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Ruud Koole receives Royal Honour at valedictory lecture

Professor of Political Science Ruud Koole was made an Officer of the Order of Oranje Nassau on the occasion of his valedictory lecture on 13 December. The Mayor of Leiden, Henry Lenferink, presented him with the decorations associated with this honour.

Ruud Koole, Professor of Political Science, Dutch Politics and its Institutional Development, was knighted on 13 December for his role as a gifted scholar and his contributions to society.

Prof. Ruud Koole, Officer of the Order of Oranje Nassau, with the Mayor of Leiden, Lenferink.
Prof. Ruud Koole, Officer of the Order of Oranje Nassau, with the Mayor of Leiden, Lenferink.

Prof. Koole was praised for his impressive knowledge of the Dutch political system and its background. He is an outstanding scholar, who has written publications of an extremely high standard and was committed to both his discipline and his students. Academic integrity has always been his highest priority. He also played an active part in the administration of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, including as a member of the Faculty Board and as the coordinator of the multidisciplinary research profile Political Legitimacy.

Throughout his career, Koole also engaged actively in the public arena. He was the chair of the Labour Party (PvdA) (twice, in fact: from 2001-2005 and acting chair in 2007) and a member of the PvdA group in the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament (2011-2015).

He also fulfilled a great variety of other roles (see text box). The combination of academic work and civic activities was characteristic of Koole. He not only combined these two domains but also connected them, by frequently applying his academic knowledge in practice.

Koole was the deputy chair of the National Referendum Committee (2015-2019), a member of the Government Committee on the Parliamentary System (2017-2018) and a board member of the Stichting Het Parool newspaper foundation (1999-2003). He was also involved in supervising the merger of the TV stations BNN and VARA, which came into effect on 1 January 2014. Other roles include board member of the National Centre for Parliamentary History and co-initiator of the European Political Data Yearbook, which compiles data about e.g. elections and referenda in European countries and a number of countries outside Europe. He is currently a member of the Research Advisory Board of the Centre for Parliamentary History (since 2013) and chair of the Supervisory Council of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).

Although Koole was careful to keep his academic work and his personal political views separate, there was certainly some alignment between them. Integrity was also a guiding principle outside his academic work. For both the first and the second referendum in the Netherlands, he made every effort to provide citizens with information about the relevant legislation in the most objective and value-free way possible. Other concepts that form a common thread running through Koole’s working life were social justice, emancipation and solidarity.

Text: Corine Hendriks

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