Burgemeester Opening Utrecht Summer School 2018

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, Janskerk, 9 juli 2018

Dear all, your Excellencies,

In case the wooden shoes over there got your curiosity: you are welcome to try them, in a few moments, if you wish. After all, no trip to the Netherlands is truly complete unless you have worn wooden shoes.

This is more than a trip to you, however. You are going to stay in Utrecht throughout the summer. At the Utrecht Summer School. I wish you, on this special day, a warm welcome.

There are lots of summer schools to choose from. Amsterdam offers four and London hosts eight summer schools. You nevertheless opted for Utrecht. A wise decision. Utrecht University, the University of Applied Sciences, and the University of the Arts all join forces in this regard. Each summer, they jointly offer a splendid, interesting and highly varied teaching programme.

This is a brilliant formula. That is not only my personal opinion. There is one student who has already attended Utrecht Summer School eight years in a row. All the way from Portugal, to Utrecht. She is probably one of the few people who speak Portuguese…with an Utrecht accent.

I would like to congratulate all of you. Because you opted for Utrecht, of course. An international group. From countries like: Australia, France, India, South Korea, Indonesia. And many more countries.

I would like to congratulate all of you, because you will enter the lecture halls voluntarily... While everyone else lounges on a terrace or the beach, you will be investing in yourself. You therefore let us all witness an absolutely vital fact: that we are never finished learning. We no longer attend school, simply to acquire a certificate. Then proceed to work for the same employer until we retire. Spending an entire lifetime in the one job we were trained for. And why? Because the world is rapidly changing. And experiencing new developments, that call for new skills. And new knowledge. That’s why we spend our whole lives learning... Even in the summertime. And you are living proof of this.

It is good that such summer schools exist. Here, you can learn about art and music, economics and law, health and social sciences. Or even about the internal workings of animals... After all, the Exotic Animal Pathology course has proven highly popular again this year. And each year, too, the animal to be studied comes as a surprise. Perhaps you will end up examining the insides of a mouse. Or those of a huge sperm whale, which recently stranded and died on the Dutch coast. The most enjoyable and exciting thing about this course is that it is not Utrecht Summer School, but rather Mother Nature herself who chooses the subject matter. Just as she decides on the weather.

You are set to acquire a lot of new knowledge, and to meet many new friends. You will have sufficient spare time, hopefully under good weather conditions, to get acquainted with the Netherlands. To enjoy our city. For instance: to climb the Dom Tower. Go canoeing on the canals. Chill out on one of the terraces. Or take a sightseeing tour on foot. Either with or without wooden shoes... I wish you all an unforgettable Utrecht Summer School.