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Summer 2014

Worldwide Newsletter, University of Groningen

RUG400 festivities attract over 150,000 visitors

The University of Groningen celebrated its 400th anniversary and can look back with pleasure on a successful month filled with festivities which lasted from 15 May to 15 June. It was a month packed with events for students and staff, townsfolk and northerners, contacts and companies, from at home and abroad. The RUG400 programme had something for everyone – parties, sports, knowledge-sharing, cultural experiences. Read more...

Grote Markt

For Infinity: the photos

The opening ceremony by King Willem-Alexander, the Gala Mysteria, the movie, the Bommen Boat Race and the Walk for Infinity... You can find loads of pictures of all the different events which took place during the celebration of our 400th anniversary.

Gift for Infinity

During the month of the RUG 400 festivities special attention went to the Gift for Infinity. Funds were raised for the research project ‘let old be gold’ in different ways. Alumni were telephoned by students, restaurants served special Gift for Infinity daily menu’s, a Gift-event was organized, a fundraising dinner was held in the Martini church, staff and researchers of the University gave lectures around the theme at schools etc. Altogether € 118.164 was raised!

An Eternal Edict: video on 400 years of the University of Groningen

A six-minute video An Eternal Edict. For Infinity, Celebrating 400 Years of University of Groningen features noteworthy moments from the rich history of the University. It begins in the year 1614, when an Academy is set up in the region of Groningen, which has joined the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Not by the pope or a king, emperor or other sovereign, as in other parts of Europe, but by the people themselves. They want a university. Necessary for the development of the city and the surrounding areas; good for society.

International alumni travel to Groningen for the Alumni Weekend

Thousands of alumni travelled back to Groningen to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen. Among them were Charles Drapers (Hong Kong), Agniete Venchiené (Vilnius) and Changhong Liu (Shanghai). Newspaper 'Dagblad van het Noorden' (13 June 2014) interviewed them about their motivation to come back to Groningen. Read more...

Theunis Piersma

Professor Theunis Piersma awarded Spinoza Prize

Theunis Piersma, professor of Global Flyway Ecology at the University of Groningen, has been awarded a Spinoza Prize. Piersma is free to spend the prize, € 2.5 million, on any part of his research he wants: ‘There’s much more to migratory birds than just a genome. They have an incredible ability to adapt to their demanding way of life and changes to their environment. We want to understand the interaction between that flexibility and the environments in which they grow up.’ Read more....

Diederik Roest

In the Spotlight: theoretical physicist and cosmologist Diederik Roest

Diederik Roest’s office exudes the atmosphere you might expect of a physicist: crammed bookshelves, seminar announcements and lots of complicated-looking calculations on the whiteboard. And in the corridor, as well as more formulas, photos of excursions with colleagues and postcards from all corners of the globe. It’s obvious that the scientists here don’t conduct their research in solitude.

summer school

2014 summer schools in full swing

The 2014 University of Groningen summer schools are in full swing. They bring together international and Dutch students, academics, practitioners and other stakeholders to discuss such topics as Dutch infrastructure, oncology, translational paediatrics, bio banking, healthy ageing, global health, the ageing brain, material culture, (cultural) identity, sustainable citizenship, energy (smart grids), microfinance, political economics, law and legislation, Indian culture and religion, and epistemology and cognition. All summer schools are based on research.
In addition to the summer schools taking place in Groningen, the University is also hosting summer schools in Croatia (transitional justice), Tunisia (elections and citizenship) and Tanzania (development). Read more...

Ten historical examples of 'Adding Value to Society' in new brochure

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has been adding value to the society that nurtures it. This happens mainly by educating students to prepare them for their future roles, and by conducting research to shift the frontiers of knowledge. But there are many other ways to advance the general interest as well: initiating social reform, stimulating economic activity and facilitating technical innovation, to name but a few. This brochure provides information about ten cases, selected from scores of similar ones. In its four centuries of existence the University of Groningen has never done otherwise. Ten historical examples, presented in short texts, will testify to this. Read more...

by Jan van der Zee

Unifocus, our online video magazine

In the latest edition:

  • Chinese students studying Dutch - Ten Chinese third-year students of Dutch from the Communication University of China have been studying Dutch at the University of Groningen this academic year.
  • Fast cells - A University team of cell biologists recently won a special race for cells, with participants from across the world: the First Dicty World Race.
  • From the shadows - The University of Groningen owns a great deal of art. Wherever you are in the University buildings, whichever office you enter, on every landing and in every courtyard, you will come across art.

FutureLearn signs the University of Groningen as its first Dutch partner

The University of Groningen joins FutureLearn as its first partner from The Netherlands, and the latest international institution to offer free online courses on the social learning platform. The partnership marks the Dutch university’s first foray into massive open online courses (MOOCs), and comes as the University of Groningen celebrates its 400th anniversary with a month-long programme of activities aimed at establishing its future as a major contributor to education, research and social development. Read more...

Lydia Walter

RUG International Alumni Ambassador Julia Walter chosen as UN Youth Delegate

As part of the International Alumni Ambassador Program each year about 30 enthusiastic international 'alumni-to-be' are selected and trained to become ambassadors for our university in their home countries. We are proud to announce that one of this year’s ambassadors, Lydia Walter, is the selected Austrian UN Youth Delegate of the year 2014. Youth delegates participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. The main focus of a youth delegate’s work is usually the processes that take place in the Third Committee, the arm of the General Assembly that deliberates on social, cultural and humanitarian issues. Youth delegates regularly deliver statements on issues of concern to young people on behalf of their Governments in the Third Committee. Lydia’s predecessor was also a RUG student. We are very proud of them and we wish Lydia the best of luck with her new meaningful tasks.

Jet Vonk

Fulbright Fellow Jet Vonk: an interview

After finishing her linguistics studies at the RUG cum laude, alumna Jet Vonk traded in Groningen for New York. Not because of the city as such, but because she wanted to work with authorities in the field of neurolinguistics during her PhD. With the help of the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship and a clear passion for linguistics and higher education, she sets out to shape the future. An interview with Jet Vonk. Read more....

Ubbo Emmius

The Ubbo Emmius Fund: 2013 in a Nutshell

The University of Groningen set up the Ubbo Emmius Fund (UEF) in 1996 to coordinate its fundraising activities. The Fund, named after the first Rector Magnificus of the University, seeks support for special research and education projects. Read more....

Alumni Chapter News and Upcoming Events

  • We would like to welcome Ronald Holtkamp as the new president of the Swiss Alumni Chapter. The next meeting of the chapter will be on 23 September in Zurich.
  • Alumni in London have come together for the first time on 6 May and we will now continue to plan the official launch of the Chapter after the summer.
  • New York Alumni have organized their very first fundraiser: $4000 dollars that will go towards a project of their choice within ‘The European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing’ (ERIBA) . With special thanks to Eveline Honig van Veldhuizen.
  • The Alumni Chapters in Hong Kong and Singapore organize their next meetings on a date very special to Groningen: 28 August to celebrate Bommen Berend, the Groningen Liberation Day.
  • Alumni in Indonesia are welcome to meet each other and the President of the University on 7 November.

For more information about upcoming events and alumni chapters please contact the International Alumni Office by sending an email to .

Anniversary Video by International Alumni

Thank you to our alumni all around the world for wishing the University well for its 400th year anniversary!

Did you know?

  • More than 600 biomedical students from 59 different countries came to Groningen for the International Student Congress of (bio)Medical Sciences (ISCOMS). The renowned congress was organized for the 21st time from 3 to 6 June. Nobel prize winner prof. dr. Ada Yonath (Scheikunde, 2009) was one of the speakers. Watch ISCOMS 2014 - the Aftermovie.
  • National Student Survey results: University of Groningen student satisfaction grows. Read more...
  • Database online with all professors since 1614.

The editors of the Worldwide Newsletter wish you a good summer holiday!

Last modified:20 March 2020 10.32 a.m.