Inaugural lectures

An inaugural lecture is a formal ceremony held for a newly appointed professor. It is held in the Auditorium of the University Hall. Colleagues as well as other interested parties may be invited to the ceremony. 

The inaugural lecture is held in Dutch and lasts no more than 45 minutes. The gist of the lecture should be comprehensible to those who are not involved in the professor’s specialist field. Non-Dutch-speaking professors may choose to lecture in either their own language or in English. 
Newly appointed professors are expected to give their inaugural lectures within one year of starting their professorship.

After a short introduction by either the Dean of the Faculty or the Rector Magnificus, the newly appointed professor delivers the lecture. No other persons are supposed to speak during the ceremony.

Date of the inaugural lecture

The date of the inaugural lecture is planned in consultation with the Beadle’s Office. Inaugural lectures typically start at 4.15 p.m. In consultation with the Executive Board, two newly appointed professors in related fields of expertise may be permitted to deliver their lectures in the same session. In this case, the professors are allocated 30 minutes each for their lectures.


Invitations to attend the ceremony are sent by the Executive Board. On the Board’s behalf, the Beadle’s Office sends invitations to: 

  • The members of the Executive Board;
  • The members of the Supervisory Board;
  • The Deans of all faculties;
  • The managing directors of all service departments;
  • The (emeritus) professors of the faculty involved;
  • The Executive Board of UMC Utrecht;
  • The Executive Boards of all sister organisations;
  • The senates and boards of the student societies;
  • The boards of the study organisations of the faculty involved.

In addition, the Beadle’s Office receives notice of the following:

  • The number of personal invitations the orator wishes to send out in addition to the above. This should be discussed no later than eight weeks before the ceremony. Costs: €0.50 per invitation and €0.30 per envelope (ex. VAT).
  • The number of seats the orator wishes to reserve for personal guests. Should any authorities (e.g. members of government, local authorities, MPs, ambassadors, secretary-generals or director-generals of government departments, members of the supervisory or executive boards of large industrial companies) respond positively to a (personal) invitation to attend the ceremony, the Beadle’s Office (+31 30 253 8259) and the Protocol Office (+31 30 253 3068) should be informed as soon as possible.

Please note that the Auditorium has 220 seats in the hall itself and another 60 on the dais (reserved for professors and the boards of student societies). 

Printing and mailing inaugural lectures

Any professor wishing to have his or her lecture printed, should be aware that he/she will be charged the costs involved; these are not tax-deductible. Communications & Marketing (+31 30 253 3550) offers help and advice on printing a lecture. The mailing of the printed lecture can be arranged through the university mail services. 

The orator may decide to send copies of the lecture to the professors of other faculties. The Beadle’s Office can provide the relevant addresses. 


Upon arrival at the University Hall, the orator’s partner and any other close family members may gather in the Foyer, where tea and coffee is available. It is important that these guests arrive in the Auditorium in good time in order to take their reserved seats in the first few rows. The orator is requested to inform the Beadle’s Office of the number of seats he/she wishes to reserve for personal guests. The (robed) professors and the invitees listed below gather in the Senate Hall at least ten minutes before the start of the ceremony. Here, the Rector Magnificus organises the procession to the Auditorium, typically in the order stated below:

  • Beadle;
  • Rector Magnificus and the newly appointed lecturer;
  • Executive Board and Dean of the faculty involved;
  • Board of the appointing organisation (for professors by special appointment). The members of the Executive Board generally accompany the special representatives;
  • Executive Board of UMC Utrecht (for inaugural lectures of the Faculty of Medicine only); 
  • Management of the faculty involved;
  • Former Rectors and former Deans of the faculty involved; 
  • Deans of other faculties; 
  • Distinguished professors of Utrecht University;
  • Professors emeriti;
  • Professors not affiliated with Utrecht University;
  • Other professors.

In the first row on the left, seats are reserved for dignitaries whose attendance has been announced in advance. Dignitaries do not join the procession.

As soon as the procession, led by the Beadle, reaches the dais in the Auditorium, the orator moves to the lectern to start the inaugural lecture. During the lecture the lecturer does not take off his/her cap. Once the lecture has finished, the procession of professors and authorities, in the same order as before, makes its way to the reception in the Senate Hall. The Beadle may suggest that the partner of the orator join the orator in the procession when leaving the Auditorium. Partners of board members and professors who were seated on the first rows on the left also join the procession to leave the Auditorium. After the procession has left the hall, all other guests leave row by row. 

Both before and after the ceremony, the university organist plays the organ in the Auditorium. If the orator has any specific musical preferences, he/she should inform the Beadle’s Office of these well in advance. Suggestions for other instrumentalists who may join the organist should be notified in the same way. 


The ceremony is generally followed by a reception in the Senate Hall. More information about this is available from the Beadle’s Office. The orator bears the costs of the reception. He/She should be sure to enquire in good time about any traditions that may be observed in his/her faculty. 


In view of the Auditorium’s acoustics, it is imperative that the microphone level be set correctly. The orator is responsible for arranging and attending a microphone test on the day of the inaugural lecture. The University Hall’s Reception (+31 30 253 8252) is the contact point. Orators who wish to make use of other audio-visual facilities should contact the University Hall’s Reception no later than a week before the ceremony.


The University Hall is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. A lift provides access to the upper floor (Senate Hall) for those unable to use the stairs. 


Beadle’s Office: +31 30 253 8259
Reception University Hall: +31 30 253 8252
Catering Oud London: +31 30 253 8254