Interview with Marion Koopmans

Portret van Marion Koopmans
image: Guido Benschop

She graduated in Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht in 1976. Leading virologist Marion Koopmans became a household name overnight when she joined the Dutch Outbreak Management Team (OMT) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) research team during the COVID pandemic. This year, she was named Utrecht University’s Alumnus of the Year and invited to take part in the annual College Tour last October. Want to learn more about her student days in Utrecht, her fascination with viruses and her experience of being a public figure during a major pandemic?

You can watch the College Tour with Marion Koopmans — organised as part of Utrecht Science Week — on YouTube



The wind in your hair

Foto van Klompenpaden

The wind in your hair, a relaxed state of mind and the smell of the outdoors in your clothes ... What’s not to love? If you enjoy getting off the beaten track, why not explore the Klompenpaden in Utrecht? Enjoy a walk through the countryside with its charming farmhouses and beautiful estates. The relaxing, relatively short hikes (5 to 25 kilometres) combine cultural history and nature. The Klompenpaden are an initiative of Landschap Erfgoed Utrecht. Utrecht University has partnered with the heritage organisation in an effort to strengthen its ties with the region.

Visit the website for an overview of all 35 hiking paths



The Futurists — Out of control

Our current culture is based around a neoliberal, individualistic sense of freedom. We basically do and say whatever we want and consume like there’s no tomorrow. The question is: is this notion of freedom really sustainable in the long run? The Futurists is a theatrical talk show in which theatre makers and scientists explore the future. This unique combination of interviews and theatre sees musicians and writers translate a high-profile guest’s vision into a theatrical performance within the space of a single day. It doesn’t get any fresher! On 14 November, a performance by Nieuw Utrechts Toneel & the Utrecht University Descartes Centre.

You can order free tickets at their page

A focus on mental health

The recent Youth in the 21st century symposium saw researchers from Utrecht University headed by Gonneke Stevens present their Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) report to Her Majesty Queen Máxima. The report presents the results of 20 years of research on the well-being and health of young people in the Netherlands. You can hear Gonneke Stevens discuss the results of the survey with Henk Hagoort, chair of the Secondary Education Council, in the JongGeleerd podcast. So what can schools and teachers do to help young people cope with the mounting pressures of schoolwork and mental health issues?

Listen to this episode of the JongGeleerd podcast by clicking the links at this page

A flower’s tale

Foto van Bibi Dumon Tak

A flower’s tale — that is the title of the poem written especially for the Kinderboekenweek (Children’s Book Week) last October by award-winning author Bibi Dumon Tak. The poem ties in perfectly with the theme of this year’s Kinderboekenweek: Let’s go green! As an extra added bonus, Bibi personally recited the poem in Utrecht University’s Botanical Gardens surrounded by the butterflies and buzzing bees featured in her work. Bibi Dumon Tak studied Dutch Language and Literature at Utrecht University. Listen to her poem and enjoy the beautiful gardens for a real taste of summer.

The video of Bibi reciting her poem can be found at this link


Gaming out the energy transition

Faculty Club Spelletjesavond Gigawat

Last March, maths alumni Wouter Vink, Milo van Holsteijn and Jöbke Janssen launched a new board game called GigaWatt — a Power Play for the Future — through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter The game combines Risk, Monopoly and Catan, according to a rave review in the Volkskrant. The first player to complete the energy transition in their own region wins. As demand for electricity increases with each round, players must replace their coal and gas plants with CO2-free alternatives. Exciting!

The faculty club will be hosting a GigaWatt games night on 2 February. For more information and registration, visit this page. For more on the creators and the origins of GigaWatt, see this page

Visit the website of Gigawatt in order to find out more or order the game

Save the date

For all alumni events, please see our agenda