Start of the Academic Year 2022-2023


The annual celebration of the start of the academic year of Utrecht University will take place at 5 September 2022.

Watch the video

Time codes in the video

  • 1:18 - Opening Speech Anton Pijpers
  • 17:50 - Speech Naomi Ellemers
  • 36:30 - Discussing social safety
  • 1:06:50 - Student awards
  • 1:23:18 - Closing Speech Henk Kummeling

Speeches and laudations

This year's theme: Social Safety

We will be taking the opportunity to discuss an important, sometimes challenging topic: social safety.

Our keynote speaker is Organisational Psychologist and Distinguished University Professor Naomi Ellemers. She is Chair of the Committee for Inappropriate Behaviour of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), which will be issuing a report in the very near future. During the Start of the Academic Year, she will present the results of her research and reveal how everyone in the university can do their part to foster social safety. 

Ellemers will explain how we often feel discomfort when we are faced with undesirable behaviour. And that we, as a result, tend to look away, justify the wrongdoing, blame victims or only take symbolic actions. In her keynote Ellemers stresses that as long as we don't face and embrace the discomfort that comes with undesirable behaviour, we won't be able to see what's really going on, hear what people need, or discuss necessary changes. We can only learn how to do better when we face the uncomfortable truth that all kinds of our daily processes and ingrained habits may have adverse effects. Asking yourself and others uncomfortable questions requires courage and an open attitude. There is a pressing need for it, also within our university, says Ellemers, and it is the way forward.

President of the Executive Board Anton Pijpers will also discuss the theme during the ceremony and staff and students will get a chance to respond to Ellemers’ talk.

Student Awards

Moreover, we will announce the winners of the two student awards; for Best Master’s Thesis and Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements. Read more about the nominees.

Talk in confidence, report or file a complaint

If you have experienced something unpleasant or have a concern, it is important not to keep it to yourself. Know that you can get help if you take this courageous and important step. The confidential advisers and ombudspersons at UU will always treat you and your question or report confidentially. Unsure where to turn? Don't hesitate to contact one of the people mentioned, you will always be helped. Whoever you ask, we will always help you find the best person to talk to.

Selection guide

Registrations closed

The event will be held in hybrid form. There is limited seating in the Dom Church, and the maximum number of registrations has been reached. You can watch the ceremony via livestream. 

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