I see Crown Princess Amalia will be going to university in Amsterdam. Good for her that she is not slavishly following the family tradition — King Willem Alexander, Queen Beatrix and Queen Juliana all studied at Leiden.
But did she consider Wageningen? Her degree is a combination of law, economics, politics and psychology. Not what you associate with Wageningen, but appearances can be deceptive. Her father studied history, but later got involved in water management. He would have been better off going to Wageningen for that. Máxima studied economics in Argentina, so a Dutch university was not an obvious alternative. But now she works around the world on microfinance for small business owners who don’t have access to the capital market. She would have got excellent preparation for that task at Wageningen.
I was recently involved in providing information to school leavers. We tried to put our Wageningen degree programme in the best possible light. We covered all bases. Look at our content — you won’t get this anywhere else! Look at our supervision — small scale and you get lots of attention!
Perhaps we could interest Amalia in a Master’s at Wageningen?
Look at our status — Wageningen has topped the student guide ranking for years! But I noticed when talking to the school leavers afterwards that they had very different concerns. ‘What time do lectures begin in the morning?’ ‘How good does my English need to be?’ ‘How easy is it to find a room?’ Their considerations are very practical. ‘I have a friend here so she can show me the ropes.’ ‘It’s good for sports here.’ ‘I heard Wageningen is quite nice once you’re there.’
I suspect Amalia has got a lot going for her. She passed her school leaving exams with distinction, and her hobbies are horse riding, tennis and singing. Given her choice of degree, it seems she is interested in a combination of disciplines that she will be able to apply broadly. But hang on, aren’t ‘interdisciplinary’ and ‘applicability’ our middle names at Wageningen? Perhaps we could interest her in a Master’s?
If she came to our open day, I know what I would tell her. Amalia, the Ginkelse Heide is great for horse riding, and I can recommend a really fun choir for you!
This is the first column by Sjoukje Osinga, an assistant professor in the Information Technology group. Sjoukje studies big data. In her spare time she sings in the Wageningen chamber choir Musica Vocale.