In 2001, Veltman became - together with the American immunologist Barry R. Bloom and the British child psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter - the first honorary professor at the UvA. He was awarded the honorary professorship for his outstanding, international contributions to science, in particular to the physics of elementary particles and fields.
Veltman's contribution was considerable and the current generation of (particle) physicists owe him a debt on many fronts. In the 1960s, Veltman laid the foundation for the Standard Model of particle physics, a theory in which fundamental forces and their relationships to each other are described. In 1999 ,he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with his former PhD candidate Gerard 't Hooft. He received the prize for the elucidation of the quantum structure of electroweak interaction: an interaction between the smallest building blocks of matter, which, among other things, underlies the phenomenon of radioactivity.
Veltman was involved in the establishment of the inter-university particle institute Nikhef, and within Nikhef frequently collaborated with Amsterdam physicists, including from the UvA’s Institute of Physics.