Taking part in an academic debate, giving young, talented researchers a platform, and strengthening European ties; these are just a few aims of Maastricht University's annual celebrations and activities.
Dies Natalis is Latin for birthday. At the beginning of every year, Maastricht University celebrates its birthday with an academic session. Many of the professors attend, wearing their ceremonial robes. The ‘dies address’ is given by an academic and often honorary degrees are also awarded, usually to academics for contributions to education and/or research. A number of awards are also bestowed: the Wynand Wijnen Education Prize for members of staff who have made an exceptional contribution to UM education, the Dissertation Prize for the past academic year's best thesis and the Student Prizes for the best bachelor's and master's theses. The day ends with a drinks party.
Opening academic year
We traditionally celebrate the official opening of the academic year on one of its first days, sometime in late August or early September. The day will generally have a theme on which the morning and afternoon programmes are based. This is followed by an academic session featuring the official opening late in the afternoon, attended by many of the university's professors in full regalia.
The president of the Executive Board gives a speech, followed by a guest speaker who picks up the same theme. Finally, two prizes are awarded: the Edmond Hustinx Award for Science for promising young researchers and the UM Student Prize awarded to either a Maastricht University (UM) student complementing their studies with a remarkable social or cultural achievement, or a UM student organisation that has distinguished itself in the societal or cultural realm. The day ends with a drinks party.
The next opening of the academic year will take place on Monday, 30 August 2021.
Rectorship handover ceremony
On Thursday 1 September 2016 Maastricht University’s rectorship handover ceremony took place. During an academic session the outgoing Rector Magnificus, prof. dr. Luc Soete, handed over his position to prof. dr. Rianne Letschert.
See the calendar for more information and a photo impression.
Anniversary Maastricht University
Maastricht University, 40 years young
In 2016, Maastricht University celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was a good occasion to commemorate the many things the university has brought us, and an excellent opportunity to look forward to a promising future. As a token of our gratitude, we organised several activities throughout the year for everyone who has contributed to our creation and our success.
‘Connecting to people in the city’ was a common thread in all our activities. We opened our doors; everyone in Maastricht was able to participate in the celebrations. Because that’s how we do things in Limburg: you invite all of your family, neighbours and friends to your birthday party. So, mark your calendar: the 44th Dies Natalis is scheduled on 31 January 2020.