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In the week of 24 September at almost all Dutch universities, a number of lectures will be held out of doors to protest against budget cuts in higher education. This is the first time that academic staff will campaign in so many different places for one week.

Geert ten Dam gives a speech during the opening of the WO in action open-air lecture series.
Photo by Jorn van Eck

The UvA’s Executive Board supports the activities taking place this week. Watch President Geert ten Dam’s video message.

At the end of May, the group WOinActie (‘higher education in action’) presented an ultimatum to Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. They demanded that the government put the outstanding €1.15 billion towards higher education and eliminate efficiency cuts of €183 million. But the minister is not meeting these demands. In fact, the figures presented on Prinsjesdag indicate that even more funding cuts for higher education are planned. Universities will receive nearly €12 million less in the coming year. Meanwhile, the government grant per student has been reduced by a quarter since 2000 and there are 68% more students. ‘It’s unbelievable that a country as prosperous as the Netherlands will continue to skimp on higher education in the coming years. This will lead to fewer lecturers and even heavier workloads. We can no longer offer students what they are entitled to,’ says WOinActie initiator Prof. Rens Bod.

The WOinActie kick-off will take place on Monday, 24 September at 15:00 at the UvA’s Roeterseiland complex, on the quay next to CREA (Nieuwe Achtergracht 170). Prof. Rens Bod will open the event at 15:00 and UvA President Geert ten Dam will then read out a column about the funding of education, followed by ASVA chairman chair Alba van Vliet. After this, Prof. Mark Deuze will give a lecture outdoors on ‘Living Information’. ‘Students, lecturers and administrators are showing through this action week that they are standing side by side in their struggle against cuts to education. The government must respond to the call for greater investment, this can’t go on,’ says Alba van Vliet of the ASVA Student Union.


Monday, 24 September

  • The first lecture, between 13:00-15:00 will be ‘Sociological Perspectives’ by Chip Huisman (Sociology).
  • The official kick-off of WOinActie will take place on the quay next to CREA (Nieuwe Achtergracht 170). Initiator Rens Bod will open the action week at 15:00. Executive Board president Geert ten Dam will then say a few words about education funding, followed by a speech by the chair of the ASVA student union, Alba van Vliet.
  • After the opening Mark Deuze (Media Studies) will present a lecture on ‘Living Information’.

Tuesday, 25 September

  • 11:00-13:00: ‘Introduction to Sociology’ by Giselinde Kuipers (Sociology)
  • 13:00-15:00: ‘Turning Points’ by Matthijs Lok (European History)
  • 15:00-17:00: ‘Practical Philosophy’ by Thomas Nys (Philosophy)

Several open-air lectures are taking place elsewhere in the city - on bridges, in squares and on the street. See full programme on Facebook. For the programme at other universities, see