Prince Bernhard Chair

Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation

Why a Prince Bernhard Chair?

Nature and natural resources are under severe and worsening pressures worldwide, leading to a dire need for conservation actions. Such actions are always based on choices. For instance: do we protect nature in fenced national parks or through sustainable use of ecosystems? Conservation science helps to make choices by delivering information, evaluating conservation actions and providing independent advice. This requires strong links between conservation science and conservation practice. The Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation contributes to establishing these links.

What is the Prince Bernhard Chair?

The Prince Bernhard Chair was founded in 1987 at the occasion of the 75th anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard. The Chair was initiated in honor of Prince Bernhard’s crucial role in international conservation.

Prince Bernhard Chair holders are internationally renowned researchers working at the interface of science and conservation. Chair holders serve for a term of five years during which they visit Utrecht University for at least one month per year. Building on the crucial work of Prince Bernhard, the Chair aims to (1) train students (foreign as well as Dutch) in international aspects of nature conservation, (2) provide the scientific basis for conservation practice, and (3) strengthen the link between conservation science and practice. Emphasis is given to tropical forests, covering aspects such as: conservation, sustainable use, regeneration, economic valuation, carbon sequestration and consequences of biofuel production.

Prince Bernhard and nature conservation

Prince Bernhard (1911-2004) dedicated over 40 years of his life to nature conservation, from the early 1960s until his death. He played a crucial role in this field at international level. Prince Bernhard was founder and first president of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and initiated the Peace Park Foundation. In the Netherlands, the Prince was President of the Dutch WWF for over 30 years. Until his death in 2004, Prince Bernhard was closely involved with the activities of his Chair at Utrecht University. He attended seminars and inaugural addresses, and maintained personal contact with Chair holders.

The Prince Bernhard Chair is a member of IUCN, the World Conservation Union.

The Prince Bernhard Chair is part of the research and education of 'Water, Climate and Ecosystems', that belongs to Utrecht University’s strategic theme Sustainability. The Chair is member of the Academy of Ecosystem Services.