387th Dies Natalis

The birthday of the university


On Monday 27 March, Utrecht University will celebrate its 387th Dies Natalis.

Livestream from 27 March 4pm

Dies celebration

The theme of the Dies Natalis is The climate crisis – between reflection and action. This is not a celebratory theme, but we feel it is vital to debate on this issue. Because the climate is indeed changing and the consequences are devastating. It’s growing ever clearer that it will not be possible to turn the tide with technological solutions. We need to think fundamentally about who we are, our consumption patterns and our relationship with nature.

Here at Utrecht University we have a great deal of knowledge regarding systems. Knowledge about how the climate functions: about the oceans, the poles and the glaciers. But also about how institutions and governance can contribute to transition, as well as what kind of culture determines, and perpetuates, our approach to nature.

During the Dies Natalis, we’re taking a look in the mirror. How do we find the right balance between reflection and action? What do we need to do, as a society and as a university? And are we actually doing this?

The Anniversary Speech entitled: Back to the future. A historical perspective on the climate crisis will be given by Liesbeth van de Grift, Professor of International History and the Environment. Liesbeth points out that many environmental problems have been on the agenda for a long time. Is the history of the climate and biodiversity crisis simply a chain of missed opportunities? Or can a historical perspective also help us to steer a course today and to envisage a sustainable future?

Honorary doctorates

During the festivities, honorary doctorates will be conferred to two leading international scientists, Prof. Corinne Le Quéré and Prof. Sonia Seneviratne. They are receiving their honorary doctorates in recognition of their exceptional contributions to science, policy and society in the struggle against climate change.

Teacher Awards, Alumnus of the Year and musical intermezzo

In addition, the winners of the Teacher Awards will be put in the spotlight, and the prize for the Alumnus of the Year will be presented. The musical intermezzo will be provided by the Utrechtsch Studenten Concert, Utrecht’s oldest symphony orchestra, which is currently celebrating its 200th year.

We hope to see you on 27 March! 

The Executive Board of Utrecht University, 
Anton Pijpers, President 
Margot van der Starre, Vice President 
Henk Kummeling, Rector Magnificus 
Anneloes Krul, Student Assessor

Start date and time
End date and time
Dom Church or via livestream: www.uu.nl/en/dies387

In the Dom Church, we have limited seating. Invitees have therefore received an invitation by e-mail. The livestream can be watched on YouTube.