Eva González Pérez Utrecht University Alumnus of the Year
Attorney Eva González Pérez has been appointed as Alumnus of the Year by Utrecht University. She received this honorary title on Monday 27 March in the Dom Church during the celebration of the 387th anniversary of the university, the Dies Natalis.
To the general public, Eva González Pérez is mostly known for her crucial role in the Dutch ‘toeslagenaffaire’, a childcare benefit scandal. Driven by her sense of justice and thanks to great persistence, in 2019 she exposes structural problems in the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. It leads to the fall of the Dutch cabinet in 2021, which results in her appearing in the news very often during that period. As an attorney, she represents a big group of parents whose child allowances were wrongfully terminated and charged back by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
Eva González Pérez received a lot of national and international recognition for her role. These recognitions include the Issue Award, the Don Justo Jose Manuel Maza Prize, the Punetas de Plata Prize and (together with Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt) the Coornhert Prize. On top of that, she received a royal medal and the title of Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau last year. Recently, she was also appointed as member of the ‘Staatscommissie Rechtsstaat’ (Dutch State Commission on the rule of law) which, under chairmanship of Utrecht Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling, will conduct research into the functioning of the legislative, judicial and executive powers.
More about Eva González Pérez
Her Cito score in primary school results in Eva González Pérez, like many other migrant children, being sent to the ‘huishoudschool’ (a domestic school, manly for girls). But after her first year she transfers to the mavo (lower general secondary education). Followed by havo (higher general secondary education), vwo (pre-university education) and finally university. This background makes her a role model to children for whom studying is far from self-evident, and it makes her an ambassador for the Utrecht University programme Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.
In the year 2000, she completes her degree programme of Dutch Law at Utrecht University. Soon after that, she is sworn in as an attorney in the judicial district of 's-Hertogenbosch. Together with two partners, she starts her own law firm in Eindhoven in 2007, where she mostly does cases in the fields of labour law, social-security law and consumer law.
We admire Eva for the important role she played in the ‘toeslagenaffaire’. She got the ball rolling.
From the jury report
The jury about Eva González Pérez: ‘We admire Eva for the important role she played in the ‘toeslagenaffaire’. She got the ball rolling. Because of her the misconducts at the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration were put on the political and societal agendas. With tireless effort and ambition she represents dozens of the effected parents in their legal proceedings. Her resolute performance and commitment to the victims of this affair make her an inspiration for all students and alumni’.
The Alumnus of the Year Award (an initiative of the Utrecht University Fund) is an art work by the Utrecht artist Nissim Men, featuring a place in the city of Utrecht that is important to the winner. Eva González Pérez chose the Dom Tower.
Alumnus of the Year
By awarding the honorary title Alumnus of the Year, Utrecht University underlines the way alumni form an important and integral part of the academic community. Together with students, academics, alumni, social partners, government bodies and the commercial sector, the university strives to find sustainable solutions to the big social challenges of our time.
An Alumnus of the Year is someone who brings progress to his or her field and dares to stray from the beaten track, a person who is committed to society and a source of inspiration to current students. Alumni of the Year in previous years were: Marion Koopmans (2021), Rutger Bregman (2020), Jan Beuving (2018), Cathelijne Broers (2017), Feike Sijbesma (2016) and Marjan Minnesma (2015).
The jury for this year’s award consisted of alumni Marjan Minnesma (President, Director of Urgenda), José van Dijck (Distinguished Professor, Board Member of the Utrecht University Fund), Anneloes Krul (student assessor of the Executive Board), Floris de Gelder (independent advisor), Maurice Unck (General Director/CEO of RET, Vice-President of the Utrecht University Fund).