388th Dies Natalis

The birthday of the university


On 26 March, Utrecht University will celebrate its 388th Dies Natalis.

Watch the livestream recording

Livestream timestamps

  • 13:00 - Opening
  • 32:40 - Keynote
  • 50:30 - Honorary Doctorates
  • 1:07:00 - Music
  • 1:17:50 - Teacher awards

The Future of Democracy

The theme of the Dies Natalis is ‘The future of democracy’.

The continued existence of the democratic constitutional state depends on a number of written AND unwritten rules. All over the world, these rules are under pressure. Authoritarian leaders are using the formal institutions of democracy to weaken the constitutional state from the inside, one step at a time. The more informal, unwritten rules of democracy – respect for minorities, space for pluriformity, no interference with judges, accepting a loss – are being transgressed upon first. Universities are important institutions for maintaining these unwritten rules and practices.

The Anniversary Address entitled ‘The unwritten rules of the democratic constitutional state’ will be held by Mark Bovens, professor of Public Administration at the Utrecht University School of Governance.

Two international top-level academics will receive honorary doctorates during the Dies Natalis: Matthew Flinders and Robyn Eckersley. Matthew Flinders has been nominated by the strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies. Throughout his impressive career, he has carried out influential work on a number of core aspects of an open society, such as the meaning and design of politics, democracy and good governance. Robyn Eckersley has been nominated by the strategic theme Pathways to Sustainability. Her research mainly looks at which political and institutional innovations are needed to fight the consequences of climate change and how to ensure that these innovations are democratically secured. In this context, Robin Eckersley uses a broad definition of democracy and who can participate in it.

After the presentation of the honorary doctorates, we will additionally celebrate the winners of the Teacher Awards and present the Alumnus of the Year Award. The Utrechtse Studenten Bigband will provide a musical intermezzo.

Start date and time
End date and time
Dom Church or via livestream: www.uu.nl/en/dies388

Do you want to attend this ceremony? Click here to sign up. The livestream can be watched on YouTube.