From June 1 till 4 2016 the Utrecht honours conference 2016 (UHC'16) took place at the Utrecht Science Park. This international conference was a joint effort of the University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht and Utrecht University. 4 days of conference, around 400 unique participants, 126 parallel breakdown sessions, and contributions and participation from students, teachers, staff as well as international guests. It was a great pleasure to have you here at Utrecht! 

Below you can find a retrospective view on the conference, including: a word of thanks by the organising institutions, the programme booklet (in PDF) and the keynote lectures (both in PDF and on video). For the photos, go to this page. We hope you all enjoyed your visit at Utrecht and hope to see you again at the Windesheim Honours College next year!


Word of thanks

It was a great honour to have met so many colleagues from all over the world at the Utrecht Honours Conference 2016. Students, lecturers, educational leaders, policy staff & employers, with many different backgrounds, but with one passion in common: good honours education for the students who want to get the best out of themselves and who want to make the difference in our world of tomorrow.


We look back on three interesting and inspiring conference days and a post-conference day afterwards, to start with the pre-conference on Wednesday. We have visited different departments of the Utrecht University and the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, where we discussed all kinds of aspects of honours education. Because we were with a small group, we had a lot of time to discuss more in-depth the students’ honours experiences and to share our ideas. The participants have appreciated especially the contributions of the honours students and the assignments that the students have done with them, a good example of practice what you preach.


And then, the two conference days: two days of immersion in honours from all kinds of perspectives in many different forms. A short impression of reactions of participants we like to share in this short review:


“It was great to participate in the breakdown sessions. Interesting exchange of ideas and best practices. Meetings with employers gave me an insight in necessary qualities of young professionals: leadership (‘’we need leaders and not managers’’); project management, communication and collaborating skills (‘’professionals have to work in interdisciplinary teams’’); drive and intrinsic motivation (‘’we need professionals who really want to change the world’’); ability to work in international environments (‘’global issues and complex questions concerning global challenges’’); wish to take part in competition (‘’young professionals from third world countries, India, and China will take part in worldwide project-challenges’’).”


“The breakdown sessions have made me think of the political dilemma: how do political parties in different countries deal with talented high-educated students in relation to students with less gifted students?”


“I have learnt a lot about the ways the institutions for higher education want to challenge and stimulate their gifted students. I have seen small tailor-made honours tracks and the complete interdisciplinary honours programmes with all kinds of options between these two extremes.”


These quotes show the broad spectrum of the issues related to honours that we discussed during these days. We want to thank all visitors of the Utrecht Honours Conference 2016 and we hope that you have enjoyed these days as much as we did and that we have strengthened the added value of Honours in our education, in the academic and professional working fields and in society.


Annelies Riteco, Honours Director Utrecht University of Applied Sciences

Rob van der Vaart, Honours Dean Utrecht University

Programme booklet

The programme booklet of the Utrecht honours conference can be found here.

Keynote lectures

Below you can find the PDF files as well as links to the video recordings of the presentations of the keynote speakers at UHC'16.


  • Introduction plenary session day 1 by conference host Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen and Rector Magnificus of Utrecht University, Bert van der Zwaan, as well as the presentation of the book "The Honours Experience" by Vincent Gelink.

Presentation Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen, Bert van der Zwaan, Vincent Gelink


  • Christian Brady

Presentation Christian Brady


  • Caroline Princen

Caroline Princen - UHC'16

Presentation Caroline Princen


  • Frits van Oostrom

Frits van Oostrom - UHC'16

Presentation Frits van Oostrom


  • Introduction plenary session day 2 by conference host Michiel Kalverda and presentation Rob van der Vaart.

Rob van der Vaart - UHC'16

Presentation Michiel Kalverda and Rob van der Vaart


  • Marca Wolfensberger

Marca Wolfensberger - UHC'16

Presentation Marca Wolfensberger


Jan Bogerd - UHC'16

Presentation Jan Bogerd and Albert Cornelissen