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On Tuesday, 8 January 2018 the University of Amsterdam celebrated its 387th birthday or Dies Natalis. Rector magnificus Karen Maex opened the celebration with a speech on the transition to open data and open science. Hilde Geurts, professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences gave a Dies speech on ‘The complexity of context’. Honorary doctorates were awarded to Honorary doctorates were awarded to journalist and activist Naomi Klein and composer Louis Andriessen.

'Open Science: Universities in Transition'

In her opening speech Rector Karen Maex focused focuses on managing the transition to open access and open science in a responsible way. Maex argues this requires both a completely different approach to evaluating our researchers and protection against the improper exploitation of our free data. ‘Only then can we continue to fulfil our three core obligations to society: those of education, research and innovation.’

Dies speech: ‘The complexity of context’

In her Dies speech Hilde Geurts talked about cognitive diversity, focusing particularly on people with autism. She stressed the importance of maintaining an academic environment that offers space for different ways of thinking and doing. ‘While some people have a great sense for the context in which something occurs, others have a greater eye for detail. This cognitive diversity is very important for academia.’

Honorary doctorates for Klein and Andriessen

After the Dies speech honorary doctorates will be awarded to Naomi Klein and Louis Andriessen.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein (1970) is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestsellers No Logo (2000),The Shock Doctrine (2007) and This Changes Everything (2014). She holds the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. 

Klein was awarded the doctorate in recognition of her unique work on drawing attention to the adverse effects of globalisation and capitalism in the scientific and public domain.

Louis Andriessen

Louis Andriessen, one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated contemporary composers. Andriessen was awarded the doctorate for his innovative work as a composer.

Musical tribute by Concertgebouw Orchestra

A special feature this year was a musical tribute by an ensemble of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to honorary doctor Louis Andriessen. They played the composer’s piece Zilver in the Aula.