Universiteit Leiden

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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. The best plan is awarded a subsidy by the Van Bergen Fund.

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. They then nominate the best entries. A number of these nominees are invited to present their plans at the annual Diversity symposium organised by the university, and the winners are announced at the event.  

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 the best and most innovative plan. The winners can use the prize to put their plan into practice.

Former prize winners

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 Van Bergen family decided to use the farewell gift they received to promote the international cultural exchange of students. 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.

J.E.J. van Bergen (chair) 
J. 't Hart (treasurer/secretary)

Address of the Van Bergen Fund
Leiden University
P O Box 9500
2300 RA Leiden

Qing-yi Fan
+31 (0)71 527 8025

ANBI status
The Van Bergen Fund is part of the Leiden University Fund, which means that it has the status of a public welfare institution (ANBI). 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.

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