the famous physicist Robert Dijgraf becomes Minister for Higher Education


Robbert Dijkgraaf at the VPRO Season Show in November 2021.Beeld ANP / ANP Kippa

Thierry Baudt was the first to invent his name. When the previous cabinet was formed in 2017, a completely new MP proposed the creation of an apolitical economic cabinet. The physicist Robert Dijgraf appeared to be a good candidate for ministerial for the training position of the FvD leader, he told Detective Edith Schippers.

Four years later, Baudet is still on his way, although he can no longer wait for him. Dijkgraaf is a staunch advocate of scientific freedoms, which the Baudets Forum for Democracy increasingly opposes. In 2019, for example, Dijkgraf spoke out publicly against the “indoctrination hotline”, through which the forum wanted to start a witch hunt against left-wing professors and university lecturers. Djgraf reacted at the time as a “completely wrong initiative”. In his opinion, higher education and academic freedom benefit from a “diversity of opinion”.

Baudette’s victory speech “Owl van Minerva” after the provincial elections in Dijkgraaf was also irritating. Baudette’s statement that “our universities are undermining us” was “absolutely untrue,” said Dijgraf. “The great thing about knowing is that it’s always positive,” he said on Radio 1. “Science undermines biased ideas.”


Since the VVD distributes its eight ministerial posts to the party’s colored tigers in the political field, D66 appears more courageous and innovative. With Ernst Kuipers and Robbert Dijkgraaf, the party is reminiscent of two cylinder bunnies. Both get a seat in Trifesal because of their professional record, not because of their demonstrated loyalty to their party.

62-year-old Dijkgraaf is perhaps the most famous member of the upcoming government team. Surprisingly, the D66 didn’t come very close, but Dijkgraaf accepts the offer. For this he gives up a prestigious job in the USA. Dijkgraaf has been the director of one of the most important research institutes in the world since 2012: The Institute for Advanced Studies Affiliated with Princeton University.

Born Ridderkerker, an internationally renowned physicist, famous for his contribution to the development of string theory. This area of ​​theoretical physics tries to close the gap between Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the quantum mechanics of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. In 2003 he received the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands.

People with beta brains are rare in politics. Especially beta caliber dikograph. But this particular career move is no coincidence. Dijkgraaf loves to participate in public debates. In this respect he is mirrored with Hendrik Lorentz, his “favorite scientist”. Like Dijkgraaf, this Dutch Nobel Prize winner and physicist who inspired Einstein strove to popularize the exact sciences. Lorentz did not hide in his scientific institute either, but was socially and politically involved.

the great explosion

Dijkgraaf achieved national fame in the Netherlands as a guest at Matthijs van Nieuwkerk’s table in The world goes on. In the transverse row DWDD University Explain complex physical principles like the big bang, infinity, and the theory of relativity to a wide audience in a contagious way. In 2005 he was allowed to Zomrgast His.

On his frequent visits to his homeland, he likes to attend talk shows to express his concern about the deteriorating level of education in the Netherlands. For years, Dijkgraaf has been asking the government to allocate more money to basic scientific research, especially in the experimental sciences. He warns that the fact that the Netherlands produced many famous physicists is due to the policies of the previous government. That fertile ground was gone now. According to him, the Netherlands is in danger of losing its leading position in science as Dutch universities have to train more and more students but hardly get any extra money for it.

As education minister (higher), he would soon be in an ideal position to get rid of this discomfort. In 2017, members of the cabinet at the time demanded an additional billion euros for science. Rutte IV’s alliance agreement gives him five. Dijkgraf seems to want to come back for this and get into a showdown with Bodet in the house.


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