Jouke de Vries was speaking during the annual Epo van Douma lectures in Huizum
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported in the Omrop Fryslân, the comments came on Thursday evening at an annual lecture series held in the church of Huizum (Leeuwarden). Jouke de Vries, the current Chair of the Board of the University of Groningen, gave the comments in reaction to critical statements from Frisian politicians about the lack of students at the University’s Campus Fryslân in Leeuwarden, which opened last year.
De Vries himself, naturally, would like to see more students studying in Leeuwarden, but he says that more time is needed to realise this goal. “We are on a good path. The Bachelors course is now rated as one of the best in the country. If we can get a second programme going, for example in the realm of Data Science, then we will see more good things come from it.”
Furthermore, de Vries says that since being named the Chair of the University, he has tried to raised the RUG’s profile as the ‘University of the North’, as a counterweight to internationalisation. Examples of this include not only having HBO-level teaching, but also more partnerships with the region and regional businesses. De Vries sees the future of the University as just a part of a Northern network, which he sees also including Northern German institutions.
In order to have good partnerships between the university, technical schools, and business life, any ‘university of the North’ would have to become as news-generating and important as the so-called ‘Brainport Eindhoven’ that clusters around TU Eindhoven.
The development of the Botniastins building in Franeker is ‘very interesting’, says de Vries. “With the opening of the historic Botniastins, February 5 will see the reversal of Napoleon’s decision to shut the university in 1811.” De Vries said that Franeker is important both historically and culturally.