Start of the Academic Year 2023-2024


The annual celebration of the start of the academic year of Utrecht University will take place at 4 September 2023.


  • 14:50 Opening
  • 29:25 Keynote
  • 42:16 Intermezzo
  • 54:37 Student awards
  • 1:11:11 Final address


This year’s Start of the Academic Year will focus on public engagement and the reopening of the renovated Utrecht University Museum, the leading research museum in the Netherlands.

    Public engagement

    Why the focus on public engagement? Because academics require partnerships with other parties in order to properly do their work; not only with fellow academics, policymakers or businesses, but also with people for whom the value of science is not always self-evident. Accordingly, Utrecht University attaches great value to getting a broad and diverse cross-section of society engaged with science. To this end, we invest in public engagement. Utrecht University Museum is one of the forums where the academic community and the general public can meet and have a dialogue.

    During the ceremony, Anton Pijpers will give his opening speech and address the theme. Keynote speaker is social psychologist Madelijn Strick. She is a researcher in the field of public engagement and co-founder of the IMPACTLAB. Henk Kummeling will more specifically discuss the significance of the Utrecht University Museum in relation to public engagement. In addition, Margot van der Starre will announce the winners of the Student Awards: the Best Master’s Thesis award, the Vliegenthart Thesis Award and the Social Impact award.

    Utrecht University Museum

    After the opening ceremony in the Dom Church has ended, all guests will be welcome to join us in a walk along Lange Nieuwstraat to Utrecht University Museum to the attend the spectacular reopening of this renovated research museum and to be among the first to visit it.

    This year’s Start of the Academic Year drinks reception will again be held in the museum and in its old botanical garden.

    We hope to see you on 4 September!

    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:

    If you would like to attend, please register here. Please note that a limited number of spots are available. There will be a livestream available on this web page.

    More information