09 Apr 2009
Huygens 2008 Scholarship programme brought an international atmosphere to Madurodam on Saturday, 28 March 2009.
The Minister of Education Culture and Science, Dr. Ronald H.A. Plasterk opened the ceremony with a speech on the importance of studying abroad with emphasis on the values of interaction with different cultures. Minister Plasterk also shared his personal experiences while studying abroad and explained that the lessons learned still play a big role in his day to day life. Mrs Winie Sorgdrager, Chairperson of the Selection Committee continued by explaining her role in The Huygens Programme and all about what the Netherlands has to offer in the broad sense of the word.
The actual presentation of certificates followed with encouraging messages by Mrs. Sorgdrager and Sander van der Eijnden, CEO Nuffic. The successful ceremony, powered by a variety of events was chaired by Mr. Joep Houterman, Executive Director Capacity Building and fellowships.
Catalin Milea, Huygens 2008 Music student from Romania, provided the musical interlude with a spectacular solo performance. The jazz musician also played background music with his band The New Sound Quartet Equazion composed of fellows and alumni. Their excellent performance was a visible proof that Huygens scholarship is indeed granted to the most talented students from around the world.
After the ceremony all the students had the opportunity to visit Madurodam park, also known as the miniature city. For most participants, a glimpse of the countries many attractions all in one place was undoubtedly an additional memorable experience.
The social networking continued during the extensive Dutch buffet allowing all the participants from over 45 countries around the world, studying in different institutes in The Netherlands. Business cards, diaries, foreign languages and exchange of multimedia information from mobile phones were omnipresent.
This network was also the target of the Huygens Talent Circle, founded in 2008 by nine Huygens alumni in the Netherlands as a platform for introducing Huygens alumni to each other. A promotion stand was set up for recruiting new members in order to expand their worldwide network of Huygens Alumni. The Huygens Talent circle earned a lot of publicity at the event as most students were not aware of the initiative.
A once in a lifetime opportunity
For many students the Huygens scholarship programme offers a ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity.’ Without the scholarship, Studying in Holland would not have been possible for some students. They would otherwise be forced to follow other disciplines of study than their preferred choices because certain specializations are offered only in The Netherlands.
For PhD students it is attractive that Huygens scholarship programme offers a lot of flexibility in the direction a study takes and provides less or no strict demands on the research framework. Other funds give little space to unexpected changes occurring within a study. An additional advantage of the Huygens scholarship is that students may apply directly to the Netherlands without the mediation of country representatives in their home countries. This prevents possibilities for corruption via third parties in the application process.
About the Huygens Scholarship Programme
The prestigious HSP Huygens Programme is open to excellent students from countries all over the world to those interested in following or continuing Masters or a PHD in The Netherlands. The students who receive the Huygens Scholarship can stay in The Netherlands for a period of time on the basis of the chosen discipline from a wide variety of areas ranging from Art studies to Sciences. In 2008, 273 students were selected out of 1200 applications requests that were received.
An independent assessment committee chaired by Mrs. Winnie Sorgdrager, former Minister of Justice and currently a member of the Council of State, advises on the selection. The scholarship amounts, depending on the budget adding up to thousands of euros.