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On Thursday, 9 October, the University of Amsterdam held a special certificate ceremony to honour this year’s recipients of the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship (AMS) and Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship (AES). The ceremony – which included a speech by the UvA’s Rector Magnificus Dymph van den Boom – took place in the Agnietenkapel and saw AES and AMS students receive their certificates and pose for group photos.

AMS / AES certificate ceremomy
AES and AMS students celebrate their scholarships. Photo: Dirk Gillissen

A tradition of tolerance and liberalism

The ceremony was officially opened by Prof. Van den Boom, who highlighted Amsterdam’s history as a tolerant, liberal and vibrant city. In her speech, Van den Boom welcomed the recipients to Amsterdam and the UvA before going on to give a few examples of some of the important developments that have in the past taken place in Amsterdam, including the creation of the world’s first stock exchange and multinational, the Dutch East India Company (VOC). According to Van den Boom, the individuals behind these and other developments made good use of the freedom offered to them by the city to ‘take new initiatives and explore unknown paths’. As an inextricable part of Amsterdam, the UvA shares these qualities with the city and prides itself on its long tradition of open-mindedness and social engagement. Concluding her speech, Van den Boom emphasised the important role that students continue to play in making Amsterdam – and by extension the UvA – a dynamic place in which to work, live and study. 

Global flow

Elaborating further on the unique spirit and character of Amsterdam, Jan Nijman, professor of Urban Studies at the UvA, used his speech to briefly discuss the subject of ‘global flow’ – such as the flow of money, goods, commodities and people. According to Nijman, AES and AMS students represent an integral part of this global flow, and by virtue of their international background form part of a select group of ‘global citizenry’. Referring to Spinoza and Descartes, two great minds who were closely associated with Amsterdam, Nijman encouraged those present to use the opportunity to live and study in Amsterdam – one of the cities at the root of this global flow – by learning both inside and outside of the classroom.

AMS / AES certificate ceremony
Prof. Dymph van den Boom, the UvA's Rector Magnificus, presents a certificate to one of the scholarship students. Photo: Dirk Gillissen

Following Nijman's speech, Parika Ganeriwal and Funda Kocaarslan, two scholarship recipients, thanked the UvA for the chance to continue their studies in Amsterdam. Ganeriwal, who hails from India and is enrolled in the Master’s programme in European and International Labour Law, underscored the importance of studying law in a country known for its enormous contribution to jurisprudence. Kocaarslan, who will take part in the Research Master’s programme in Child Development and Education, used her speech to emphasise the importance of studying at the UvA. ‘Without the support of the UvA and this scholarship, I wouldn’t have succeeded in what has turned out to be a life-changing adventure. ‘

The highlight of the afternoon was marked by the handover of the certificates, which was presented to each student by the Rector. After being congratulated, the students were then given the opportunity to have a group photo taken. The ceremony was formally concluded with a festive drinks reception.

About the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship and Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship

Each year, the University of Amsterdam awards Amsterdam Merit Scholarships to outstanding students from outside of the European Economic Area.

The Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship was launched in 2014 and is meant for exceptionally talented Master’s students from outside Europe. 

For more information, please see the link below.