Maastricht University was founded in 1976 as the State University of Limburg. The institution was expected to promote innovation within Dutch higher education by developing experimental degree programmes – which explains the title, ‘The Maastrichts Experiment’.
The obvious choice for the university was to adopt an international outlook – today, over half of its more than 16,000 students are from outside the Netherlands. As a non-classical university, it had to gain recognition within the existing university system: an effort that also enabled it to grow and acquire a distinct character. Inspiration for educational reform was sought – and found – in Canada and the United States.
Another unique aspect of this young university is that many of the key figures from the very beginning are still alive. In this publication, 16 of these protagonists accompany the reader on a tour of Maastricht University’s history. What ideals and ambitions did these people bring to Maastricht? To what extent did they manage to really begin with a clean slate? What challenges did they face in expanding the university? What strategies did they use – or was chance a dominant factor? And how did they deal with the tension between seeking to establish an innovative new identity on the one hand, and the wish to be accepted by the university community on the other?
This book came about on the initiative of Maastricht University’s Art and Heritage Commission – with support of the Executive Board, the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and the Limburg University Fund. The Art and Heritage Commission considers it its duty to promote not only the institution’s tangible heritage, but also its intangible heritage. Recording the stories of the men and women who helped give shape to this university can, in somewhat irreverent terms, be considered the cherishing of ‘living heritage’.
The Maastricht Experiment will soon be published, around December 20th at the closing of the jubilee year. It will be spread over Maastricht University, the academic hospital Maastricht and SENUM in January 2017. The publisher is: Vantilt in Nijmegen.