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2020 in pictures: How coronavirus kept us apart, but somehow brought us together

2020 will go down in the history books as an eventful year. The traces left by the coronavirus this year will remain, for students as well as staff at Leiden Law School. A review of the year in photos and videos.

New Year’s reception and Meijers Prizes

It might seem like a long time ago, but the year started just like any other year with the New Year’s reception on 9 January. Bastiaan Rijpkema gave the Meijers Lecture, the annual Meijers prizes were awarded and Dean Joan van der Leun raised a toast to the New Year. Read more.

College Tour with Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker

Law students fired away with questions for Carel Stolker in a Leiden version of Dutch television programme ‘College Tour’ on 27 January. Topics the Rector Magnificus responded to included stress among students, grades, and commercialisation in education. Read more.

And then: coronavirus

In March, everything changed. Once the coronavirus started spreading, the government took drastic measures: everyone had to work from home as far as possible and universities had to switch to teaching online – an enormous transformation for our students and staff.  

In no time, lecturers changed from giving face-to-face lectures to online lectures, with all the benefits and drawbacks - including wailing toddlers. Read more.

For students, too, this all meant huge changes. No more coffee at the JuCa, but turning your bedroom into a place to study. Maybe now and then it was lovely to study outside in the sun, but many students missed the interaction with their lecturers and of course with fellow students. Read more.

Studying at home (Photo: Amal Maatoug)

Degree ceremonies and PhD defence ceremonies also had to be arranged differently. What was once a big celebratory event, now had to be downscaled with guests following the ceremony via a livestream. 'I had to ask friends and colleagues not to come. It was heartbreaking’, says researcher Hoko Horii, who defended her PhD thesis on 17 March. Read more.

Making the best of our improvisation skills, most events were still able to take place, though all under different conditions to what we are accustomed. It soon became clear that despite all the new challenges facing us, the University had not lost its connection with society. Leiden Law School joined forces with two other faculties in 'uNLocked', a consortium which is developing an open source, non-profit application that will facilitate the verification of corona tests while ensuring maximum security of users. Read more or watch the video below.

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The impact of the measures to combat the coronavirus sometimes reflect research at our faculty in unexpected ways. In June, Maral Darouei defended her PhD thesis on sustainable careers, including attention for a topic that since the coronavirus crisis has become even more topical: working from home. Read more.

Live talkshow Leiden Law Op1

Summer came to an end, and a new academic year started. Teaching and research were still mainly done online, and the opening of the faculty year was also different to what we are accustomed. The new faculty was opened via a spectacular livestreamed talkshow from the JuCa, presented by Stephanie Rap and Bastiaan Rijpkema. Watch the recording below, or Read more.

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How colour blind is the criminal justice system?

Besides coronavirus, diversity was also an issue that received a lot of attention this past year. In September, the Honours College Law organised an afternoon discussion on discrimination in the justice system, and even in the whole of society. The symposium 'How colour blind is the criminal justice system?' was chaired by Maartje van der Woude, Professor of Law and Society. Read more.

Maartje van der Woude during the symposium

Hoog bezoek

To round off this overview of the faculty year: at the end of September, Prime Minister Mark Rutte was a guest at an online lecture of the course Inleiding Recht (Introduction to Law). The lecture had the title ‘The European Union in times of coronavirus’, and the Prime Minister answered questions from students. Hundreds of students followed the lecture via a livestream. Read more.

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