For the benefit of all: making society work
104th Dies Natalis

Dies Natalis 2017

Current facets (Pre-Master)

Erasmus University Rotterdam celebrated the university’s 104th anniversary on Wednesday, 8 November 2017. The theme ‘For the benefit of all: making society work’  touched upon all aspects of research and education at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and also mirrored the work of Professor Christopher Hood. This influential British academic received an honorary doctorate from Erasmus University Rotterdam during the ceremony. 


Furthermore, the presentations by the Rector Magnificus, Professor Huibert Pols, the Chair of Erasmus Trustfonds, Mr. Michiel Muller, and the Dies lecture by ESSB Dean Professor Henk van der Molen addressed aspects of contributing to society. Click on the links to read some of the speeches that were given during the ceremony:

Honorary doctorate for Prof. Christopher Hood

On 8 November 2017, at the instigation of Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB), Erasmus University Rotterdam awarded Professor Christopher Hood an honorary doctorate for his contribution to the development of the field of Public Administration in general and in the Netherlands in particular. 

About Christopher Hood

Professor Christopher Hood (1947) is currently emeritus Fellow at All Souls College of the University of Oxford, where he was Gladstone Professor of Government between 2001 and 2014. Before that, he was Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics from 1989 onwards. In 1996, he was elected Fellow of the British Academy.  

Professor Hood has published various iconic books and over 100 articles in scientific journals. With the article ‘A public management of all seasons?’ published in 1991, he provided Public Administration scholars with the concepts they needed to make sense of New Public Management practices, i.e. the worldwide rise of the use market tools within the public sector at the end of the last century. Even at that early stage, he was warning about the risks of the one-sided emphasis on the values of efficiency and effectiveness in these practices. 

His earlier work on the tools of government propelled research on policy instruments, especially in the Netherlands, at University of Twente and at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His book ‘Limits of Administration’ (1976) was one of the sources of inspiration underlying the ideas on policy networks as they emerged in the research of the young Rotterdam Public Administration department. They became part of the DNA of this department’s research. Publications that testify to this work are the ‘Art of State’ (1998), ‘Tools of government in the digital age’ (2007, with Helen Margetts) and ‘The Blame Game’ (2011). 

His critical attitude towards rhetoric inspired him and his co-author Ruth Dixon to analyse the results of three decades of New Public Management reforms in the UK, as presented in his most recent book ‘A government that worked better and cost less?’ (winner of the 2015 Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration and the 2016 W.J.M. Hackenzie Award). 

The academic work he has undertaken during his career has had a constituent and enduring influence on the development of the discipline of Public Administration in the Netherlands.

Honorary promotor

Prof. Pearl Dykstra was awarded the position of honorary promotor. 

About Pearl Dykstra

Pearl Dykstra is Professor of Empirical Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Deputy Chair of the High Level Group of scientists advising the Cabinet of European Commissioners.

Pearl Dykstra was appointed chair of Empirical Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2009. Previously, she had a chair in Kinship Demography at Utrecht University and was a senior scientist at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) in The Hague. She is director of research of the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at the EUR. 

She is an internationally regarded specialist on intergenerational solidarity, aging societies, family change, aging and the life course, and loneliness. Large scale projects for which she has been awarded grants include the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) and the EU 7th Framework programme MULTILINKS.

In 2012 she received an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant for the research project “Families in context”, which focuses on the ways in which policy, economic, and cultural contexts structure intergenerational and gendered dependencies in families.

She is consortium member of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), which is on the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities. She became a member of the Board of the Social Sciences and Humanities Division of NWO in 2016. She serves as Scientific Director ODISSEI, the Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economics Innovations. 

She is an elected member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW, 2004) and served as Vice-President from 2011-2016. She was an elected member of the Dutch Social Sciences Council (SWR) from 2006-2016. In 2010 she was elected as fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and in 2016 as fellow of Academia Europaea. She was appointed to the High Level Group of scientists advising the Cabinet of European Commissioners in 2015, and has been serving as its deputy chair since 2016.

Dies lecture

The Dies lecture 'The Praise of Audacity' was deliverd by Henk van der Molen (1954), Professor of Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam and since 2009 Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He stepped down as Dean at the end of 2017. 

About Henk van der Molen

Professor Van der Molen has been associated with the Institute of Psychology EUR since 2001. Together with founding dean prof. dr. Henk Schmidt he has been responsible for the formation of the Bachelor and Master programmes in Psychology. Both programmes have been rated by students as the best psychology programmes in the Netherlands for more than 10 years. 

Since 2005, Professor Van der Molen was chairman and programme director of the EUR Institute of Psychology. Previously, he was professor at the Open University of the Netherlands and the University of Groningen. 

Van der Molen has extensive managerial experience in a wide variety of functions. Prior to his appointment at EUR, he was Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at the Open University of the Netherlands. He was also chairman of the General and Executive Board of the Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen (Dutch Association of Psychologists), the Chamber of Psychology of the VSNU (Dutch Association of Universities) and various accreditation committees.  

He studied clinical psychology at the University of Groningen and graduated cum laude in 1985 with his thesis 'Hulp als onderwijs. Effecten van cursussen voor verlegen mensen' (transl. Treatment as Education. Effects of courses for shy people). In collaboration with others, Professor Van der Molen has published over thirty books. All together around 450.000 copies of these books have been sold. He has also (co-)authored over 180 national and international publications. 

Moreover, he has been involved in the development of more than twenty audio-visual programs on communication skills and twenty interactive computer programs for the acquisition of professional skills, such as communication, psychodiagnostic and academic writing skills. He has been (co-) promoter of twenty PhD dissertations.


View the photos of last year's Dies Natalis.