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October 2010


Back to college Sustainability is here to stay Message from Moscow

erasmus alumni magazine

Philosopher amongst politicians A day in the life of alumnus Ronald van Raak

Waarom Erasmus Academie Algemene informatie

Erasmus Academy New Energy! Mastercourse Energy Finance

Masterclass Cradle to Cradle® in Higher Education

practice and to anchor it in Dutch society. However there are drawbacks to this fast success: interpreters of the concept are not always fully aware of the entire range of thoughts or do not possess the right skills to put the ideas into practice. Besides, the enormous attention from society for C2C leads to questions from the academic world. Students and lecturers include the concept more and more in their studies, their education or research. The masterclass Cradle to Cradle® has been especially developed for the world of education, for example academic staff, PhD-students, lecturers and professors. It is also possible to partake as an interested party from a municipality or any other public institute. The ultimate goal is to reach, guarantee and maintain the quality of the C2C-concept, as to ensure that within the many initiatives the right knowledge is applied and passed on to future generations.

Since the introduction of the Cradle to Cradle® concept in the Netherlands in 2006 there have been many public and private business initiatives to develop the concept in

For more information or registration, go to:

Like common stocks, energy is a product that does not differ in quality or characteristics between several providers. This implies that energy firms compete in price and in absorbing the risks from changes in the prices of energy contracts. Therefore, proper portfolio management and risk management will be the key to survivorship and success. After this course, participants may expect to have obtained a thorough understanding of key issues in portfolio and risk management, derivative valuation and asset valuation in the current international energy markets. For more information or registration, go to:

All our programmes are created in close cooperation with faculty of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Erasmus Academy offers postgraduate education for professionals and organizations. We translate high-grade scientific knowledge into specialized training programmes. Courses focus on the specialized know-how needed by today’s professionals. Find a complete list of courses on: Erasmus Academy is easily reached both by car (via the A16) and public transport (metro, tram 7 or 21). Course participants have access to free parking at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Erasmus Academy, Institute for Postgraduate Education Burgermeester Oudlaan 50, Expo- en Congrescentrum EUR PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam Tel: +31 10 408 1839 E-mail: Internet:

Talent knows no borders 

Founded in 2009 to give financial support to talented students outside the EU who are not entitled to regular financing and are often entirely dependent on scholarships. To ensure the success of this fledgling fund, we urgently need the support of you, our alumni.

Will you join us in helping to develop the talent of tomorrow?

Erasmus University Rotterdam

You can make a contribution by transferring funds to the Vereniging Trustfonds EUR, bank account number, referring to the Erasmus Scholarship Fund. Your contribution will go directly, and in full, to the foreign student who needs it, thereby enriching the educational climate of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.


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To find out more about the Erasmus Scholarship Fund visit or contact EUR’s Alumni & Corporate Relations Office on +31 10 408 1815.


Preface October 2010

Dear alumnus, A tradition has been restored. Erasmus University Rotterdam once again has its own alumni magazine, Erasmus Alumni magazine, or EA for short. It will, for now at least, be published twice a year and keep you up-to-date with what is happening on both the Hoboken and Woudestein campuses in Rotterdam. While compiling this magazine, we did not just consider what binds you all to this wonderful university, but also what connects you to each other. It seems that you all have various character traits in common. For instance, you appear to be enterprising and risk-taking; you all share the ‘roll your sleeves up and get on with it’ mentality typical of Rotterdam, as well as the open-mindedness to the rest of the world that also characterizes the city. So it came as no surprise to read in a recent study by Intermediair that most high flyers in the Dutch business world came from Erasmus University. And this mentality pays off in the world of science too. The prestigious Leiden Ranking puts Erasmus University Rotterdam sixth in Europe and it is the highest-ranked university in the Netherlands. With particular regard to our centenary (8 November 2013) and to the significant changes planned over the coming years (both campuses will be thoroughly modernized), we want to increase your involvement in our affairs. Increasing international competition and the need for new funding streams for our research and education both demand we raise our profile, and we will need you as ambassadors and partners. You could become an involved and active member of the general alumni association or of one of the faculty alumni associations. Or you might help us by creating internships for EUR students within your business or organization. Your help will strengthen Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Pauline van der Meer Mohr, Chair of the Executive Board, Erasmus University Rotterdam



We hope you enjoy our new magazine. Questions and comments can be sent to P.S. You can activate your profile in the Erasmus Alumni Network by going to

Erasmus Alumnimagazine Erasmus Alumni Magazine/EA is published by the Staff Department Marketing & Communications at Erasmus University Rotterdam Edition Volume 1, EA 01 October 2010

Editorial address EUR, Dept. SM & C PO Box 1738 3000 DR Rotterdam Managing Editor Carien van der Wal, Alumni and Corporate Relations Officer

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Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief Wieneke Gunneweg, Desk Editor Mieke Fiers Translation Linda Cook Advertising Carien van der Wal, Lukas Voesenek, Hennie Boes

Contributors Lobke van Aar, Tim Gouw, Ronald van den Heerik, Kysia Hekster, José Luijpen, Geert Maarse, Marjolein Marchal, Pauline van der Meer Mohr, Daan Rutten, Bas van der Schot, Ebru Umar, Kees Vermeer, Levien Willemse, EUR faculties, including Erasmus MC, IHS and ISS

Printing Habodacosta, Vianen Design Unit20: Yoe San Liem and Maud van Velthoven Cover Ronald van den Heerik

Editorial Advisory Committee The EAC consists of faculty representatives and alumni associations and has an advisory role in the development of EA. © Erasmus University Rotterdam No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent from the publishers.

Contents 06 Back to college 08 Erasmus news 10 A day in the life of Ronald van Raak 15 Column: Ebru Umar 16 Entrepreneur meets starter


19 Across borders 20 Focus on research 22 Science news 24 Erasmus University and sustainability 29 From Rotterdam to Moscow 30 Alumni affairs 34 Column: Pauline van der Meer Mohr 35 Inaugural speech 36 That’s why Rotterdam 37 Quote 39 Family portrait


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Back to college

Nienke Albersen-Vergouwen: ‘I’m looking for the balance between hard work and happiness.’

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Some of the professors remembered me from the first time around Go back to college after a decade or so? That’s what Nienke Albersen-Vergouwen (38) did. Nienke, from Kijkduin, followed Erasmus University’s Refresher Programme for Lawyers in 2009. ‘This time I did find Criminal and Administrative Law interesting.’ text Kees Vermeer photo Levien Willemse

When were you at university? ‘In 2003 I graduated in International Private Law, specializing in intellectual property.’ What did you do when you graduated? ‘I worked in my father’s music business, where I still play a role as legal advisor. My husband’s work took us to Singapore where we lived for five years together with our two children. They are now eight and five.’ What made you decide to follow the Refresher Program? ‘I guess I’m typical of those mothers who want to dedicate themselves to their children while they’re still young, then return to work as soon as possible. When we returned to the Netherlands in 2008, my husband’s employer told me about the refresher course. The main reason I wanted to do

‘It’s tough. You must have the discipline to bury yourself in books again - alongside all your other daily tasks.’ it was to re-orient myself; to find out what I really wanted and where my passion lay.’ Now that you’ve finished the year – what has it given you? ‘It has broadened my horizons. Some people in my group were focused on finding a job, but I realized that I didn’t want to work just for the sake of it. I will definitely look for employment, but it will have to be something I enjoy and that challenges me intellectually. I might combine paid employment with voluntary work – helping people who need legal advice for example. I want to invest my knowledge in something significant. I’m looking for a balance between hard work and happiness. That’s what I will be focusing on in the near future.’

What was it like to be back at EUR? ‘It was a déjà vu! Not much had changed. It was funny – quite a few professors recognized me from my first time around, which surprised me, I wasn’t someone who spent a great deal of time at lectures… The EUR is sometimes seen as big, businesslike and impersonal, but that’s not an accurate picture.’ What did you think of your fellow students? ‘I found them grown-up, in touch with what was going on but at the same time self-conscious. And I saw a lot of different cultures, which I liked, because that is how society is these days.’ What did you like about the course? ‘That I got to study every subject again. This gave me a chance to become interested in areas that didn’t appeal to me before. During my studies I wasn’t very interested in criminal or administrative law. Now I found it fascinating.’ What was it like to have to study again? ‘Tough. You have to be able to concentrate on your study material for an entire day, as well as have the discipline to bury yourself in books again, alongside all your other daily tasks. But I did feel that I was doing something serious. It wasn’t just a short course of a few weekends. It takes a whole year, so you demonstrate commitment by taking it on. How much time did it take? ‘I had college all day on Friday, and then got assignments to do at home. If you wanted to get everything out of it, you’d probably have to spend 25 hours a week on it.’ How easy was it to combine the course with regular family life? ‘It took a while before it became just another part of my life. I did the course with a friend, and at the beginning we would call home regularly to make sure everything was OK. And we’d race home at the end of the day. But my family soon got used to me not always being available and it wasn’t long before I could close the front door and leave everything behind me. We would even have a meal together after a day at college, it became an evening out. In the end, it was definitely worth it.’ Want to study again? The EUR organizes postgraduate courses and workshops across a broad range of fields. Visit or onderwijs for more information

erasmusalumni. magazine


Erasmus news


That’s the year in which Erasmus University Rotterdam celebrates its centenary – in a big way. What started as the Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool in 1913 remains an enterprising and society-oriented university. Under the banner ‘Erasmus 2013: At home in the World’, the university has put its plans for its centenary celebrations on paper. The main goals are to grow student numbers, improve the quality and academic achievement of its education, to strengthen its top-level research groups and boost regional cooperation. You can read the entire strategy document on the EUR website.

More room for medical school Over the next few years, medical students at Hoboken will be given more space in which to study. A new Education Centre, now in its final stages, is being built against the faculty building. Rotterdam firm Claus en Kaan Architecten has taken the Queridoplein as the central focus for the design. The square will be given an impressive roof, transforming it into a covered courtyard that will house a medical library as well as facilities for students to study on their own. A variety of teaching rooms will be built around the courtyard. The centre is scheduled for completion in 2011. You can find more information at www.

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EUR focuses on education

Over the next few years Erasmus University is broadening its range of training courses, focusing particularly on education-oriented programmes. From the start of this college year, EUR students can obtain their second-degree teaching certificate in six months by following a new education minor. Participants attend various lectures to master teaching skills and then take up an internship at a secondary school in the Rotterdam area. The education minor is open to students of economics, history, social studies and philosophy; they will only be qualified to teach in their own field of study. The idea for the new course was prompted by the shortage of academically qualified teachers, as well as by the fact that there was no academic teacher training course in the Rotterdam area.

Two other new initiatives are a bachelor and master degree in Educational Sciences that should take off next year; the bachelor is expected to be launched in September 2011. The university is also setting up a university college: a multidisciplinary, small-scale bachelor degree that will link big scientific questions to major societal issues; the plans will need to be submitted to the Ministry of Education by the spring of 2011. With these new courses, the university wants to offer a more diverse range of training programmes to students in the region. (photo: LW)

Cooperation is the new competition

The OECD was clear: while the Rotterdam region boasts a lot of know-how, there isn’t enough collaboration between different centres of learning. Colleges and universities in Rotterdam and Delft need to link up and share their expertise.

Erasmus abroad

By becoming more international, the Erasmus University hopes to establish long-lasting contacts in the area of research. Currently the EUR is focusing its efforts on three nonEuropean countries: China, India and Brazil. There are plans to visit these countries in 2010 and 2011 and the trips will include activities for alumni. With over 70,000 students in higher education, Rotterdam and Delft together form the second largest teaching area in the Netherlands - this is important when it comes to creating economic spin-offs and opportunities for the region. However, according to the OECD there is a significant lack of interaction between the different centres of learning. These findings have led to establishment of the Regional Knowledge Economy agenda to focus

on sustainable innovation, high-quality medical research and education, talent and innovation over the coming years. That cooperation is the new competition is a belief shared by the EUR. During the opening of the new academic year, the university announced that it intends to strengthen its ties with TU Delft and the University of Leiden. (photo: Rotterdam Marketing)

‘If I look back at my life and wonder how it all could have happened to me, I realize how grateful I am to the Erasmus University for teaching me to think and be inquisitive.’ European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, guest speaker at the opening of the academic year, recalling her own time as student at the Rotterdam university.

Woudestein to become a real campus

Over the next few years Woudestein will add a new sports building, a student pavilion and extra student accommodation to its current site. Parking spaces will disappear underground and more green spaces, with water, will be created. This will all give the university the feel of a real campus, making it a place not just for education, but also for recreation, with facilities for sporting and cultural events for residents and visitors alike. 2013 should see the completion of the first part of the project. For more information go to op_de_campus/ontwikkeling_campus/

erasmusalumni. magazine


A day in the life of Ronald van Raak

Philosopher amongst politicians Alumnus Ronald van Raak

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These days Ronald van Raak is a well-known MP for the Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij) in the Netherlands. He studied philosophy and social history at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. EA met up with him during a hectic Budget Day (Prinsjesdag). text Daan Rutten photo Ronald van den Heerik

The first politicians start to trickle out of the Binnenhof in The Hague. Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrats, CDA) walks past, laughing as he goes. Sietse Fritsma (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) rushes off homewards and a police cordon drives away from the Binnenhof in the direction of the Binnenhofplein. Ronald van Raak is at the heart of the country’s affairs, one of the people who call the shots in the Netherlands. But what does this mean in practice? Well one thing it means is that Van Raak has to go through an awful lot of security doors each day. Today, he’s weighing up how many people can pass through the reinforced revolving doorway that gives access to the plenary hall. ‘Be careful,’ he warns, ‘only 130 kilos at a time! A Christian Democrat MEP got stuck in the doors once – apparently he was over the weight limit, all he could do was cry for help.’ It is the third Tuesday in September and Ronald van Raak, who always seems to be smiling, has just left the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) carrying the famous briefcase that contains the Budget Memorandum and the National Budget and is presented to the Tweede Kamer (equivalent to the British House of Commons). ‘The Queen’s very first sentence was poignant,’ he says, with the look of someone who senses an opportunity. ‘There was an immediate buzz in the room.‘ Queen Beatrix had already used the words ‘stable government’ earlier that day, in her Queen’s Speech. ‘And the Queen’s Speech,’ continues Van Raak, ‘is written by the prime-minister. Could it be that Balkenende isn’t so pleased after all with the imminent coalition of the VVD, CDA and PVV?’

Maelstrom of media democracy

Ronald van Raak in the building of the parliament on Budget Day.

But there’s not much time to ponder the question. In the Eerste Kamer (roughly equivalent to the House of Lords), where Van Raak spent three years, he had time to read, reflect, and spend time in quiet argumentation. Now, in the ‘maelstrom of media democracy’ as he calls it, he spends his days catching up on the latest developments with colleagues,

erasmusalumni. magazine


A day in the life of Ronald van Raak

receiving accolades and talking to journalists. This afternoon for example he will be answering the ‘Throne Phone’, a phone line allowing people to call the Socialist Party with their response to the Budget. ‘This means we know immediately what the country is thinking.’ Nearly all of the party’s MPs take a turn on the ‘Throne Phone’, even those at the top, and calls are received in a special room, where eyes are also often trained on a widescreen TV; especially today, in the light of the breaking news that someone has thrown a tealight candle at the Royal Coach. ‘Hello ma’am.’ Van Raak answers. ‘You’re through to the SP’s Throne Phone.’ He listens to an elderly lady talking on the other end. ‘She asks herself why she feels so superfluous in today’s society,’ he explains. ‘She says she’s worked since she was 14 years old and now, suddenly, she’s a “financial problem”. That’s awful, really. And it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. These are the sort of people that I make sure I have time to talk to.’

Small shopkeepers The back rooms of the Socialist Party are convivial, not least because everyone seems to be talking with a Brabant accent. But appearances can be deceptive. Things are getting done, decisions being made. Van Raak: ‘It’s actually quite dynamic.’ He winces as he uses the word. ‘It’s such a neo-liberal term.’ Van Raak compares MPs to small shopkeepers. ‘They do the buying and the stocktaking, operate the cash desk and manage the warehouse.’ He has one person to help him but that person also helps other SP-ers in Home Affairs department. Van Raak makes the best of the situation. His portfolio covers police and safety, water boards, domestic governance, the Royals, Antillean Affairs, the Home Office and General Affairs. ‘When I was studying I learnt to absorb a lot of material, but this is very different. Sometimes I have just 15 minutes to go through a thick sheaf of papers and I’m then asked my opinion on its content. It certainly teaches you to get to the core of something fast.’ And that’s not all. He also has to face journalists

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most mornings, often on the train on the way in to work. And he receives literally hundreds of emails and phone calls each week from people who all seem to want something from him. He smiles. ‘The gist of most mails is: I want you to arrange this for me and it is urgent.’ That’s just the way it is. Obviously I’d prefer it if someone would say: I would like this to change and I’m willing to take action myself but would very much appreciate your support. Still, I feel priveleged that people come to me with their problems. That’s the thing about being an MP – because we can protect our sources, people trust us and are willing to take us into their confidence. And we get to hear all sorts of things; there were dubious practices at the national police organization vtsPN for example, too much money was apparently being spent on external parties. At other times you don’t get to hear anything significant. Unfortunately I can’t help everyone, but I do reply to all requests. An MP is on the go 24/7. It’s a vocation, a calling. I work 80 hours a week – and that really is 80 hours! Not like a manager who says that he works 80 hours a week,’ he laughs.

Land of plenty During his philosophy studies at the Erasmus University, students were encouraged to be free and independent thinkers. And he’s still reaping the benefits of this today. ‘You have to retain your independence,’ he says. It’s easy to regard the Binnenhof as an enticing ‘Land of Plenty’, where everyone wants to be your friend. Van Raak is standing on the bridge as he talks and points to the milling crowd below. ‘It’s not just like that on Budget day,’ he points out. ‘But every day. There is always something going on, often organized by lobbyists from some association or other, who make it very easy to join them. I know most of their stories by now and to tell the truth I can’t really relate to many of them. They always represent some standpoint or other, and are often from a particular company. That’s fine, but I’d rather invest my time representing the interests of the man and woman in the street. Last year for example, I initiated a research study amongst 10,000 members of the police force. What came

out tallied with the recent findings of the TV programme EenVandaag, that they were dissatisfied, and rightly so. For years people had only looked at the figures and thought they could be cut. But in practice this wasn’t possible. Together with Hero Brinkman from the PVV, I took the police interests on board - the VVD was with us too – and agreements were made. These seem to have been forgotten in the new budget but I’ll make sure that they’re kept.’ Van Raak retains his independence when it comes to the lobbyists, but can he remain the freethinking philosopher within the constraints of his own party? According to Van Raak it’s a myth that the SP keeps a hold on the reins from the top. ‘As a leader, Jan Marijnissen was an especially good listener, and Emile Roemer is the same. Good leaders are always good listeners. I agree with the ideology of the SP. Everything is openly discussed. Of course, sometimes I disagree with certain aspects of policy, but it’s always just a question of the details. And you do lose occasionally - but that happens in politics, it’s all part of the package. In the end, we’re stronger because we stand together.’ This attitude led to a lot of discussion during his university days. He remembers philosopher Jos de Mul, and Henk Oosterling, of whom he has fond memories. ‘Oosterling was a great person to have as a lecturer,’ he recalls. ‘He had a remarkable physical presence, perhaps because he practiced martial arts. Anyway, the two of us regularly had lively discussions. He was too much of a freethinking anarchist for me, a deconstructivist. I believe more in freedom through unity. Society has to have enough structure in place before its citizens can be really free. Perhaps that’s why our discussions often became so heated.’

Time for thought Van Raak finds the pressure of the media too much at times, though he admits to his part in it: ‘When I agree to formulate a political opinion within 15 minutes for instance. Mind you, these days, if I need longer to think about something I’ll say so. Journalists looked at me askance at first, but they know to expect this from me now. But

Other EUR alumni in Dutch politics Ronald van Raak is not the only alumnus who went into politics. Others include: > Jan Kees de Jager, Minister of

Finance in Balkenende IV Studied social economics, business economics and Dutch law > Ab Klink, Minister of Health,

Welfare and Sport in Balkenende IV Studied sociology > Eimert van Middelkoop,

Minister of Defence and Minister of Housing and Integration in Balkenende IV Studied sociology > Neelie Kroes, European

Commissioner for Digital Affairs, formerly Minister of Transport (amongst other posts) Studied economics > Marianne Thieme, leader of

the Partij voor de Dieren (Party for Animals) Studied Dutch law > Ruud Lubbers, former Prime

Minister and UN Commissioner Studied economics > Herman Heinsbroek, Minister of

Economic Affairs in Balkenende I Studied law > Cees Veerman, Minister for

Agriculture, Wildlife and Fisheries in Balkenende I, II and III Studied economics > Jan Pronk, Minister in the

cabinets of Den Uyl, Lubbers III, Kok I and II, held several positions in the UN Studied economics > Frans Weisglas, former chairman

of the Tweede Kamer Studied economics > Joost Eerdmans, former MP for

the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF), now an alderman in Capelle a/d IJssel Studied public administration ‘Anyone can call the SP’s Throne Phone on Budget Day.’

> Ersilia de Lannooy, Minister of

Finance Curaçao Studied Business Administration

erasmusalumni. magazine


A day in the life of Ronald van Raak

‘You’re an MP 24/7’

we definitely operate, in part at least, in a ‘media democracy’ and that definitely has its impact on politics. If there are cameras present at a debate, some politicians will go for the sound bites, the one-liners. They want to make their point in front of a camera. Thankfully, most debates aren’t followed on cameras and there is time for dossiers to be discussed in depth and for arguments to be

‘I think the SP could be a bit more fierce’ exchanged and evaluated. People will then consider the standpoint held by somebody else and try to come up with a solution together. That’s why I trust the political process. Parliament is a powerful body. When the matter being discussed is an important one, and 76 seats all want the same thing, then you’ll see this happening. Of course you lose some-

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times – and if you can’t take it then you shouldn’t be in politics. But when a whistle-blower comes to me with a report that the minister or ministry (whose vision is coloured, naturally) doesn’t refer to, then I will make sure they see it. We have to respond then, and it makes sense to do so.’ What Van Raak finds frustrating, and doesn’t understand, is why the current wind is blowing from the right at the Binnenhof, especially since he believes that it’s the neo-liberal idea that ‘greed is good’ that has caused the mess in the first place. ‘While many people seem to share the ideals of the SP, they don’t seem to have faith in our solutions. And we’re to blame for that. We could be a bit more fierce.’ As we talk, new munition arrives via the Throne Phone – someone from a security firm volunteering to be a contact. And a woman who comes up with an interesting new term for Shares Tax. ‘Speculation Tax,’ ponders Van Raak. ‘I haven’t heard that one before - that’s a good one, madam.’

Via science into politics Ronald van Raak (1969, Hilvarenbeek) studied social history and philosophy at the EUR. He wrote his thesis, The Modern Fool, on Bertolt Brecht. Initially it looked as though he would make his career in science but he graduated in 2000 with a dissertation on conservatism in the Netherlands. He shifted to the left however and spent time doing research for the SP’s Scientific Research department, where the party selected him as a candidate for the Eerste Kamer; he became a member in 2003 and joined the Tweede Kamer in 2006.


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Column Doing your own thing They’re so young, the kids who find their way to my mailbox. They want to interview me for their course on interview techniques. And when I appear in public they come up and press me with questions: ‘I want to do what you do. What did you study?’ They address me formally these kids, using the ‘u’ form. I don’t consider myself old enough to be addressed like that. And I certainly don’t think I look old enough! If I’m not wearing make-up, and not dressed like I’ve just stepped off a catwalk, people usually take me for 10 years younger than I am. I was young too, even younger than them, when I studied law at Erasmus University. I wanted to study Business Administration but we had to draw lots because of the limited number of places and I didn’t get in. It was the first time in my life I didn’t get what I want. So I found myself doing law. Law is what people choose when they don’t really know what else to do, when they want to play safe, study something that could take them in any direction. And it’s not a bad choice for the 98% of students who study just because a university education is what is expected of them, not necessarily because they know what they want to do. These students talk without shame about spending six years of their life ‘having fun’ at university, all of it paid for by Mummy and Daddy. Of course, Mummy and Daddy will expect a diploma at the end of those six years but that’s just part of the deal. Anyway, after one year doing law, I got to study Business Administration after all and that’s when everything came together. It was as if I was born for that study – I loved it. I got to travel, spent time on an internship abroad and got a kick out of working on different projects. I had a great time. I went on to work in business for 10 years, for ING and WoltersKluwer. During that time I asked myself what it was that set me apart from my friends who had followed the same study. What made me unique? What could I do that they couldn’t do? I finally found out. I was a columnist. I could write, debate, argue and communicate. So if a 17-year-old girl comes up to me now and asks: ‘I want to do what you do. What did you study?’ I reply: ‘Business Administration. But it doesn’t matter what you study. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, and remain true to yourself, then you will always end up doing what is right for you. Doing your own thing. Ebru Umar (1970) is a columnist for Metro and Libelle and has published several books. She concluded her studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1994.

Entrepreneur meets starter

When the going gets toug Steven Lammertink (21) is studying International Business and Business Economics.

Hans de Groot’s online market research company, Metrixlab, made him a millionaire. Steven Lammertink, still a student, has just started his own company. They both talk to EA about the trials and tribulations of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Han de Groot (38) officially completed his studies in Business Administration in 2002 but has

text Geert Maarse photo Ronald van den Heerik

been working since 1997.

‘When you set out you might picture yourself as a millionaire in 10 years time. But once your business is up and running you’ve got to perform like a top athlete, a marathon runner. When the going gets tough you’ve just got to keep on going, there’s no time to nurse your wounds. I don’t want to turn this into a sob story, but when you’re running a company with 50, 100, 150 employees, and you’re turning

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over tens of millions a year, you have to be on the go from dawn till dusk – and I mean really on the go. It’s hard work. You can’t sit back and dream about that big Porsche or a fat bank account, or think that in three years you’ll sell the company and that the world will be your oyster. No, there’s no time for romance. The kicks only come at the finish, with an IPO, an acquisition or a clinched deal. Until that time it’s

gh you just keep on going question of sweating it out.’ That’s Han de Groot (38) talking. De Groot doesn’t want to paint a pretty picture of self-employment. It’s like he’s warning the student and entrepreneur Steven Lammertink (21) who’s sitting in the chair opposite. Over the last 11 years De Groot’s company Metrixlab has grown to become European market leader in the field of online market research. It now has offices in Paris, London, Hamburg and Madrid. He has enormous perseverance and blind discipline to thank for its success, says De Groot. ‘Once I naively thought, OK I’m going to set up businesses and sell them, this is going to be fun. But I soon found out that the more success I had, the more focus I needed and the more painful the whole thing became. Until a few years back, I used to wonder every single day whether it would be a success. If you’re self-employed and don’t spend that time worrying, you won’t make it.’

Rooted in Erasmus We’re sitting in De Groot’s canal side house in Amsterdam. On one side is the kitchen, separated by a glass door through which we can see the swimming pool on the floor below. On the other side is the lounge overlooking the Prinsengracht. Lammertink, the ambitious young student, is dressed in a dark blue suit and suede buckled shoes; he sits across from the established entrepreneur De Groot, in jeans, with slicked back greying hair. Lammertink appears ready to take the world by storm with his optimism and courage, De Groot exudes the confidence of a man accountable to no-one. They both started out at the EUR. De Groot studied Business Administration, Lammertink is currently rounding up his bachelor in International Business and Business Economics. At the beginning of this year, Lammertink and a business partner founded Republish, a company specializing in

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Entrepreneur meets starter

HOPE Steven Lammertink’s company Republish is supported by HOPE, the Holland Program on Entrepreneurship. HOPE is the Erasmus University’s own expertise centre for entrepreneurship. It provides a pre-incubation programme for (student) entrepreneurs who are starting out and organizes various

the conversion of documents to e-readers such as the iPad, helping clients minimize their paper consumption. He’s already won a few ‘business games’ and attracts constant attention from investors. Today he has just returned from a large healthcare institution that looks set to become a new client. ‘It works in your favour if you’re still a student,’ he says. ‘You can ask for more, and people want to help you. There are so many companies and organizations that say: “Sure, come and pays us a visit.” PricewaterhouseCoopers for example is behind us – supporting us for free.’

events. Meet the Dragons, to be held on 15 November 2010,

Good people around you

is one such event, and invites

Good entrepreneurs need perseverance, states De Groot. They also need to be able to collect a good group of people around them. Lammertink: ‘I recently interviewed Keith Wallace, chairman of the Investors Club. He said that he’d seen a lot of good business plans but had rarely met a good entrepreneur. Your plan does not need to be brilliant if the people around you are. That’s true of Republish. I’m a good salesman and my partner a true ICT professional.’ De Groot agrees: ‘Everyone has to have a different skill. My

students to put business pitches before a panel of established investors. The Erasmus Ondernemers Network (ONE) was established for alumni entrepreneurs and organizes events such as discussion panels where they can bounce

‘If you’re still a student it works in your favour. People want to help you.’ ideas around on different subjects amongst themselves and experts. For alumni who are interested in investment, the Erasmus Business Angel Network is currently being set up. If you want to find out more, please contact Henry Halbe at You can find information about HOPE at To receive the monthly newsletter, send an e-mail to getstarted@

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first partner was an IT student from Delft – I actively went searching for him. I knew I wasn’t good at the technical side of things, I wasn’t good at the operational side or the figures either. Are we best friends? No, but we are the best possible business partners for each other. And that’s at the core of our business success.’ So how has Rotterdam, and the EUR in particular, contributed to their business drive? De Groot: ‘I think that students in Rotterdam are generally more enterprising than those who study in Amsterdam, Utrecht or Groningen.’ Lammertink: ‘If I look at my friends, almost all of them went to Amsterdam to study, and none of them has their own company while they were the ones who most enthusiastic about wanting to own

their own business one day.’ De Groot: ‘There aren’t so many entrepreneurs who have had an academic education, while those are exactly the people who have been educated to think that one step further, who are able to turn a company around. And those are the sort of entrepreneurs that graduate from Erasmus.’

Meaningful questions Lammertink says that he found his drive when he was 18 and teaching in a South African township. He had no idea what his passion was but his students all seemed to know theirs; one wanted to be a doctor, another his own boss. ‘Frankly, their future looked so bleak that they had little chance of achieving their goals. I thought: I can just shrug my shoulders and decide to keep on studying, or I can try to become so rich that I can do something about their plight.’ De Groot’s ‘meaningful questions’ came later on in his career. ‘It’s been this past year that I’ve been thinking: that’s all very well, working hard and earning money, but I now want to do something that means something to others. Whether it’s € 50,000 or whatever, but something, in any case. And if I feel that I can’t miss the money, I’ll just have to work harder.’ His attitude is in line with an increasing of awareness De Groot developed since he reached his limit two years ago. The blind ambition that had been driving him for 10 years took its toll and, exhausted, he transferred the responsibility for the daily running of the business over to others, forcing himself to take distance. Now, people regularly ask each other who he is, if he also works for Metrixlab. ‘It took some getting used to,’ he admits, ‘but I enjoy it now. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to work in an environment with a strict hierarchy. I don’t need to sit on a throne feeling all high and mighty.’

Across borders

A lot of students decide to abandon the familiarity of their home university for the adventure of studying abroad. An Erasmus alumnus and student, who both spent time in sunny California, talk to EA about their experiences. text Tim Gouw

I had to get used to the forced friendliness

Name: Rick van den IJssel Age: 23 Current status: pre-Master in International Business Administration (IBA) Study abroad: 6 months at California State University, Fresno, in 2002

‘Sun, sea and sand. To be honest, that was why I chose California. I wanted to improve my English and where better to do that than in an Anglo-Saxon country? In the beginning the ‘forced friendliness’ of the American people took some getting used to. It’s obvious that they’re not really interested in how you are, but they always ask you anyway. I still find it a little strange. Together with a few other students I bought a big old car for a few hundred dollars and we’d drive out of town at weekends, to Los Angeles for

The campus was like a film décor

Name: Erik van de Kerkhof Age: 28 Current status: Account manager at TNT Post Packet Service Benelux. Studied business economy, graduated in 1997. Study abroad: 2-month summer course at the University of California, Berkeley

‘Why America? Hmm, that’s a good question. When I’d finished my master degree in economics in Rotterdam, and before I started writing my thesis, I went into one of the cupolas in the C hall where they give information on exchanges and suchlike. I was keen to gain some experience abroad and after doing the necessary research I opted for the well-acclaimed Berkeley in California. They run crash courses in different subjects during the summer when most of the students have left. Obviously this is a clever commercial initiative. I followed their marketing programme. It

example. The wide highways, usually empty, were a welcome change from the Netherlands, where the roads are always jam-packed. Mind you, it was strange hardly ever having to change gear! While most things there are on a large scale, the lecture groups were small, which was great. It meant that you got to know your fellow students quickly. I remember spending many evenings playing beerpong with them. I don’t recall the exact rules, but we were divided into teams and took turns trying to throw a ball into a cup. If you succeeded then the other team members had to knock back a beer in one shot. I’d put on about seven kilos by the end of my stay, which came as a bit

included a lot of useful material and put a lot of emphasis on daily practice. We also focused on some interesting case studies that were current at large reputable firms at the time. I stayed with some 300 other foreign students in the International House on campus. It was very American! The students lived in large villas with private pools and ate in refectories serving a lot of food – often very greasy food! This is something we usually see just on TV but it does actually exist. The campus was like a film décor, it was like living in a movie set. Berkeley is half an hour out of San Francisco by metro. San Francisco is a great city. What I especially liked was the rich cultural diversity. There are Spanish,

of a shock. It didn’t help either that we went out for a meal most days, and a meal in the States is much bigger than what we’re used to here. What struck me too was that American students pay for almost everything with plastic, credit cards; and they don’t seem to worry about their bank statement at the end of the month. I would like to go back some day. Even though there are more differences than I had imagined at first it remains a fascinating country.’

Italian and Mexican neighbourhoods where you can find excellent food. I shared my room on campus with a fellow student from Korea. That was quite a culture clash. He usually studied deep into the night, and would then sleep in every morning. Last year a fellow student from the summer course got married and invited some of us to India for the wedding. It was like a small reunion. It’s one way to see the world; it was a really special experience.’

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Focus on research EXPAT DESK BUDDYPROJECT What you can do as a Dutch person? ‘You can show more interest in your non-Dutch colleague,’ says Van Bochove. ‘While you can’t force a friendship you can ask how their Dutch is coming along for example. It seems that a lot of people need to practice their Dutch with a native speaker. We would suggest setting up a Buddy Project.’

RESEARCH INTO KNOWLEDGE MIGRANTS Marianne van Bochove looked at the situation of successful migrants in her doctoral research. In her (sub)research paper Over de rode loper (Walking the red carpet), she teamed up with colleagues Katja Rusinovic and Godfried Engbersen and tried to paint an accurate picture of the lives of knowledge migrants in Rotterdam. ‘There is a stereotype of expats as cosmopolitans who make no real links with anyone or anything except their own expat world. While this is partly true, we found that there were many people who wanted to integrate more with the city where they live.’ Apparently this is difficult, not least because in the Netherlands it is not usual to forge friendships in the workplace. Work and private life don’t usually mix. A lot of Rotterdam’s more knowledge migrants seem to make friends after they have been here for some time, through their children’s school, a sports club or voluntary work.’

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Rotterdam has a special Expat Desk on the third floor of the World Trade Centre. EUR research has shown that only a small percentage of expats know that it exists.

30,000 EXPATS Katja Rusinovic is a post-doctoral researcher at Erasmus University. Together with Marianne van Bochove and a team of students she interviewed 75 Rotterdam migrants. It is unclear exactly how many expats there are in Rotterdam since they are not registered as a separate group, but the figure is thought to be around 30,000.

ARCHITECTURE Is Rotterdam an attractive city? The knowledge migrant workers all praised the fact that everyone here speaks English and the excellent public transport system. ‘Some of them thought the city wasn’t very pretty – they probably came here with pictures of Amsterdam’s canals in their heads,’ says Van Bochove. ‘But we also talked to foreign architects working here who found Rotterdam a very attractive place to live.’

The publication Over de rode loper can be downloaded at (text Mieke Fiers, photo Levien Willemse)

SUPERVISOR Godfried Engbersen is professor of Sociology at Erasmus University and supervisor of this research program.

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Science news

Psychologists more social than economists

Students of economy are more selfish than psychology students and scientists should take this into account when conducting research. These are the findings of Michaéla Schippers (EUR), Paul de Lange (VU) and Daniel Balliet from Singapore. Students are often used for research because they are easy to recruit and often interested in research. Yet differences in behaviour can be significant: psychology students are more likely to base their judgments on social factors while economists tend to think only of themselves.

The significance of pop music examined Over the next few years, Susanne Janssen, a professor of Media and Cultural Studies, will look at the how pop music shapes cultural identity. What has been the significance of punk and rock music for post-war generations and what are some of the local differences? Her project, entitled “Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity,” will examine the role played by popular music in creating cultural identity in several European countries. Janssen received for a European grant for the project of € 900,000.

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Honorary doctorate for research into problem-based learning The theme of this year’s Foundation Day at the Erasmus University is Problem-based Learning (PBL). An honorary doctorate goes to Canadian Geoff Norman and will be issued by honorary supervisor and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Henk van der Molen. Norman, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and biostatistics at Canada’s McMaster University, receives the honorary degree as one of the founders of PBL. On the day, Norman will give a speech entitled Problem-based learning and medical problem solving. Everyone is welcome to join the university’s Foundation Day celebrations on 8 November 2010. For more information please visit

Science for all The Erasmus University is planning to post scientific knowledge on the internet, making it free and available to all. Currently scientific articles tend to disappear within magazines and trade journals that often maintain hefty subscription costs. At the opening of this academic year, Rector Magnificus Henk Schmidt pointed to the absurdity of the current situation in which society has to pay twice for scientific data: once to produce it and again to access the publications in which it appears.

Jo van Nunen honoured with scholarship and chair The Erasmus University has introduced a scholarship and a chair in transportation and logistics in memory of Prof. Jo van Nunen, who died unexpectedly in May. Both scholarship and chair will bear his name.

Economists give their opinion

Researchers at the Erasmus School of Economics are eager to share their opinions on current social issues; indeed they regularly post them on www. Whether it’s the fate of postmen or the current situation of Dutch pension funds, nothing escapes the attention of these high-ranking economists. The faculty hopes to make a scientifically underpinned contribution to contemporary political and social debates in this way. For more information:

From 1 January 2011 the Executive Board will make it compulsory for researchers to submit their articles to the public EUR repository RePub, which currently contains some 15,000 documents. The complex copyright regulations that govern publishing mean that not all publications will be immediately available; an embargo period of up to six months is often imposed. However, these can be circumvented in around 80% of cases. RePub’s technical staff is working hard to make its database as legible as possible for external search engines.

Van Nunen, professor of Logistics at the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University, had plans to retire in September this year but died suddenly in May. Van Nunen was a popular researcher in the world of supply chain management and the Rotterdam harbour. The Jo van Nunen Scholarship will enable foreign students to follow a Master in Global Trade & Logistics at the Erasmus University. The initiative comes from Hans Smits, CEO Port of Rotterdam, who is donating € 15,000; he hopes that other donors will follow. The chair in transportation and logistics has been introduced by the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University.

Science Junction getting kids into science Since spring this year, the Erasmus University has been working on a project to get children more interested in science. It has been working together with Rotterdam University, the Natural History Museum and 20 regional primary schools. Science Junction (Wetenschapsknooppunt) is designed to encourage talent development among young children. The lesson plans and activities introduce primary school children to science in a way that helps them develop investigative learning skills and make full use of their talents. Participants include students at EUR, teacher training students, teachers’ assistants, researchers and teachers. The project gives students teaching experience as well as a chance to contribute to the development of new curricula for gifted children. In turn, teachers can facilitate the introduction of science into the school curriculum. Science Junction is part of the nationwide Orion Programme, developing regional science hubs.

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Erasmus University and sustainability

In the land of research, sustainability is here to stay

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Sustainability is everywhere these days. Individuals, companies and global organizations all have it on their agenda. And the Erasmus University Rotterdam is no exception - especially in the area of research. Working alongside Rotterdam City Council, the university accommodates some of the top scientists in the field. text Marjolein Marchal illustrations Lobke van Aar

‘People say that sustainability is a hype, that it’s ‘hot’, but I’ve been working in the field now for 25 years and have seen that media attention comes and goes. When people say it’s a hype, I think: I’ve heard that before. Ever since I’ve been involved there has been a steady undercurrent even though people don’t always see it.’ So says Jan Rotmans, professor of Management Transition and founder of the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), which started life at the Erasmus University in 2004. The institute carries out multi- and inter-disciplinary research into transitions towards sustainability. These occur in society in areas such as energy supply, agriculture, traffic and transport, but also for example in healthcare. Sustainability is a broad and rather vague term. ‘My interpretation,’ says Rotman, ‘is: doing things that benefit society, the environment and the economy. For example, in construction terms

you would build something that no one would ever want to change. Previously, we would build something bad and then compensate by creating an area of green nearby. These days we build something that has immediate added value for the local population and the environment.’ ‘Sustainability’ used to be applied exclusively to environmental issues such as acidification. Nowadays it covers a much broader range of topics, such as social sustainability. ‘And that’s just one example,’ explains Rotmans. ‘The concept is so wide that it is in danger of becoming diluted. But it has crept into the fabric of society so it is bound to have taken on a broader meaning. ‘The advantage of this is that everyone wants to join in.’ But according to Rotman it also means that the term is often used merely as a marketing tool. ‘Operating a truly sustainable business always requires an internal transition. Sustainability must become an integral part of a business’ strategy, mission and operational practices. In that respect, says Rotmans, Erasmus University Rotterdam has a long way to go. ‘It needs to develop an integral sustainability plan and policy with emphasis on mobility, catering and buildings. I know that this is being worked on at the moment but I would like to see sustainability as the guiding force behind the decision making.’ Ingrid de Vries too would like to see a clear policy from the university management. De Vries initiated the university’s Greening the Campus project (see page 27), geared towards making the campus more sustainable by introducing changes that were relatively simple to implement. The project also wanted to raise awareness on green issues amongst both students and staff. De Vries is pleased with the results but sees room for improvement in the near future, something she believes could be taken up by scientists working at Erasmus. One of the university’s major strengths is the contribution it can make to knowledge development in this area. For this reason De Vries set up a number of specific chairs in recent years: Cradle to Cradle co-author Michael Braungart is

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Erasmus University and sustainability

now connected to DRIFT, part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Gail Whiteman, an expert in the field of sustainability management is currently professor at the Rotterdam School of Management. The university is also involved in a project bringing together science and the ‘real’ world: the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI). The RCI was set up four years ago and involves collaboration between the municipality of Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam, the DCMR Environmental Protection Agency and Deltalinqs. RCI aims to halve Rotterdam’s CO2 emissions by 2025 compared to 1990. ‘We look at how The Erasmus University as a research institution can help to realize the CO2 reduction target’, explains Josee van Eijndhoven. She is Professor of Sustainability Management and RCI project leader. Scientists

from six different faculties are now involved and consult with the city council’s climate department. ‘The climate is changing and new challenges are appearing for Rotterdam City Council. There will be a need for a new approach to building for example, such as building on water. And as we face a warmer climate we will have to look at new diseases that could arise, and how to prevent them. The university can address these new issues by conducting research and looking into what practical steps could be taken to solve them; how feasible they are and how they can be made more feasible. Research into how local businesses could help to make Rotterdam a more CO2-neutral region would also be useful.’ The research agenda is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. Scientists and the council have to agree on what to prioritise, says Van

Professor Michael Braungart The term ‘cradle to cradle’ refers to the process of re-using materials from one product to make a new one, without any loss in value. Professor Michael Braungart sees opportunities here for the Erasmus University. Cradle to Cradle, or C2C, is a concept that is catching on fast with companies, small businesses and scientists. For the last 18 months, one of the concept’s creators, the prominent German chemist Michael Braungart, has been employing his talents at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Current manufacturing methods mean that products usually end up on a rubbish tip. When products are recycled, only a portion of the product is re-used; the journey to the tip may

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Eijndhoven. ‘The university has the best of intentions to do things for the city, but the reality is that scientists focus on publishing their findings, preferably in the most prestigious scientific journals. However, what the City of Rotterdam needs is action, and fast. So we need scientific research that will produce results reasonably quickly, and that can be subsidised in the short term. There has already been a lot of research into sustainability, and how the findings can be applied on both local and regional levels. What we are doing now is mapping these findings and bringing them together.’ The Michael Braungart and Jan Rotmans quotes in this article are taken from interviews previously published in Erasmus Magazine.

be a little longer, but that’s where the recycled product usually ends up, in its ‘grave’. With C2C however, the materials used in the first product can be re-used without any loss in value, demanding innovation in terms of both the product and the production process. Braungart calls C2C ‘a strategy to review production processes so that we can make products that are 100% re-usable and do not pollute the environment.’ If it was Braungart who called the shots, the Erasmus University

example. That’s not to say that it would have to be perfect, but it can strive for improvement.’ Braungart already envisages a future scenario. ‘All the paper that we use in five years time will be good for the biosphere because the raw materials in it will be returned to the biosphere. And the quality of the air indoors will be better than outdoors. New buildings will resemble trees; they will replenish the air instead of destroying it. And we will manage our materials in a way that actively improves things instead

‘The university could call itself a cradle-to-cradle university’ Rotterdam would also embrace the C2C principle. ‘It could call itself a C2C university and set goals for 2020 for

of simply being ‘not so bad’. The key to it all will be creativity becoming a platform for innovation.’

Ingrid de Vries on Greening the Campus The Greening the Campus project has already taken a lot of successful, sustainable steps. But project manager Ingrid de Vries believes that opportunities still lie ahead. ‘We are not yet a sustainable campus.’ ‘The Erasmus University was the first university in the Netherlands to approach sustainability in a serious way,’ says Ingrid de Vries, who initiated Greening RSM at the Rotterdam School of Management in 2005 and went on to become part-time co-ordinator of Greening the Campus in 2008. Greening the Campus is a two-year project that operates throughout the university and is geared to making the campus sustainable. After a number of ‘quick wins’ at the RSM, such as the introduction of organic food and environment-friendly paper, De Vries

began to focus on broader issues. ‘And we’ve already achieved a lot. We now use exclusively green energy, the canteen sells organic food and all the coffee is Fair Trade. We have introduced environment-friendly paper as well as ecologically sound cleaning products.’ In order to get students more involved, a student body was set up in 2009, Green EUR, to stimulate enthusiasm for sustainability. Students learn about the issue in special sessions and, says De Vries, ‘There is an active core of students who are really driven and result-oriented. They organized a hitching expedition to the climate summit in Copenhagen as well as ‘green’ marketing here on the campus.’ The events that GreenEUR organised in 2010 included a Sustainable Career Day and trips to companies

importance of reducing waste for example, and is a firm supporter of Braungart’s cradle to cradle approach, a principle that can be applied to make buildings sustainable. Right now plans are underway to expand the campus and to renovate existing buildings – the perfect opportunity she believes to put sustainability into practice. ‘Now is the time to take action,’ she says. She sees the campus as an ideal space for experimentation and would like to involve TU Delft in finding out if the campus can meet its own energy requirements, by using solar and wind energy for example. Other sciences can also be utilised in Greening the Campus according to De Vries. The university’s environmental impact could be measured more accurately. ‘The Erasmus University has

‘Now, with the plans to expand the campus, is the time to take action’ in the Rotterdam area that embrace sustainability. So there is no shortage of activities. But De Vries sees more opportunities ahead. ‘We’re still not sustainable.’ She underlines the

a great deal of economic data and is the perfect place to develop and apply measurement tools that go beyond the limits of one single area such as energy consumption.’

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Erasmus University and sustainability

Professor Gail Whiteman People are aware of the environmental crisis but are not taking action,’ observes ‘sustainability professor’ Gail Whiteman. She is proud of the research and teaching at Erasmus University, but believes the university itself could be a lot more sustainable. ‘Great things have already been done throughout the university, such as the introduction of green energy and the reduction of CO2 emissions. But we need more commitment. If we look at changes in people’s behaviour then there’s not a lot happening. Individuals must be encouraged to change the way they do things by a system of (dis)incentives. The paradox is that everyone is aware of the environmental crisis, but nobody is doing anything.’

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Gail Whiteman has occupied the Sustainability and Climate Change chair at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) since April this year, but has worked at the Erasmus University for longer. In her new post she deals with the social and environmental issues that arise in the world of business. Whiteman used to be involved in the Greening the Campus project. ‘The university needs to set itself targets that can be measured and must then go about realizing them with the help of experts.’ In the area of education and research the university has much to be proud of claims the professor. ‘Research is carried out at an international level, certainly at the RSM. In 2009

sustainability. ‘That is something to be proud of.’ Beyond Grey Pinstripes is an alternative ranking set up by business schools. Educational facilities that have integrated awareness of the environment, ethics and social relationships into their MBA curriculum score high in the ranking. Whiteman herself tries to raise awareness on sustainability in the world of business. She is co-founder and director of the RSM’s Sustainability and Climate Research Centre (SCR). ‘I’m currently looking at how we can get the issue of sustainability into the boardroom. We are like a canary in a coal mine; there is a real crisis underway, but how do you get people to realize its impact? It is crucial that company directors, mayors and other influential

‘There is a real crisis underway’ the RSM ranked seventh worldwide and first in Europe in the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking, based on its activities in research and education in the area of

people feel a personal commitment to sustainability. If they do, and they can persuade their managers to make sustainable decisions, then we’re getting somewhere.’

From Rotterdam to Moscow

Russians keep their money in old socks Rotterdam alumnus Kysia Hekster is a correspondent for the NOS in Moscow. She writes about ‘her’ Russia for EA. Monday Opposite my metro station Chistie Proedi (Clean Ponds) a new billboard has appeared showing three naked women praising the interest rates of the Trust Bank, the percentages emblazoned across their breasts. Russians are not particularly fond of banks; for many of them the ruble crisis of 1998, when their savings plummeted in value virtually overnight, is still fresh in their memory. So it’s hardly surprising that a lot of them choose to keep their cash in an old sock. Would these – sockless - beauties be able to convince the Muscovites to run en masse to the bank and open an account?

delegation of friends visiting from home they always exclaim: ‘Moscow is such a modern city!’ Apparently the Russian capital still conjures up images of buying second-hand jeans on the black market. In reality my fashion-conscious friend F. finds herself spoilt for choice before racks of items from the latest Gucci collection. My fellow journalists and I don’t seem to be doing our job properly, otherwise people would already know that the Moscow of 2010 bears no resemblance whatsoever to the former capital of the Soviet Union.

Tuesday An email from Andrei and Anya, from Irkutsk, a

Sunday 2.13 am. Back from the 24-hour supermarket

city with 500,000 inhabitants in eastern Siberia. We’d spent time in the summer holidays together, at Lake Baikal, almost as big as the Netherlands, wanting to show our kids that Russia is a lot bigger than Moscow. We pitched our tents on the shore of the lake. Camping in the Netherlands involves sitting in front of your tent with a book and a quiet cup of coffee. Not so in Russia. Once we’d set up our tents, a whole crowd of Russian holidaymakers followed suit, and they did so as close to our tent as possible; I felt severely limited in my privacy. Apparently I was looking at the situation all wrong. ‘Camping is a social event,’ explained Andrei and Anya while they stoked up the campfire. ‘If you want privacy you have to be in the city.’ A glass of vodka was forced on me, the first of many. Any form of resistance proved futile. We spent four evenings and nights with our new friends, smoking, drinking, eating grilled fish and discussing the meaning of life. Russians have a bad name. Everyone says they always look surly and are rude. Actually, the opposite is true. They’re a welcoming lot - friendly, and will tell you their entire life story after just one glass of vodka. So pass it on, please.

where I went to get cornflakes for the children’s breakfast, ready for the start of a new school week. You can buy everything here, day or night. You want a haircut at three in the morning? No problem. Want to purchase the latest iPad on a Sunday morning? Chances are you’ll have to battle your way to the cash desk along with a crowd of Muscovites. It still takes some getting used to. Whenever I have a

Kysia Hekster (1971) studied History of Society from 1990 to 1996. After her studies she worked, among other places, at the University of Amsterdam and at the Netherlands Interdenominational Broadcasting Company (IKON). She is currently NOS correspondent in Moscow.

Thursday I watched the news again this evening. Vremya it’s called; ‘time’. This Russian version of the eight o’clock news is received by all 140 million Russians. It is a series of performances given by the president and/or prime minister; apparently the state demands that at least half of the broadcast should be devoted to the Russian leadership. I don’t know anyone who can sit through the full half-hour every night. Everyone realizes that what they see on TV here is only what their leaders want them to see. In the Netherlands people would react rather strangely if they saw our minister president fighting off bears bare-chested. But my friend S. considers it completely normal - kroeta (cool) even, when Putin himself boards a plane to help extinguish forest fires. In the West Vladimir Putin is often depicted as a rather fearsome kind of spy. But in Russia many citizens appreciate their leader. He brought political stability to the country and greater prosperity to many of its inhabitants.

erasmusalumni. magazine


Alumni affairs

Erasmus University Rotterdam Alumni & Corporate Relations Office Room A1-62 Burgemeester Oudlaan 50 3062 PA Rotterdam Telefoon 010-4081110 Fax 010-4089075 Alumni Advisory Board Frans van Houten, Derek Roos, Dominic Schrijer, Michel Dutrée, Paul van der Maas, Sietse Hepkema, Henk Weltevreden, Ebru Umar, Dick Verbeek, Ila Kasem, Steven van Eijck, Frans Weisglas, Pieter Zevenbergen (voorzitter), Marcella Breedeveld, Rinske Brand, Liliane Ploumen, Fiona Dove, Jan Hendrik Egberts, Arie Fakkert

Dies Natalis Under the banner of Problembased Learning: 8 November 2010, 2.45 p.m. Aula Woudestein Information: Ger Lugtenberg, tel: (010) 408 1775 email: Bachelor Open Day An information day for vwo students in groups 4, 5 and 6 and their parents. 13 November 2010, 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Erasmus University Rotterdam Bachelor Open Day Parents An information evening for parents of prospective students. 23 November 2010, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Erasmus University

Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and English; French and German courses are also available and are operated in conjunction with the French and German Institutes. EUR alumni receive a 10% discount on the rate for external students. For course dates and details of registration go to: open Information Booklet Each year EUR’s Alumni & Corporate Relations Office publishes an information booklet for recent graduates. The booklet can also be downloaded from the website:

Master Open Day Information day for hbo and wo bachelors 30 November, 2010, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Erasmus University

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ESE Alumni Day: Opening Business Week An Alumni Day linked to the opening of the EFR Business Week. Programme yet to be announced. As usual, dinner at a typical Rotterdam location will follow the event. 30 March, 2011, information via LinkedIn and ESE Alumni Award On 3 November the first ESA Alumni Award will be handed over to an alumnus for an outstanding achievement; an alumni who can serve as an example to students and young alumni. Starting this year, the ESE Alumni Award will be an annual event.

Science Dinner São Paolo, Brazil 30 November, 2010 Information: Shirley Endirece, tel: (010) 40 82246 email:

Education Award Psychologist Dr. Gino Camp receives Erasmus University’s Education Award for his close involvement in the development of the Psychology programme. This has been voted the Netherlands’ best psychology training by both students and review committees for several years in succession. Camp contributed to the creation of various courses, including those on the psychology of memory and social psychology. The success of the programme has a lot to do with the Problem-based Learning (PBL) model that Camp cointroduced. (photo: Michelle Muus)

sights when it comes to our own lives? Bankers, insurers, retailers, doctors and headhunters all give us their perspective. Especially for recent graduates and focusing on many important career questions. 6 November 2010, information and registration via LinkedIn and

UB Library card As of academic year 2010/2011, EUR alumni (including ISS, IHS and RSM) can purchase a library card for the university library with a substantial discount: € 10 per year instead of € 30. Half of this amount is donated to the Erasmus Scholarship Fund.

Erasmus School of Economics Alumni Affairs ESE Jef Verschuren 010-4081458 Charles Hermans 010-4081803

Language Courses The language courses run by EUR’s Language and Training Centre are open to alumni. There are evening courses in

ESE Alumni Day: Coaching Our own life seems to be so unique. But is that actually the case? How can we benefit from scientific and practical in-

ESE tightens ties with alumni The ESE wants to strengthen ties between alumni, and between alumni and the faculty itself. This will enable alumni to benefit from each other’s experience as well as keep abreast of developments in their field. From September 2009 the ESE offers all its new alumni a two-year trial membership of the Erasmus Alumni Association (EAV).

Edwin de Graaf, Jacques Stuart, Jacco van der Tak and Jasper van de Jagt. ABEUR can be found on LinkedIn: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Alumni ABEUR For more information go to: Faculty of Social Sciences Alumni Affairs Psychology: Ilona Boutestijn Sociology: Erik Snel Administration: Suzanne Overbeeke 010-4082346 2 x Veni, 1 x Rubicon Dr. Peter Scholten receives a VENI grant for his proposal: Beyond National Models or Integration? Agenda Dynamics and the Multi-Level Governance of Immigrant Integration. Dr. Lasse Gerrits (BSK) also receives a VENI grant for his paper: Craving Simplicity in Public Decision Making. Dr. Jeroen van der Waal (SOC) was awarded a Rubicon grant for his research: Why immigrants do not receive state benefit. Top Talent Dr. Peter Scholten and Dr. Arwin van Buuren both received a ‘Top Talent Scholarship’ from the Faculty of Social Sciences. Alumni Association ABEUR ABEUR is a large, active alumni association with no less than 2,200 members. Events are organized twice a year. The Board consists of Caroline van Doorn (chair), Martin van Hengel (secretary), Arco Strop (treasurer), Mieke Peters,

Alumni Association Psychology The first alumni meeting was held on Friday 19 March 2010 and included a lecture by Peter de Wit, the cartoonist responsible for the Sigmund cartoons in the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant. A networking and drinks event followed. A new board is currently being formed. For more information go to: or email: Alumni Association Sociology The first alumni meeting was a great success! There was a clear discourse on the AOW by Paul de Beer, followed by a discussion, opened by Romke van der Veen, and drinks. ‘It was with some nostalgia that we observed that today students and alumni still have to be almost swept out of the bar by the very attentive catering staff.’ The association can be found on LinkedIn under the name: Alumni Association Sociology (EUR). For more information go to: Erasmus School of Law Alumni Affairs ESL Arnoud Houweling 010-4089758

Inaugural lecture Prof. K.A.M. Henrard A major event accompanies this lecture. The Minority Research Network, set up by Kristin Henrard, holds its first annual conference, entitled Socio-Economic Participation of Minorities in relation to Their Right to Identity on 27, 28 and 29 October 2010. 29 October 2010, Aula, campus Woudestein Congress: The Administrative Punishment Order in Perspective An administrative punishment order will shortly be introduced throughout the Netherlands. The question is: is this an effective enforcement tool? Will it give local authorities an adequate and reliable sanction option compared with the current system of fixed penalties and fines? 10 November 2010, for information and registration go to Inaugural lecture by Professor Buskirk Formal and informal institutions to handle trust relations: A case for empirical and interdisciplinary legal research. 11 November, 2010. 4 p.m., Aula, Woudestein New professors In recent months the following ESL professors were appointed: Prof. C. W. A. Timmermans (Christian), Professor of International Relations; S. J. C. Hemels (Sigrid), Professor of Tax Law; Prof. T. Cohen Jehoram LL.M (Tobias), Professor of Intellectual Property Rights; Prof. W. S. R.

General Erasmus Alumni Association Graduates of the Erasmus University Rotterdam have at least one thing in common; they all studied at an entrepreneurial university, a university rooted in society. That’s one reason the university wants to stay in touch with its graduates. And of course its graduates don’t want to lose contact with their university and/or faculty either, or with each other. The Erasmus Alumni Association (EAV) provides each alumnus of the Erasmus University Rotterdam the chance to stay in touch with the EUR, its faculties and other alumni in a way that suits them. It organizes a wide range of activities such as an annual dinner, a regional Desiderius Dinner, get-togethers for young alumni as well as company visits. In addition, the association publishes two periodicals: the bi-monthly Erasmus Alumnieuws and the annual Erasmus Alumni Gids. The EAV works closely with the Alumni Office of the Erasmus University and maintains close contact with the Trust Fund Association Erasmus University Rotterdam and other alumni groups and associations in Rotterdam. EAV secretariat, Tel: (010) 414 9407 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m). email:

Stoter LL.M (Suzan), Professor occupying an endowed chair in Law and Innovation; Prof. A.R. Hartmann (Arthur), Professor occupying an endowed chair in Criminal Justice; Prof. R. C. R. Siekmann (Robert), Professor Professor occupying an endowed chair in International and European Sports Law

erasmusalumni. magazine


Alumni affairs

Erasmus Medical Center Alumni Affairs Erasmus MC Erasmus MC, Gk 9-54 010-7044538 verenigingen/alumni Course for General Practitioners Developments in Medicine, GPs only (in training) 4 to 5 November 2010, De Doelen Concert and Conference Hall, Rotterdam Fifth Invitational Conference Meeting the future together, the Fifth Invitational Conference. The project Benchmarking OK has grown over the past years to become a collaborati-

on between nine UMCs (eight in the Netherlands and one in Antwerp, Belgium). December 2010, Vumc, Amsterdam Symposium: You ask, we provide? From necessary healthcare to medicine on demand 11 November, 2010, 3 p.m. Erasmus MC - Lecture Hall 3, Participation is free but registration is required Symposium: Patient Safety, how to achieve it? 26 November, 2010, 12 noon, Rotterdam

Faculty of Philosophy Alumni Affairs FW Ticia Herold 010-4088980 Renewal Humanities The Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has been awarded a grant of € 2 million for the research study: What Can the Humanities Contribute to Our Practical Self-Understanding?’ The fouryear programme is being carried out by researchers at the universities of Utrecht, Leiden and Rotterdam.

Economics made fun Books like Freakeconomics and The Undercover Economist have become very popular. Why is this ‘economics-made-fun’ a growth genre how does it impact the image of economics and the economy? On 10 and 11 December 2010, the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE), part of the Faculty of Philosophy, is organizing the conference Economics made fun in the face of the economic crisis.

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Professor Bruins Prize Mara van der Lugt, alumna of the Faculty of Philosophy, has been awarded the Prof. Bruins Prize. This prize is awarded annually by the Erasmus University for Research master students who have linked together an exceptional study achievement with promising research.

Faculty of History and the Arts Alumni Affairs FHKW Mw. Sabaï Doodkorte MA 010-4082874 Alumni Reception Drinks to mark the end of Labour Market Orientation Day 2011. All alumni are cordially invited to catch up with their former fellow students and teachers over snacks and a drink. Invitations to follow. 14 April, 2011, 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. De Etage (L-Building, Woudestein) Alumni Newsletter Go to the faculty alumni site ( to find out how you can subscribe to the digital newsletter Alumni Actueel. You will be kept up-to-date and receive invitations to special events. You can also join the faculty’ Alumni Group on LinkedIn. Professor Willem Frijhoff appointed Professor Occupying Endowed Chair Em. Professor Willem Frijhoff has been appointed Professor Occupying an Endowed Chair at the Erasmus University’s Faculty of History and the Arts’ Verhagen Foundation. The historian Frijhoff (1942) was Professor of Social History at EUR from 1983 to 1997 and was Dean of the Faculty of History and the Arts for a number of years. Frijhoff was also attached to the Vrije (Free) University in Amsterdam. He retired in 2007. Frijhoff’s research includes a study of the historical processes involved in cultural

transfer (education, training, the art of reading), as well as into collective memory, imaging and the identity of individuals, groups and cities; he also looks at types of religious experience in the Early Modern Period. Frijhoff will hold his inaugural address on 10 December 2010. Rotterdam School of Management Alumni Affairs RSM Drs. Eva Rood, Manager Alumni Business Administration Relations T6-25 T6-25, 010-408 2698 Newsletter For a current listing of alumni events visit our website or subscribe to our monthly digital newsletter. You will then receive an overview of news and events of interest to alumni. Send an email ( with subject: Notification Newsletter, and we will add you to the mailing list. RSM Outlook If you don’t receive our corporate magazine RSM Outlook then it is probably because your correct address is not in our database. Please send your correct address to alumni@ and we will make sure you receive your copy of Outlook in the future. Outlook is published twice a year and contains business articles and alumni news.



The Alumni and Corporate Relations Magazine of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

ManageMent research shaping the future of business Money laundering a global problem 10 years of eriM leaDing bY results ethical purchasing for sustainable aDVantage

RSM Annual Fund “Receiving the alumni scholarship was absolutely the enabling factor in my education at RSM.” Vinod Nair, MBA 2010 graduate. The RSM set up an annual fund in 2009; by donating to this fund as an alumnus or friend of the RSM you will be helping the school in the pursuit of its goal: being amongst the top five best business schools in the world. You can specify how you want your money to be spent: a) on scholarships for talented students who do not have enough resources to follow our top MBA programme, b) on grants for MSc students with little or no resources at their disposal to participate in an exchange programme, or c) on business-relevant research. RSM Insight is the first step to unlocking knowledge that is important for business. The RSM Annual Fund is supported by the Erasmus University Trust Fund Association.

CEMS Annual events & graduation CEMS Graduation ceremony. The elite international training programme CEMS is a collaboration between 27 business schools - the best from each country - and 63 corporate partners. We are honoured in being able to welcome Nobel Prize winner Dr. Muhamed Yunus (Microfinance) to give a lecture. 30 November to 4 December, Rotterdam

International Institute of Social Studies Alumni Affairs IISS About ISS The ISS in The Hague is a leading institute for research, education and public debate on development studies. Themes include development economics, poverty and conflict, governance and democracy, children and youth, human rights and work, and globalization. The ISS has been part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam since mid-2009; the institute operates entirely in English. Each year 300 to 400 students

follow one of the following programmes: PhD training (four years); MA programme in Development Studies (15.5 months); diploma programmes (6 to10 weeks). The students represent all regions of the world and often come from developing countries. The ISS focuses primarily on so-called ‘mid-career professionals’, people who not only have a bachelor and a good command of the English language, but also a number of years of relevant work experience. Since it was established in 1952, some 11,000 people from over 60 countries have followed courses at the institute. Many of them now occupy leading positions in governments, ministries, research institutes and NGOs. Alumni Association Nearly 2,000 ISS alumni have joined the ISS alumni group on Facebook, while the more recently formed ISS alumni group on Linkedin is growing rapidly (current membership around 800). The ISS sends out a digital newsletter every two months and regularly organizes alumni meetings around the world. Institute of Health Policy & Management Alumni Affairs iBMG Ernst Bakker Room J7-23 Antwoordnummer 90152 3009 VB Rotterdam Jan Klein Lecture Prior to the lecture there will be a symposium on patient safety with, amongst others,

H. W. Lambers Prize goes to iBMG researcher Igna Bonfrer has been awarded the annual Prof. H. W. Lambers Prize 2010. The prize, handed out by the EUR in conjunction with the Trust Fund Association, is given to students who have two master degrees and have formed a bridge between the two disciplines. Igna graduated with a masters in Econometrics & Management Science and Management (EUR), Health Economics (EUR) and History of Medicine (University of Oxford). She is now a PhD student at the institute of Health Policy and Management (iBMG). (photo: RvdH) Professor Kim Putters. 26 November, 2010, lecture at 4 p.m., Maritime and Transport College Rotterdam Alumni Association BMG Marieke van ‘t Root c/o Erasmus University Rotterdam aBMG / Room J7-23 Antwoordnummer 90152 3009 VB Rotterdam Email:

erasmusalumni. magazine



Alumni affairs

Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, EUR Alumni Affairs IHS Sarah Steendam, IHS Alumni Relations Office, +31 10 4089874 IHS Alumni unite! Please join us online on LinkedIn and Facebook Alumni Meetings: Ghana In cooperation with Netherlands Alumni Association Ghana. 29 October, Ghana

Alumni Network: Linking Urban Professionals The Alumni International Network of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), aims at creating an international IHS alumni platform to foster exchange amongst urban professionals from all over the globe. Its objective, summed up by their ‘linking urban professionals’ slogan is to link urban professionals both internationally and at a local level, connecting up IHS alumni associations in different countries. IHS Alumni International held a kick-off board meeting in the Netherlands. The six board members of IHS Alumni International assembled for a dedicated weekend of brainstorming, prioritising plans and sharing views and opinions on the development of the Network for Urban Professionals. Please contribute to a report of this meeting and share your ideas with the board at

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Thailand In cooperation with Neso Thailand, IHS Alumni Association Thailand November, Thailand, Bangkok India In cooperation with IHS Alumni Association India December, India, Bangalore EUR Alumni Meeting India In cooperation with IHS Alumni International and IHS Alumni Association India February 2011, New-Delhi, Mumbai IHS Alumni International Board Meeting 6-13 February 2011, NewDelhi, India Conference: Urban Development: patterns, causes, foundations, and policy 13 and 14 December 2010, IHS Rotterdam, The Netherlands Refresher Courses In 2010 IHS will be able organise 5 refresher coureses for IHS Alumni thanks to the financial support of Nuffic. The courses refresh previous issues and fine tune participants’ experience and knowledge with current international policy practices and new issues that have emerged since their participation in IHS courses. The courses are very interactive. Participants have the chance to present their experiences and often tIHS generates a rapid assessment of what is going on regionally. It is an excellent opportunity for networking and for assessing the impact of their previous training at IHS. Info:

Investing in knowledge In the Netherlands knowledge investment is not yet common practice. In Anglo-Saxon countries it has been a lifeline for universities for years. Ivy League universities in America have enviable access to billions of dollars in endowment funds and in the UK universities are starting to have some success when it comes to tapping sources of private funding. But in the Netherlands? The culture of Calvinism still prevails. Investing in knowledge? We do it willingly when it comes to dropping coins into collecting boxes for charity, but are less spontaneous when we find a giro slip for our alma mater on the doormat. However, over the next few years the Dutch will need to be more generous if they want to maintain their current standard of research. Do the maths: the 75% public funding that universities currently receive will be put under more pressure in the future. Indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if it is cut to 60%, or even less. And if we really intend to make it into the top five of the most competitive knowledge economies, then we will need an extra five or six billion euro’s a year. Perhaps we should smile sweetly at George Soros like the NGO Human Rights Watch did recently? Or at Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or one of the other generous benefactors across the ocean? I suspect that they have their hands full with their own universities and that we in the Netherlands are very low down on their list of priorities. We’ll have to come up with something ourselves. ‘A better environment starts at home,’ our government once told us. And so does knowledge investment. When I give lectures to commercial entities, I now ask for an allowance for EUR’s scholarship fund. And I ask similar favours from other institutions, such as theatres and charities. I haven’t reached the point yet of setting myself the target of recouping my salary in the form of donations, but when our efforts come to fruition, that is the direction in which I will go. As directors of universities we have large external networks. In the past we have been reluctant to use them to the full, but necessity knows no bounds. So, dear alumni, as you read this, would you remember your alma mater? A chair or bequest, a scholarship or student pavilion. You don’t have to wait until that giro slip falls on the doormat. Pauline van der Meer Mohr, Chair of the Executive Board of Erasmus University

Inaugural speech

Patients? Or victims of ‘care commercialisation’? A inaugural speech is a good place for a newly appointed professor to say what he thinks, and what he thinks should change. Neurologist Rogier Hintzen, who delivered his inaugural address on 24 June 2010, gave his audience plenty to think about. text Wieneke Gunneweg illustratiom Bas van der Schot

It’s not all about the patient ‘More and more, patients are asking their doctors for a particular treatment, even if it has not been developed from solid scientific research. Previously, patients would hear about alternative treatments in the waiting room or pub; nowadays it’s the internet that is their main source of information. Patients have also become increasingly suspicious of everything that belongs to the established order - including doctors. And they are angry because we don’t research these alternative therapies, let alone apply them. It is as though we are consciously keeping something from them, or are in league with the pharmaceutical industry. Scientific knowledge no longer seems to play a role; it is not about facts any more, but about opinions. Intrinsic medical quality is increasingly overruled by the superficial ‘quality’ as perceived by the patient. And it’s very hard for physicians and researchers to defend themselves against these forces. The patient wants a particular treatment whatever the cost might be. As doctors, we would do well to discourage this behaviour.’

Less of the free market please ‘The free market as it operates in healthcare is full of paradoxes, something that not many people stop to consider. Who’s who in this particular market? Are patients customers? If so, they are hardly free to choose their own products. And are

health insurers also customers? But surely they are the ones making the profit? They are also, increasingly, the supplier. The real free market doesn’t exist, and it certainly doesn’t exist in healthcare. Ambitious business models don’t work for chronic diseases, or if they do then it’s only for relatively simple procedures like one-off operations. Commerce does well out of clinics, which often deliver unsubstantiated diagnoses and treatments for complex problems such as dizziness, headaches and back pain. Another paradox: doctors are often regarded as sharks, only out for what they can get, while at the same time the healthcare market expects them to behave like entrepreneurs.’

MS research: in the lab and at the bedside Neurologist Rogier Q. Hintzen has been head of the Rotterdam MS Centre ErasMS since 2009. He is also Professor Occupying an Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and Neuro-immunology and the central nervous system. The MS study in Rotterdam focuses on immunology and genetic epidemiology. Its research practice is characterised by its ‘translational’ nature, the researchers having one leg in the lab and one at the patient’s bedside, as it

Respect hospital managers, but watch out for an MBA culture

were. ‘This approach is totally in keeping with the spirit

‘Notably, the solution for organizational problems doesn’t often lie in the hands of those with a MBA title who are brought in to establish some sort of order. We must fight against regarding doctors as pilots who only briefly have their hands on the joystick. A pilot does not do the intake with his passengers, is not involved in interaction, data exchange, treatment, follow-up, management, training or marketing. The doctor, the nursing staff and the patient all need to be in charge. While the manager is vital, he is a facilitator and a controller, just as he would be in a law firm.’

says Hintzen. ‘While we can’t keep up with institutions

of the university hospital’s founder, Andries Querido,’ such as Harvard when it comes to budgets and infrastructure, in other areas we are on a par. And in our own Dutch way we are sometimes just that bit more creative and flexible than for example the big American universities.’ Alongside his MS research Hintzen has also worked hard to improve patient care in recent years. After all without patients there would be no translational research. Hintzen’s upcoming research will focus on the biological determinants that might cause MS and the course of the disease.

erasmusalumni. magazine


That’s why Rotterdam

When I was studying, the film festival would always fall in exam week Working as a volunteer for the International Film Festival Rotterdam is tough, but it does give you the opportunity to see a lot of films. Maria Bergsma seized that opportunity with both hands. Name: Marieke Bergsma (27) Study: HBO Communications

text Mieke Fiers photo Levien Willemse

(Leeuwarden), followed by a transitional year studying humanities at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She left with a master degree in the Sociology of Art and Culture. Graduated: 2009 Proud of: International Film Festival Rotterdam

‘Before I came to Rotterdam I knew about the film festival; in Groningen, where I lived, you could watch festival films, but when I came here to study in 2006 I thought: great, now I can actually go to them. The nice thing about the festival is the atmosphere. It changes everything in the city. You see it in shop windows for example.

The festival shows unusual, often quirky films. Last year I saw a film from Tajikistan. Tajikistan! Where’s that I thought? It was a very good movie too - there are bad ones – and the nice thing was that the director was there. He talked about the film after it had been shown and the whole cinema was hushed, just listening to him; he became quite emotional. Because of my studies I think I look at films differently from the average Hollywood film viewer. Master students of the Sociology of Art and Culture learn to look at the bigger picture behind a story, which country it was made in for example. And when I was doing my HBO in Leeuwarden I majored in audiovisuals; one of the things I learnt was screenwriting. During my studies at The Erasmus University, the festival always seemed to occur during exam week so I was never able to be a volunteer. This year I could, and I worked as sub-coordinator merchandising. The festival probably wouldn’t be possible without volunteers, so it’s a good feeling to be there. It was hard work but I was able to watch a lot of films, about ten; that’s not bad is it?’ The 40th edition of Rotterdam’s International Film Festival runs from 26 January, 2011 to 6 February 2011. In Rotterdam of course. www.filmfestivalrotterdam. com

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‘The entire world is my home’ – Desiderius Erasmus


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On this page you will find a small selection from the outstanding range of promotional gifts avaiblable from the Erasmus University.You can order by sending an email to: Or you can call us on +31 10 408 1154.The full range can be seen on € 1 from each order goes to the Erasmus Scholarship Fund.The fund’s objective is to give talented young people from outside the European Union a chance to study in Rotterdam. For more information or to make a donation, please go to

Promotional gifts Cookin’Rotterdam Erasmus Student Cookbook € 4,99

Little Black Book Rotterdam The best city guide of Rotterdam! € 1,99

Erasmus in Europa The life story of Erasmus in cartoon form; for ages 7 to 99! € 3.95 NL or ENG

Rompers € 12,95 Colour: white

Pen Set € 32.50 Fountain pen and ballpoint

Cap € 10,-

Graduation Bear Small: € 15 Large: € 25

Mug € 5,95

T-shirt € 14,95 Colours: black/ white/dark blue/ grey/brown/light green Sizes: XS-XXL

Bronze figure of Erasmus € 99,50 Height: 15 cm

Sweatshirt € 29.95 Colours: pink/ dark blue/grey/ green Sizes: S-XXL and 140 (child)

Silver-plated letter opener € 22,50

Sweatshirt and jogging pants (not shown) as a set for only € 50!

Photography (in part): Frank Versteegen/

Family portrait

Rotterdam – a conscious choice for two generations Father: Peter Swinkels (65), retired from Bavaria Study: Business Administration, from 1965

Both Peer Swinkels and his father Peter studied at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Together they look back at their time there. text and photo Ronald van den Heerik

to 1972 Member: Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (RSC) Son: Peer Swinkels (35), member of the Executive Board of Bavaria Study: Econometrics, from 1993 to 2000

Peter: ‘After my secondary education at boarding school in Weert, I wanted to escape the Catholic environment I grew up in. The Nederlandse Economische Hogeschool, as it was known then, was considered business-like and the best of its kind; it didn’t have any sort of religious

foundation. I knew nobody in Rotterdam, which suited me fine.’

Student fraternity Peter: ‘At the student fraternity, the RSC, I was present at the ragging (known as the ‘laughing freshman’) which involved shaving your head. I couldn’t take it all very seriously, but I am still a member.’ Peer: ‘The ragging can be fierce, but you do learn to stand up for yourself in a short space of time. Some of the people you get to know in that period remain friends for life.’ Peter: ‘In my first year the fraternity paid a visit to the fraternity in Groningen. We went by bus and didn’t get back to Rotterdam until 8 o’clock the next morning. Professor Diepenhorst, who I admired greatly, was giving a lecture that morning. He could see it wasn’t coffee we’d been drinking all night, and adjusted his lecture accordingly.’ Peer: ‘I set up a student house with others, which we bought later, ‘The Estate of Hamel’ on the Oostzeedijk-Beneden. Some of my best memories are from that period and I am still Chair of the Association of Housemates.’

Still connected Peer: ‘Like my father, I too am on the university’s student council and he also sits on the Trust Fund’s Supervisory Board. I will be giving the keynote speech on graduation day at the Erasmus School of Economics. As a city Rotterdam is great, with students and businesses working together. I feel at home with its work ethic.’

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Erasmus Alumni Magazine  
Erasmus Alumni Magazine  

UK version of the alumni magazine of the Erasmus University Rotterdam