Academic rituals

University decorum is expressed amongst other things in official events at the university, such as the opening of the academic year, the Dies Natalis (the anniversary of the university), speeches, valedictory lectures, defence ceremonies, and official receptions. The following attributes play a role in university decorum:

The Rector’s chain of office

The present Rector’s chain of office was designed in commission to the Executive Board of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and made by Kris Schieving, silversmith in Schoonhoven. The chain of office consists of links, a front link and a medallion. The chain consists of twelve round links, seven of which are coloured: the colours of the seven faculties. The front link and the attached medallion display the silhouette of Desiderius Erasmus and the name of the institution written in full. In the middle of the medallion is the coat of arms of Rotterdam; the front link and medallion together symbolise the relationship between Erasmus University and Rotterdam. The chain is worn across the shoulder.

The beadle’s staff

At the official opening ceremony of the Erasmus University on 8 November 1973, it was announced that the new university would receive the gift of a beadle’s staff from its sister institutions. This staff was made by Amsterdam silversmith Chris F. Steenbergen (1920) and presented on the occasion of the opening of the Academic Year on 15 September 1975.

The staff is made from plexiglass and bears two smooth silver bands and a crown, which consists of a round rod intersected by two smooth round discs between which five cylindrical bells are suspended. The round silver top disc bears the name ERASMUS. The five bells are constructed in such a manner that they chime when the staff is held at an angle, indicating the beadle’s approach. When the beadle is to retire silently, he or she holds the staff upright.