The guide to Dutch universities De Keuzegids must look for another Best University in the Netherlands.
It has become a fixture: every year like clockwork, the Keuzegids announces that WUR is the Best. It has been now for 18 years in a row. How boring is that? WUR itself is getting bored of it, so the Executive Board has decided to skip a year. The board is following the advice of the Not Again workgroup.
WUR’s gesture is not just an expression of magnanimity, however. It’s a question of self-interest too, as chair Alfons Spegt readily admits. ‘After 18 years, the novelty has worn off a bit. Even among the intranet editors, I detect a certain reluctance to report on it. A year out of the limelight will work wonders. Besides, everyone knows we’re the best anyway.’
The idea of withdrawing was inspired by the way things work in the annual election of the Teacher of The Year. The winner of that award cannot be nominated again the following year. ‘That creates space for others to shine,’ says Spegt. ‘And what are you supposed to do with two or more of those statuettes. They’ll just end up on eBay or the like anyway.’
De Keuzegids reacted with surprise but relief to the news from Wageningen. ‘We have also played with this idea internally. But it’s a bit like Formula 1 without Max Verstappen, the World Chess Championship without Magnus Carlsen or King Willem-Alexander without Máxima.
Besides, everyone knows we’re the best anyway
What does it amount to then? Anyway, we will have to write a different press release this year.’ The Not Again workgroup has extended its (unsolicited) advice to cover several other areas. For instance, the group suggests that WUR skips Dies Natalis next year, that the VVD party should not take part in the elections once the cabinet falls, that the Netherlands should not enter the Eurovision Song Contest and that Ajax football club should pass up the champions’ trophy this year.