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Van Bergen Prize

The Van Bergen Fund organises a competition every year for students and staff at Leiden University for the best plan to promote contacts between Dutch and international students. A good plan is awarded a subsidy by the Van Bergen Fund.

Who can take part?

Anyone associated with Leiden University - whether Dutch or international - can take part:

  • international and Dutch students
  • PhD candidates
  • lecturers
  • professors
  • support and management staff at the university
  • students and study associations
  • combinations of groups and organisations

The prize is awarded to the group or organisation that submits an innovative and viable plan, that is aimed at contiunity. The winners can use the prize to put their plan into practice. A proposed activity may start on a small scale but should be aimed at a potentially larger target group.

Several prizes in 2020

In 2020, several Van Bergen Prizes will be awarded for plans that are creative and coronaproof, and that aim to bring international and Dutch students together both in person and digitally.

Evaluating the plans

The jury is made up of students and staff of Leiden University. The members of the jury evaluate the plans on such aspects as how innovative they are, their scope and their feasibility. The winners present their plans at the annual Diversity symposium organised by the University.

A fast-track procedure applies to plans of study associations and faculties/institutes. Proposals from this target group can be submitted throughout the year.

Rules and procedure


An idea for the Van Bergen Prize:

  • should be an innovative activity for the Leiden University community
  • stimulates contacts between Dutch and international students, or promotes better relations between different cultures
  • encourages interaction
  • has to be sustainable, that is to say it cannot be a one-time event, but must be able to continue to exist independently for a longer period of time
  • is for a large target group, for example the whole Leiden community or a large group within the University
  • can be implemented relatively easily

N.B. The Fund finances the start of the initiative. Ultimately, the intention is that the plan will become self-sustaining. Bear in mind that there is no budget for time spent working on the initiative nor for providing food and drink during the activities: the basis of the initiative is that it is voluntary. 


To help you, here are some guidelines for putting your plan together. You can include the following categories in your plan: 

  1. introduction setting out your plan and describing the underlying ideas and aims (between 300 and 400 words);
  2. description of how the plan can be implemented in the year 2020, including a timeline (also between 300 and 400 words);
  3. cost budget, including any other sources of funding.

Your proposal

Use this template to write your proposal. For inspiration you can find an example of a plan here. Your idea should be in English and formatted as a PDF.

Deadline: 23 October 2020. Study associations, faculties and institutes can submit proposals throughout the year. There is a fast-track assessment procedure for their plans.

Submit your plan

Prize winners

Leiden City Safari 

Leiden City Safari is organised by the LUMC International Student Committee (LisCo). Leiden City Safari is a city tour that aims to introduce international students to the city of Leiden as well as to fellow Dutch students. 


With the OpenUP! symposium, study advisers and coordinators from Leiden University Campus The Hague aim to not only break the silence, but to encourage students to support each other and empower them to take ownership of their feelings and mental state. 

Evaluating the plans

The jury is made up of students and staff of Leiden University. The members of the jury evaluate the plans on such aspects as how innovative they are, their scope and their feasibility. The winners present their plans at the annual Diversity symposium organised by the University.

A fast-track procedure applies to plans of study associations and faculties/institutes. Proposals from this target group can be submitted throughout the year.

Archery Attack door L.A.S. Terra

This idea by study association L.A.S. Terra promises both fun for participants and interaction between them. According to L.A.S. Terra physical exercise is often overlooked as a way to bring international and Dutch students together. Through the game Archery Attack, students of all nationalities will participate in a unique competition with bow and arrow.

Sustainable Business Battle

Multiple teams consisting of Dutch and international students work together on business cases of Dutch businesses to find innovative, durable and achievable solutions. After each team giving a short pitch, the jury selects the best plan.

International Ball

The main objective of the International Ball is to bring Dutch and international students closer together. Nine dancing lessons will be organised, once a week. At least four dances will be learned: English Waltz; Valdresspringar (Scandinavian); Salsa (South & North-American); Quickstep (Western), and an opening dance. The final event will be the International Ball where these dances will be performed. After the performance other Leiden university students can join in for social dancing or the afterparty. 


Leiden Student Integration Project

The purpose of this plan is to improve relations and increase interactions between Dutch and international students at Leiden University by creating a fun environment that entices participation through diverse cultural expressions such as cuisine, film, art, music, and sports. In addition, with the inclusion of charitable good works this plan aims to instil a sense of community not only within Leiden University but also across the Netherlands. The ultimate goal is for our culturally diverse students to find value in interacting with one another and not to come across as a forced, awkward social attempt.

Leiden International Arts & Theatre Foundation

The Leiden International Arts & Theatre Foundation (LIAT) encourages Leiden University students to exchange and express their artistic talents. Dutch and international students work together to create and perform in theatre productions. LIAT also organises theatre improvisation workshops. Also featured on their agenda is the Arts International Symposium and the Arts Feedback Dinner.

Buddy talk

Buddy talk is aimed at language development. Students can indicate which languages they speak fluently and which they would like to learn, then Buddy Scan matches students who would like to learn each other’s languages. The end result is a fun form of cultural and language exchange. This is further stimulated by the organisation of networking events.

Creative Writing Class

This initiative brings Dutch and international students together through the medium of story writing. All Leiden University students are welcome, irrespective of their field of study. Stories are discussed in a group setting and authors have the opportunity to explain their vision and meaning. This results in meaningful discussion in which students get to know each other cultures and traditions in a fun and informal way.

The Dutch Language and Culture Committee

The goal of the Dutch Language and Culture Committee (DLCC) is to offer students and staff of Leiden University College (LUC) the opportunity to lean Dutch and get to know Dutch culture, in an open and stimulating environment. The committee organises weekly Dutch lessons and cultural events, as well as excursions to Dutch attractions.

Contrast Leiden: Be Present

Contrast Leiden organised ‘Be Present’, in which Dutch and international students worked together to help residents of Leiden. Projects ranged from painting a house to board games with senior citizens, and every project was brought to a fun-filled conclusion with social activities for students.

Leiden United Programme

This programme stimulates contact between Dutch and foreign students and promotes better relations between different cultures. The program consists of dinner meetings in groups of 10 to 14 students at the five major student associations in Leiden and at The Hague campus of Leiden University. Leiden United also organises group activities for all members to participate in together. Dutch students and international students from the same study area have dinner together with their group twice a month. Also, they can meet up over coffee, plan activities together and participate in other activities organised by Leiden United.

Njord: International Membership

Rowing association Njord initiated the International Membership, which enables international students to join the rowing association. International students are assigned for a boat for eight with a Dutch coach. Social activities are organized for Dutch and international students to get to know each other better. In addition, Njord organizes training nights for Dutch and internationals, so they can mingle.

Van Bergen Cup

The Van Bergen Cup is a sport event, in which all Dutch and international students can participate. It consists of leagues of four different sports: soccer, hockey, beach volleyball and dodgeball. Afterwards, a barbecue is organided, which is followed by a party at the sports bar. 

About the Van Bergen Fund

The Van Bergen Fund was established in 2005, on the retirement of Joris van Bergen, Vice-President of the Executive Board. 

The Foundation regards this as an important preparation for students who will be living and working together in an increasingly globalising world. Connecting Dutch and international students perfectly reflects the University’s policy to internationalise the academic community.


  • Joris van Bergen (chair)

  • Prof. Hester Bijl (board member)
  • Prof. Ton van Haaften (board member)
  • Jeroen 't Hart (treasurer/secretary)


Leiden University
PO Box 9500
2300 RA Leiden


Qing-yi Fan
+31 (0)71 527 802

The Van Bergen Fund is part of the Leiden University Fund, which means that it has the status of a public welfare institution (ANBI). The Van Bergen Fund's RSIN-number is 8172.89.501. If you would like to support the Van Bergen Fund by making a financial donation, you can do this via the Leiden University Fund, with a reference to "Van Bergen Fund". More information is available on the website of the LUF about the different ways of making a donation. The financial overview of the Van Bergen Fund is included in the financial annual overview of the Leiden University Fund.

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