Update demonstrations campus Woudestein Live blog

Campus Woudestein.
Campus Woudestein.
Alexander Santos Lima

Developments surrounding the war between Israel and Hamas and the people of Gaza are rapidly following one another, both in the Middle East and in the Netherlands. 

This liveblog gathers the latest updates on developments at our university.

The situation on campus is currently peaceful. A group of about 40 protesters is still present on Erasmus Plaza.

Meanwhile, some protesters have defaced several places on campus with paint: walls, a stairwell and also the big screen on Campus Plaza.

The university has reached out and made contact with the protesters. It has been proposed to engage in conversation inside, without face coverings and after identification. For now, the protesters have indicated that they do not wish to accept the invitation under these conditions.

It has been decided to close the FoodPlaza at 5pm as a precautionary measure.

At the moment, the demonstration is proceeding peacefully, there is no reason to decide to close the buildings completely as before. All scheduled meetings, lectures and other events will continue.

It is possible to drive out of the parking garage; entry is currently not possible.

The demonstration will be monitored in order to take possible measures if the situation calls for it. Safety for students, staff and demonstrators is, as always, top priority.

As a precautionary measure, it has been decided that Sanders Building, Erasmus Building and Mandeville Building will be accessible on presentation of employee or student ID card.

Pro-Palestine demonstration 30 May

A pro-Palestine protest started around 14:30 on campus Woudestein. Several dozen protesters gathered in front of Food Plaza with a drum band and two tents. More information will follow.

How we want to move forward

In these turbulent times, we would like to reflect on the recent events and protests that have taken place in response to the gripping conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and on how we as a university want to follow up on this.

Especially in these difficult times, we want to be an inclusive and respectful university, a community in which everyone feels safe and heard, despite sometimes even major differences of opinion. The situation in Gaza evokes deep emotions everywhere, including in our own country. We want to reaffirm that peaceful gatherings and protests are essential components of democratic expression and a way for our community to make its voice heard. Our university is and will remain an environment in which dialogue and understanding must be central.

Erasmian values

It is important that we seek to find each other in our shared values of humanity, justice, and respect for all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs. This is what our Erasmian values are for: social involvement, global citizenship, connecting, enterprising and also open-minded.

That is why, from the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, we have said that we facilitate dialogue, debate and demonstrations. We see that some of our students and staff take on this responsibility by participating in teach-ins, walk-outs and demonstrations. They are making their voices heard against the humanitarian crisis. We recognize that this can cause friction, discomfort, and anxiety. But it is part of the nature and core of a university that we persist in giving space to different perspectives, insights and beliefs. That there can be critical debate. That it's abrasive. However, it is important that all our students and staff feel safe on our campus, whether they have a Palestinian, Jewish or other background. Discrimination, vandalism or violence have no place at a university. In doing so, they threaten academic freedom and perceived safety.


We had to decide to close the university last Thursday. We would much rather not have had to do that. Due to the urgent request of the triangle (mayor, police and public prosecution service) Rotterdam, we felt no other choice. The safety of students, staff and protesters could not be guaranteed. The organising parties have subsequently postponed their announced demonstration on campus, but do not rule out the possibility that new actions will come to campus at a later date.

Unfortunately, a number of organizers indicate via social media that they do not feel the need for a dialogue. We think it is important to always remain open to dialogue and we notice that many of our students and staff feel the same way. After all, that is the core and nature of a university: that you always keep talking to each other and are always curious about the other person's considerations and arguments. We will not allow ourselves to be held hostage by parties that, in their own words, 'do not want to talk, but want a revolution'. That's not part of the nature of an academy.

3 Pillars

We are therefore taking the initiative to conduct the dialogue on this issue in greater depth and scope. This approach is based on three pillars:

  1. Activities to strengthen solidarity and understanding within the EUR community.
  2. Promoting transparency and normative criteria in our partnerships.
  3. Initiatives to contribute to the reconstruction of the knowledge infrastructure in Gaza.

1: Dialogue tables

We enter into dialogue with each other within the fixed consultation structures with students and staff, such as the University Council, and we facilitate and organize dialogue tables, via the IDEA Center and possibly also via Studium Generale and the Living Room, Students and staff are explicitly asked to participate and participate.

2: Committee on Partnerships in formation

A university-wide Committee for Partnerships EUR will be set up to advise on collaboration with international knowledge institutions and other partners. Important criteria in this regard are human rights, knowledge security and the core values of the EUR. A lot of work is currently being done on the criteria and the procedure. Once the members have been appointed, cooperation with partners involved in the situation in Gaza and Israel will be examined first.

3: Contribution to the reconstruction of the knowledge infrastructure in Gaza

After the destruction of the academic structure in Gaza, reconstruction is necessary. Although we realize that our options are limited under the current circumstances, we want to explore how we can help students, scholars and institutes in Gaza together with other universities and the international academic community. Both in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in student and staff exchanges. We would also like to discuss this with our EUR community.

Executive Board,

Ed Brinksma
Annelien Bredenoord
Ellen van Schoten

Campus woudestein in summer
Alexander Santos Lima

Erasmus University Rotterdam reopens campus on Friday, May 17

The announced pro-Palestine demonstration on campus Woudestein did not take place today on the Erasmus University Rotterdam premises following the closure of the buildings on the urgent advice of the triangle,. The campus will remain closed on Thursday 16 May, but the buildings will reopen on Friday 17 May and all lectures, work, exams and other activities will resume. The only exception is a small number in Sanders Building, as these lectures have already been cancelled.

A number of pro-Palestinian organisations have moved their demonstration from today to the Rotterdam Central Station square. Social media from organising parties reveal that they do plan to still come to campus Woudestein at another time. The university, again in cooperation with the triangle of mayor, police and OM, is making the necessary preparations for this. Safety comes first, of course, and in consultation with the triangle, the necessary safety measures will be taken in the coming period. More information will follow.

Frequently asked questions about demonstration

We maintain a list of current answers to frequently asked questions on a separate page. Please also check there to stay up-to-date.

Quiet on campus Woudestein

The pro-Palestine demonstration was scheduled to start at 13:00. But so far it is quiet. The protest seems to have moved to Rotterdam Central Station.

Empty campus on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Online reports that demonstration on campus Woudestein has been cancelled

Reports are appearing that today's pro-Palestine demonstration on campus Woudestein has been cancelled. In any case, the campus will remain closed for the day. Security on campus is the responsibility of the triangle and it is present on campus.

Erasmus University will close all buildings tomorrow on the urgent advice of the triangle

Following the urgent advice of the Rotterdam triangle (consisting of the mayor, police and Public Prosecution Service), Erasmus University will close all buildings on the Woudestein campus on Thursday 16 May for safety reasons and Erasmus University College. Pro-Palestinian organisations have announced a demonstration on campus from 1 p.m. on this day. The demonstration on campus can go ahead and the outstanding invite of the Executive Board to talk to representatives of students and staff still stands.

President of the Executive Board Ed Brinksma: "It is extremely disappointing that it is necessary to close all buildings on campus. With this demonstration, our own students and staff want to peacefully draw attention to the situation in Gaza and the changes they want to see. However, since the nature and size of the demonstration cannot be estimated, the triangle has urged us to take this preventive measure and close all buildings. The course of protests elsewhere in the country shows that the risks can be significant.”

Because all buildings will be closed, there will be no exams, lectures, tutorials, PhD defences, inaugural lectures and events on campus on this day. Online exams (via online proctoring) are also canceled. Where possible, we try to offer online education and/or move activities away from campus.

Brinksma: "We think it's important to be able to demonstrate. Because we do not make our buildings accessible, we also hope that this demonstration will be given the necessary space. We want there to be room within a university for different opinions and for peaceful demonstrations. Of course, we all hope for a respectful and open conversation like the one that has taken place before and we hope to avoid scenes like the one in Amsterdam. However, the safety of both the students and staff of our university and the participants is paramount to us as a university."

Walkout on campus

This morning, around 70 people responded to Dutch Scholars for Palestine's broad call for a so-called walkout. They walked away from the lectures, the working group or the workplace around 11:00 and met outside on Woudestein campus. As in previous meetings around the situation in Gaza, people started talking to each other and chanting slogans. They call attention to the situation in Gaza and the Palestinian people.

President of the Executive Board Ed Brinksma at Radio Rijnmond - Wednesday 15 May 17:30

More information

We maintain a list of current answers to frequently asked questions on a separate page. Please also check there to stay up-to-date.

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