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Updated: 4 hours 47 min ago

Wittenborg Amsterdam: The Recipe Behind its Rapid Success

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:44

In September 2015, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences started to offer its IBA programme in Entrepreneurship & Small Business to Amsterdam, opening its first location outside Apeldoorn.

Now, 18 months later, student numbers at the Amsterdam location have grown and the programme has developed a unique identity – showcased in its blog The Amsterdam Entrepreneur.

How does one market a new study location in a competitive city like Amsterdam?

“We opened with only 7 students and today we have 40 students from 17 different nationalities,” says Timo Timmerman, the Campus Dean of Wittenborg Amsterdam. “We relied a lot on word-of-mouth – students sharing their experiences and telling their stories. I believe in the efficiency of human-to-human marketing. Besides, Amsterdam is a city of entrepreneurs,” Timmerman says.

In 2015, Amsterdam featured for the first time in the list of Top 20 of the world’s leading start-up cities. They were measured on their quality of talent, pool of venture capital resources, experience and mentorship provided by start-up founders, market reach of their companies, and the ultimate performance and exit value of their companies.

All entrepreneurs have a million ideas
Timmerman says he is proud and happy with the “international classroom” he and his team have created in such a short time. “The biggest problem we have is that, like all entrepreneurs, our students have a million different ideas. So our job is to teach them to focus on one idea at a time and do that one thing well. ”  The international classroom is a unique feature of Wittenborg, with over 70 nationalities studying in Apeldoorn.

Connecting Students With Real-Life Entrepreneurs
The Amsterdam location is also equipped with its own in-house, start-up incubator — ‘Incubator UP’ — where students are connected with real entrepreneurs and their companies working in the building. Students are thus encouraged to seek guidance from these “mentors”.

According to Timmerman, the Amsterdam location is working towards a goal of 150 students by 2019. “Ideally we would like a ratio in Amsterdam of about 40:60 of Dutch and international students.” Currently it has 25% female students but Timmerman would like to see the male-female ratio at 50:50. “Anything men can do, women can also do in terms of business.”
Overall  Wittenborg has a male to female ratio of 49% to 51% and currently 89% international students, making it the most diverse higher education institute in the Netherlands.
According to Wittenborg's Chair of the Executive Board, Peter Birdsall, "The Amsterdam campus was specifically set up to attract more Dutch students."

Timmerman also ascribes the success of Wittenborg in Amsterdam to good management decisions made in Apeldoorn. “In the past two years we have managed to become one team in two locations – Apeldoorn and Amsterdam. Soon, when the Vienna campus opens, it will be three locations. From the beginning management tackled the expansion in the right spirit.”

Fostering Community Spirit
In Amsterdam, the community spirit is certainly kept alive. Students and staff meet every Friday morning for “coffee-and-muffins” sessions which are accompanied by lively discussions and a lot of knowledge and culture sharing.

Timmerman has also introduced a so-called Dean’s List – recognising excellent students who have achieved a 7.5 each semester, thus adding to the value of their CVs. Students who manage to achieve a straight pass – without the need for retakes – are also rewarded with “extras” such as company visits, a smart reading course, or learning essential skills like story-telling, which can take you far in the business world.

* From 8 – 16 July Wittenborg Amsterdam will have a Summer Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in cooperation with two other Dutch institutions: Team Academy and InHolland University of Applied Sciences.

WUP 24/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: EntrepreneurshipYoung EntrepreneurWittenborg AmsterdamIBA

Wittenborg and China's Nantong University do Quick Exchange Visits - All in One Week

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:22

Senior staff of the Nantong Vocational University in China made a flying visit to Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences on Monday, as part of a 4-day trip to the Netherlands to explore cooperation possibilities between the two institutes in the field of education.

Meanwhile, Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, will in turn visit Nantong on Wednesday while she is in China this week as part of a week-long trade mission along with delegates from the Gelderland Province, Apeldoorn Gemeente and the Full Sports Group (FSG).

Nantong, in the southern part of China, has about 18,000 students. It has 12 schools offering 58 majors and 90 professional programs including mechanical engineering, electronics and information engineering, chemical and biological engineering, civil engineering, textile and garments, management, applied humanities and tourism management, arts and design and foreign languages.

Four of its senior staff members were met by Wittenborg chair, Peter Birdsall, on Monday who gave them background on Wittenborg and a tour of its facilities.  The group consisted of Huang Yanfei (Vice-President of Nantong), Chen Xudong (Deputy Director of Academic Affairs), Cao Jian (Associate Dean, School of Automotive and Traffic Engineering) and Li Ping (Dean of School of Economics and Management). They were accompanied by an interpreter of China’s department of Foreign Affairs, Shi Chunyan.

The group later also met with Mark Sandmann, D66 council member of the Apeldoorn Gemeente and Jacob Brobbel, commercial manager of Holland Techniek.

Sandmann welcomed the visitors and gave them background information on the region saying:  “Apeldoorn is the 11th biggest city in the Netherlands in an area of more than 400,000 residents. Our city is centrally located in the Netherlands’ largest single woodlands area, the Veluwe. We have a lot less air pollution compared to Nantong! The area is known as the Cleantech Region because of the high number of clean technology companies in the area – many of them do business with China.”

Sandmann also said Wittenborg is growing and is now one of the most important institutes of higher education in the area. “Apeldoorn is home to many local and international companies due to its central location. I can assure you those companies are happy to meet international students. International students bring diversity into the city and also bring economic value to the community. Many shop owners in the city centre can confirm this.”

WUP 21/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: international studentsChinese studentenChina

Dutch Universities can Offer Full Degrees Abroad if Senate Approves Bill

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 09:12

After two years of heated political debate, Dutch universities might finally be able to offer full degree programmes abroad.

On their last day in parliament before the Dutch Election, the majority of political parties in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) approved the Transnational Education Bill. Only Geert Wilders' PVV voted against it.  The Bill will now go to the Senate (Eerste Kamer) where it is also expected to be approved and then finally passed by the new government later this year.

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is one of the institutes planning to open its first transnational campus - in Vienna, Austria - later this year.

Dutch research universities currently offer more than 240 international joint and double degree programmes, according to a research paper by Dr Rosa Becker, a senior researcher at the Netherlands Organisation for Internationalisation of Education (EP-Nuffic) and published by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. Universities of applied sciences, like Wittenborg, offer an estimated 8 double degree programmes with at least one foreign partner.

The detail and general conditions of the proposed legislation is expected to be published this summer, pending approval by the Senate. The Dutch minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker, said there are big advantages to having international branch campuses. These include the exchange of students and lecturers, the possibility to strengthen international networks and showcase Dutch higher education. “Besides, it is happening everywhere. The question is, do we want a stake in it or let the opportunity pass. I don’t want the latter.”

Aside from allowing Dutch institutions of higher education to offer full degree programmes abroad, the bill will further encourage international joint programme development. Currently, students are required to follow at least a quarter of their degree programmes within the Netherlands.

However, it has not been smooth sailing. Political parties expressed some strong concerns on matters such as academic freedom in countries where freedom of speech is limited or where there is no full access to internet data. It was argued that Dutch institutions should not be offered there.

Among other things the new bill says Dutch institutions:
· Will be allowed to offer full Dutch degree programmes abroad
· Will not be allowed to spend any public funding on education delivered abroad
· Will be required to ask the Minister of Education for ex-ante permission to start offering a full Dutch degree programme abroad or to open an international branch campus
· May have permission to offer a Dutch degree programme abroad refused or withdrawn by the Minister of Education

Bussemaker indicated that Dutch institutions wanting to offer a degree programme abroad will need to prove that it adds value to the quality of Dutch higher education and strengthen the international positioning of Dutch education abroad. Institutions will also need to adhere to requirements on guaranteeing academic freedom.

Source: EP-Nuffic

WUP 18/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Dutch Higher EducationTransnational Higher Education

The Dutch Applauded for Voting "Sensibly" - Now Comes the Hard Bargaining to Form a Coalition Government

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:17

All hail the Dutch! The Netherlands woke up as the darling of Europe this morning after yesterday’s election results showed a clear win for the centre-right VVD party, thereby defeating Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam and anti-EU PVV, which has been leading the polls for most of the year.

“Far-right populism has failed its first test in Europe,” CNN reported in reference to the coming elections in France and Germany later this year, summing up the sentiments of most of the world’s mainstream media. Many feared that Holland would go the same way as Britain voting pro-Brexit last year and the Americans electing Donald Trump as president. 

About 81% of the country voted – the biggest turnout in 3 decades. The VVD won 33 seats, trailed by the PVV (20), the CDA (19), D66 (19) and Groenlinks (14) – they were the big winners of the day. Many of Wittenborg’s staff and students who were eligible to vote made sure they showed up at the voting stations. Wittenborg's facility officer, Karel van der Zande, said it is a privilege to vote in freedom and the turnout was remarkable. "We have conservatives, progressives and some populists, but the new government has to look out for the interest of everyone in the Netherlands. I do have some concern that the new government might be too much on the right."

“Sense and sobriety triumphed,” said Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, in reaction to the results. "Wittenborg's management is relieved that the Netherlands has rejected the anti-immigration and anti-Europe views of Geert Wilders and that the international future of the country and Wittenborg looks positive and ready to develop."

Now that the results are in, what happens next?

The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) has 150 seats. As predicted, none of the parties won an outright majority (76 seats), which means they will have to negotiate their way into a coalition government.

This means weeks, even months of discussing, deliberating and compromising before a cabinet is formed.

The previous minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker, has indicated she is available again for the job. The problem is, however, that Bussemaker’s party, the PvDA, was one of the biggest losers of the election, with its support plummeting from 38 seats to a dismal 9 seats.

The results mean that four parties or more will be needed to form a coalition government in the Tweede Kamer. Political experts have speculated that the VVD might press for a centrist partnership with the CDA, D66 and CU, but that will give them a majority of only 1 seat – leaving the government vulnerable, DutchNews.nl have pointed out. 

WUP 16/3/2017

by Anesca Smith

©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Dutch ElectionDutch GovernmentInternationalisationEuropean Union

How Tolerant are the Dutch? We Asked International Students ahead of the Election

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 16:49

The question about immigrants is one of the key issues in Wednesday’s Dutch election. With that in mind, we asked international students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences just how welcome they feel in Holland, and about the level of tolerance they experience from Dutch society.

Romeissa Laib from Algeria is doing an IBA in Marketing & Communication. Before coming to Holland, she studied in Germany and lived in Canada. “I live in a building with other Dutch people in Apeldoorn and everyone is very friendly and helpful – they even offer to walk my dog! I find Holland a very welcoming country compared to Germany where people can be less friendly and really make you feel like an immigrant. In Holland they are happy to speak English. Not so in Germany.”

Haseeb Mirza, a MBA student from Pakistan, thinks most of the anti-Islam sentiments will quieten down once the election is over. “This is part-and-parcel of any election campaign. I am not concerned at all. The Netherlands’ history has proven that it is a tolerant, co-operative society where people mind their own business.” He currently lives in Amsterdam and said he has never experienced any discrimination.

Jun Li from China lives in Eindhoven and works in Amsterdam’s fashion industry. She is currently learning Dutch because she wants to communicate better with her colleagues. She has no qualms about staying on in Holland after her studies. “If someone is mean to me I will generally ask them to explain their reasons. I try to keep an open mind.” Jun Li is doing an IBA in Marketing and Communication. She came to Holland 4 years ago.

Alexis Musita from Rwanda says he has never experienced discrimination in the Netherlands. He came here in 2014 and is in the final phase of his IBA in Logistics & International Trade. “Dutch people are friendly, but because of the language it is not easy to get close to them.” He also lives in Apeldoorn and managed to make Dutch friends by joining a local church. Alexis plans either to look for a job in the Netherlands after his studies, or continue by doing a master's degree.

Dipesh Shrestha from Nepal finds the Dutch hard-working and polite. “They don’t have time for discrimination and racism! It also helps that most Dutch people are able and willing to speak English – even if you approach strangers on the street.” He came to Holland in September 2016 and is doing an IBA in Hospitality Management. “I have one Dutch friend and she said she’s going to vote Groenlinks.”


WUP 14/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg StudentsDutch Electioninternational students

"Extremist" Government will be Detrimental to Higher Education, Warns Wittenborg Chair, Peter Birdsall as Dutch Prepare to Vote on Wednesday

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 11:54

When the Dutch go to vote on Wednesday, 15 March, the management of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will be following the outcome of the election carefully: As an international, private institute of higher education, its operations are very much tied to the political tide in the Netherlands.

"If a far-right government was to be elected in the Netherlands, that would have a negative effect on its immigration and education policy," says Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall. "It would be detrimental to international student intake and our development as an international institute."

There is currently a lot of, what Birdsall calls “scaremongering” going on, but he is comforted by the idea that the Dutch political system is such that “no extremist idiot” can take power.

He is of course referring to Geert Wilders, leader of the one-man PVV party which has taken the lead in many of the pre-election polls. A rare feat for someone who seldom makes public appearances but instead reigns over his supporters from the safety of social media platforms.

Birdsall sees Wilders' peroxide blonde hair as a symbol of the falsehoods he's spreading. "He does that to stand out, to make an impact. Not to show what a good debater he is on world issues. And that’s the frightening thing. Whenever politicians start walking around like popstars, that’s when you have to start worrying.

"Wilders is scaremongering the world, really, which is why he receives so much international press. Last time I looked at the PVV website, the headline screamed: 'Stop Islam'. I mean, there’s nothing rational about that. If I were to put something unthinkable, like  'Stop Jewism' or 'Keep Blacks Out' on my website I’d be (quite rightly) locked up in prison."

Birdsall, who has been living in the Netherlands for almost 30 years, appears to be as baffled as the world's media on how a far-right politician like Wilders could become so popular in the Netherlands – a country seen for many decades as one of Europe’s most liberal and tolerant.

"When I first came to the Netherlands it was a very liberal and open-minded society." Is that what attracted him? "Yes, of course. I mean, I came from Thatcher’s Britain. The liberal politics of the Netherlands is very attractive and it makes it a nice country to live in."

"Now people are voting on the basis of populism and not on the basis of rationalism. I think in every society there is an underlying populist vote."

According to Birdsall people don't seem to connect the dots between globalisation and open societies "Everyone has iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, but they don’t relate those iPhones to the other components of globalisation which means open societies."

Neither Birdsall - who has British and Swiss nationality - nor Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, will be able to vote in the Dutch election. Nonetheless, they have strong views on the options available.

Birdsall says: "I hope for a government who will protect entrepreneurs and business people…"

In other words, the VVD?
"I think we had a good prime minister in Mark Rutte from the VVD and a very dynamic minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker (PvDA) who has indicated she would be interested to continue in that role. She has been good for Dutch education and good for Wittenborg.

"The most important policy she pushed through at the end is one that will open the way for transnational education. Once it is passed by the First Chamber, it is going to have a significant impact on our opportunities to run Dutch higher education in other countries. Currently, with any programme you offer abroad, students have to spend 25% of their programme in the Netherlands. With the new proposed law, you will be able to offer the full programme abroad."

But what about the controversial loan system which was introduced under Bussemaker's watch. Was that a good thing?
"For us it’s great. It means Dutch students can borrow money to study at Wittenborg and it levels the playing field between European and non-European students. What's interesting is that this concept that everybody should pay for their education is a conservative policy, yet she's from the labour party. I’m a great believer that free education is poor education. If you don’t pay for your higher education you don’t appreciate its value, and the providers continually have to cut costs in order to make ends meet - which lowers the quality (of the education provided)."

Wouldn't that exclude huge sections of society?
Not if the electgovernment has a good loans policy . So you only pay back if you can afford to pay back. In countries where education is free, they have massive drop-out rates."

Where should the money that government saves be invested in?
I think it should be invested back into other parts of society or higher education itself. All education is generally underfunded. For instance, it can go to facilities or to fund lifelong learning initiatives."

Do Wittenborg's international students consider Apeldoorn a tolerant city?
"I think one of the reasons we might be so successful here is because Apeldoorn does seem to have a very tolerant attitude toward its international communities. I mean, we don’t get regular feedback on intolerance. That doesn’t take away the fact that certain groups of students do feel that they are looked upon as immigrants as it were. I think the majority of Apeldoorners have and will vote much more in the centre. As for the rest of the Netherlands, I hope good sense will prevail."

WUP 12/3/2017

Interview by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Dutch ElectionDutch Higher Educationinternational studentsPeter Birdsall

Commission Guarding Interest of International Students Meets with Wittenborg Students and Staff

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 13:36

Members of the National Commission guarding the interests of international students in the Netherlands paid an informal visit to Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences on Wednesday morning. Almost 90% of Wittenborg's students are international.

Wittenborg is a signee of the Code of Conduct regulating these interests. The independent commission ensures compliance to the code which obliges signees to offer good, quality education to international students. Equally important, the code allows Wittenborg to apply for student visas and residence permits.

During Wednesday's visit, the commission was led by its chair, Joris van Bergen. He was accompanied by the secretary, Jolanda van den Bosch, and commissioner, Jan Albert Dop. They were welcomed by Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, and its manager of strategy and policy, Karen Penninga. The commissioners were given a tour of Wittenborg's Apeldoorn locations and they also enjoyed coffee and lunch with students and staff.

Penninga said it was a friendly visit requested by the commission to get to know students and staff who were encouraged to share their experiences at Wittenborg and in the Netherlands.

The code guarantees the quality of information sharing with international students, looks at the English linguistic abilities of incoming students, and the use of agents in students' home countries. The commission ensures institutions of higher education that have signed up adhere to the code, instigating investigations, following up on complaints and making recommendations. Its website is http://www.internationalstudy.nl

WUP 10/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: international studentsInternational Classoomcode of conduct

Wittenborg Sponsors Aviation Exams in Gelderland

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:25

This weekend Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will be sponsoring the theoretical exams for gliding of the Royal Dutch Society for Aviation (KNVVL) in the Gelderland province.

The exams are to take place on Saturday, 11 March, at Wittenborg’s Spoorstraat location. There are about 40 gliding clubs in the Netherlands and more than 4,000 gliding pilots. A glider is, of course, a plane without an engine.

Wittenborg’s facilities and student housing officer, Karel van der Zande, has been a member of the KNVVL for many years. In June last year, Wittenborg also sponsored his 2016 Euroglide team, racing across Europe in a small two seater glider from the Netherlands to Poland - a flight of over 2,400km.

According to Van der Zande, students will be tested on areas such as meteorology, the rules and regulations of gliding, technical issues, the weather and how planes move. It is expected that up to 40 students will do the exams.

WUP 8/03/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg SponsoringAviation Exams

Dutch Workers are the Happiest in Europe - New Study

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 12:01

The Dutch just love to work! A new study has found that the Dutch are the most satisfied workforce in Europe - a staggering 76% of people in the Netherlands are happy with their careers. In contrast, the UK has the highest number of dissatisfied workers.

This came to light in The Workforce View in Europe in 2017 - a report based on research carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of ADP last year. Almost 10,000 individuals were surveyed.

The Dutch scored highly in most themes highlighted by the report. After Spain, they consider themselves the most supported in their career development by employers. They are also, after Poland and Germany, the 3rd most optimistic nation about the next 5 years in the workplace. The European average was 78%, having risen slightly since 2015 in line with economic and employment prospects. Again, the sharpest fall in optimism is among British employees (down from 81% to 76%). The report speculates that this might be influenced by the uncertainty following the Brexit vote. Optimism is highest among the IT crowd and the telecoms sector.

Source: ADP

Dutch employees (34%) are also the most likely to consider freelancing and self-employment, followed by the Spanish (33%). According to the report, self-employment and freelancing are increasingly popular career options across Europe, with new technology and more flexible working practices giving people the freedom to choose a "different way of life".

After Switzerland (87%), a total of 86% of the Dutch feel they have a good work-life balance. The most stressed employees can be found in Poland. The retail and leisure, as well as healthcare sectors, fair the worst when it comes to stress in Europe with almost 1 out of 5 employees saying it is either a daily problem or causing them to consider opportunities elsewhere.

WUP 4/3/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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Relief for Nigerian Students in Holland and Abroad after Central Bank Issues New Directive on Foreign Exchange

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:02

Nigerian students at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences have expressed relief about the decision by Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) to provide additional foreign exchange to students to pay study fees and other expenses abroad after suffering a shortage of Forex for almost a year, resulting in long waiting times.

The admission staff at Wittenborg also welcomed the decision. Student Registrar, Santosh Aryal, said many students had outstanding payments due to the difficulties they experienced in obtaining the currency. “Many students were affected so I am happy that it has been resolved.”

Of the 68 different nationalities currently studying at Wittenborg, Nigerian students are the 4th highest number. 

One of the students, Mukadas Kolawole Alashe, said after the directive of the federal government that the exchange rate of the parallel market (the black market) dropped drastically and the value of the local currency also appreciated against foreign currency. “It gives us hope that the government has made the right decision to ease the difficulties that the Nigerian students abroad are facing.

Mukadas, doing an IBA in Information Management at Wittenborg, is currently in the final phase of his studies. He continued, saying: “However, the uncertainty is very high considering the sustainability of the Nigerian government’s policies, the unnecessary bureaucracy by the Nigerian banks and the stability of the exchange rate, which has been fluctuating due to the oil price and internal problems we are facing in Nigeria. I strongly believe if this new policy is upheld for a long period, there would be less difficulties for Nigerian students abroad and it will encourage more Nigerians to continue with their studies abroad without facing the problems we are facing now.”

The CBN issued a press statement recently, explaining it would reopen sales of foreign currency to cover overseas tuition fees and personal travel expenses for students.

“The CBN will immediately begin to provide foreign exchange to all commercial banks to meet the needs of both personal travel allowances (PTA) and business travel allowances (BTA) for onward sale to customers. All banks would receive amounts commensurate with their demand per week, which would be sold to customers who meet usual basic documentary requirements.

“Similarly, the CBN would meet the needs of parents, guardians and sponsors who are seeking to make payments of school and educational fees for their children and wards. Such payments must be made by commercial banks directly to the institution specified by the customer.” That means, students will not be given cash to make the payments – the banks will directly make the payments.

The CBN said it would ensure that this process was as smooth as possible for as many customers as possible to get the foreign exchange they genuinely demand.

WUP 2/3/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg Students

Wittenborg Part of High-Level Trade Mission to China

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 11:57

Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, will be part of a high-level trade mission going to China next month, along with representatives of the Gelderland province, Apeldoorn and the Full Sport Group (FSG), to open more doors for cooperation in sport and higher education between China and the Netherlands.

This follows a visit from China’s top sport university, the Shanghai University of Sports, to Apeldoorn late last year when they were hosted by Wittenborg, and also met representatives from Top Sport Gelderland and the Apeldoorn Gemeente. Dutch sport expertise, especially professional football coaches, are highly prized by the Chinese.

This time, the Dutch group will travel to the Hubei province and Shanghai from 18 – 25 March. In 2006, the Gelderland province signed a friendship agreement with Hubei. Also part of the mission are Michiel Scheffer, D66 member of Gelderland’s provincial executive, and Apeldoorn councillor, Alderman Johan Kruithof.

The group will visit several institutes of higher education in China, such as Wuhan Business University, the Shanghai University of Sports and Nantong Vocational University. A memorandum of understanding will be signed at the universities of Wuhan and Shanghai.

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and FSG - which are both situated in Apeldoorn - said they want to strengthen their exchanges with China in education, thereby developing higher education in Apeldoorn. “A growing group of Chinese students will do at least part of their studies in Apeldoorn. That opens the door for further growth,” a press statement read.

In China, Wittenborg already has a close relationship with the Shanghai Business School, which has resulted in several student exchange programmes and trips.

WUP 28/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: ChinaTransnational Higher EducationShanghai Business School

Dutch Election 2017: Everything you Need to Know

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 08:18

Foreign students cannot vote in the coming Dutch Election on 15 March 2017, but that does not mean they should not care. The outcome of the election might have an effect on government policy affecting international students. 

Also, let’s not forget this election is probably the most exciting one the Netherlands has had in years! So, pass the popcorn.

The Dutch Election System in a Nutshell
Since 1918, no party in Holland has ever won enough seats to gain an outright majority. As such, governments are usually formed by coalitions of two or more political parties. The current Dutch government is ruled by a coalition of the VVD and the PvDA. 

The Dutch have a list proportional system. That means the electorate vote for parties - not individuals like in the recent US presidential election. The number of seats a party gets in parliament is in proportion to the votes cast for it. The party determines who will represent them in parliament by way of a pre-determined candidate list.

The Front Runners
Far-right politician Geert Wilders from the PVV has been dominating polls, riding a wave of far-right sentiments in Europe. He is up against centre-right prime minister, Mark Rutte, who is leader of the VVD party.

Nicknamed the “Dutch Donald Trump”, Wilders is known for his anti-immigration views and isolationist manifesto, including calls for the Netherlands to leave the EU. Even though Wilders is a serious contender to win the popular vote, his party will battle to find coalition partners among the mainstream parties. Rutte has reiterated in the press that the VVD will not form a coalition with the PVV.


The Election in Numbers

  • 28 – the number of political parties that will compete in the election
  • 150 – the number of seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer)
  • 17 million – Dutch population
  • 12,9 million – the number of people eligible to vote

The Main Parties



Current Seats



Mark Rutte


A centre-right conservative liberal party with an emphasis on private enterprise, the free market, democracy and international cooperation.


Lodewijk Asscher


Social democratic centre-left party, which combines socialist ideas with liberal and humanist ideas.


Emile Roemer


The SP’s vision of society is based on the values of human dignity, equality and solidarity.


Sybrand van Haersma Buma


Despite the name, it has Christian and non-Christian supporters. Centre-right party with some centre-left leanings.


Geert Wilders


Right-wing party combining economic liberalism with anti-immigration policies.


Alexander Pechtold


Progressive and social-liberal party. Guiding principles are power and freedom of the individual, international cooperation, sustainability and civil rights for all.


Who can Vote?
Every Dutch citizen aged 18 years and older is eligible to vote in the Dutch general election, the European Parliament, as well as the provincial and municipal elections.
EU Observer

WUP 26/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Dutch ElectionPolitics

Wittenborg Top Student is from Africa

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 12:13

This semester Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences’ top Bachelor student is from Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa.

Despite some personal setbacks, Asfaha Fanuel managed to pass with honours.  He obtained his degree diploma on Friday at Wittenborg’s 2017 Winter Graduation Ceremony. He did an IBA in Economics & Management.

According to Fanuel, he chose to study in the Netherlands because it has many of the best English-taught universities in Europe. “The cost of studies is also fairly cheaper than in many other European countries. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good education in a beautiful environment with friendly people. I stayed in Apeldoorn and found it to be a clean and peaceful city.”

One of the reasons he came to Wittenborg is because it is well-accredited and has an international study environment. “I loved all the modules I studied because they were all interesting and prepare students for a (professional) life experience. I found the teachers to be hard working and good at transferring knowledge. They were an inspiration to me.”

At the same time, it was not all smooth sailing for Fanuel in the Netherlands. “This was my first experience in an international environment. At first I had some difficulties in communicating and interacting with people. It was also difficult to find a part-time job to cover some of my financial problems.”

Next, he would like to find a job in an international company. “For now, I plan to stay in the Netherlands and look for a job which suits my field of study. After some work experience I would like to do an MBA.”

Related Content: Wittenborg Studentsinternational students

MSc Students Visit Two Tourism Operators in Gelderland

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:35

Master's students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences enjoyed not one, but two company visits last week to give them insight into the various approaches of tourism operators in the Gelderland region.

The students visited a commercial bungalow park, Landal Miggelenberg - which employs a very Dutch concept of holidaying, and is part of the Landal Greenparks Group. This was followed with a visit to Parc Spelderholt, which encompasses a hotel, castle and estate in the beautiful Veluwe area. What makes the latter unique is its social responsibility approach to tourism by employing special needs students.

The Wittenborg students all follow MSc programmes in either International Hospitality Management, Event Management or Tourism Management. It was their first external trip for the year. They were accompanied by Wittenborg’s work placement coordinator, Adrianne

She said the aim of the visit was to give students a broader view on hospitality and tourism. “We visited two very different organisations – a commercial company and one where social responsibility features strongly. Landal holiday bungalows is a very Dutch concept which is now also expanding to the UK. Students need to know the hospitality industry does not only mean the hotel business.”

At both facilities students were given an introduction to the business, a tour around the premises and were also allowed to ask questions.

One of the students on the trip was Gabriela Padilla from El Salvador who spoke enthusiastically about the visit to Landal. “The manager explained really well how the operation works, what they do to stay ahead of the competition and their plans to grow by 3% in the next 3 years.”

WUP 21/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Wittenborg Student Does Internship at Luxury Brand Sotheby's

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:28

How do you snag an internship at one of the top luxury brands in the world?

Just ask Wittenborg student, Maggie (Yujing) Zhang, who recently did her work placement at Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the world’s largest brokers of real estate, jewellery, art and collectibles.

Maggie worked at Sotheby’s Dutch franchise that offers luxury real estate and homes for sale. In case you didn’t know, Holland has some of the most precious heritage properties in the world – including the stately canal houses in Amsterdam and the authentic windmill properties sprinkled all over the countryside. The company’s offices are based in Hilversum.

Maggie, who hails from a Chinese province close to the Mongolian border, is doing an IBA (Bachelor) in Marketing & Communication. She was introduced to the company by a friend – stressing the importance of establishing a good professional and social network.

At Sotheby’s she worked in the marketing department and was involved in developing a social media strategy for the company and maintaining its social media presence, including taking photographs of properties. The company is also interested in rooting Dutch Chinese relations and being Chinese was an advantage for Maggie.

“The biggest challenged I faced was not being able to speak Dutch – which was a problem in meetings. Working in a Dutch company was also a bit of a culture shock because the Dutch are very direct! Nonetheless, Holland is a great country with innovative people.”

The Wittenborg modules that were most useful in her internship were Business English and drawing up a Business Plan. She loves the international atmosphere at Wittenborg and describes the university as “quite well organised”. She came to Holland in 2013. After her studies she wants to look for an international job – perhaps working at Sotheby’s in Dubai.

Sotheby’s is a British national corporation, established in 1744. Chinese insurance giant, Taikang Life, is its largest shareholder.

WUP 17/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg StudentsInternship

Wittenborg Whisky Book Attracts International Media Attention

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 15:54

Wittenborg University Press’s latest publication has been attracting coverage in the international press.  Ben Birdsall’s Whisky Burn – Distilleries of Scotland by Vespa was released last year at a gala launch at the Amsterdam campus, in the heart of the city’s business district, and has been ‘flying’ off the shelves ever since.

Whisky Burn tells the tale of one man’s quest around Scotland on a classic Vespa 50 to explore the whisky distilleries: camping, 'soaking' up the atmosphere, and doing a spot of oil painting along the way.

The Glasgow Herald magazine’s article entitled Do the Ride Thing, opens with a conversation from the book on the Isle of Islay:
Birdsall arrived on his loaded-up Vespa and met a couple of strangers sitting outside a hotel. They fell into conversation, Birdsall explaining that he had arrived from Switzerland to tour the distilleries scattered across the Highlands and Islands.  The strangers’ curiosity was, perhaps understandably, stirred. 
“Are you an alcoholic?” one asked. 
“No,” Birdsall replied. 
“Are you wanted by the police?” asked the other.
To which Birdsall could only reply, “Not yet.”

This January’s edition of Scootering.com magazine has the author pootling across the front cover.  In the interview, the journalist asks: “The trip combines 3 passions, scooters, whisky and painting.  Which one most influenced your route?” 
Birdsall replies: “My Vespa journeys all start out as painting trips, this one was no exception.  As a landscape painter, I was more enticed by the dramatic Highlands and Islands scenery rather than the Lowlands, and decided to head north.  Then I planned visits to the best-known distilleries, so Islay, Skye and Speyside were in my sights from the off.  Having a 50cc, I made sure I didn’t have to travel too far in one day, and the tent made me far more flexible on that account.”

Germany’s “Classic Scooter” has Birdsall for its centrefold poster as he sits to paint the fields outside Macallan distillery.  In the article entitled Der Wahre Highlander (The Real Highlander) they write: Drinking and driving is forbidden, even in Scotland.  But Ben Birdsall did it anyway, around the distilleries of Scotland on a rattling old classic Vespa.  How’s that for a ‘Schnapsidee’?

Articles have also been published in the Vespa Club of Scotland and the Vespa Club of Switzerland magazines, besides numerous mentions in online blogs and a Wikipedia page about the author.  Birdsall says: “I’m pleased and a little bit flattered by the attention the book has received - especially the centrefold!  Right now, though, I’m concerned with planning my next summer’s trip, around Ireland, and that means, of course, the distilleries of Ireland – by Vespa.”

Copies of "Whisky Burn" can be ordered from: www.whiskyburn.com


WUP 15/2/2017

by James Wittenborg, and others
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Whisky Burn

Wittenborg Welcomes New Students from 21 Countries

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 08:28

More than 50 new students from at least 21 nationalities will start their classes at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences on Monday.

On Wednesday the early arrivals enjoyed lunch with members of staff, including registrar Santosh Aryal who welcomed them as part of Introduction Week activities, which continued on Thursday.

Introduction Week is designed to familiarise new students with the wide array of academic, intellectual, leadership, cultural, and social experiences available at Wittenborg.

The new students are from Serbia, the Ukraine, Italy, Nepal, South Africa, Mexico, Bangladesh, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, China, Morocco, Iran, Algeria, Eritrea, India, Syria and Indonesia.

Aryal said: “We are pleased with the latest group of international students. There was definitely a rise in the number of students compared to February last year. This is a great start to the new year.”

Phia Klopper from South Africa gained direct entry to the 3rd phase for the IBA programme in Marketing & Communication. Before coming to Holland, she studied Financial Planning in South Africa and worked as a financial advisor. “I took a gap year in Holland and just fell in love with the country.” After her Bachelor she wants to do a Master degree and look for a job.

Romeissa Laib from Algeria says she chose to study in the Netherlands because she heard the country has one of the best education systems in the world. She is following an IBA in Marketing & Communication. Before coming here she did a language course in Germany for one year and, before that, lived for 2 years in Canada. After her studies she would like to go back to Canada.

Olanrewaju Oluwaseun David from Nigeria says he came to study in the Netherlands because he wanted a change. “I want to gain more experience in business.” He currently lives in Apeldoorn at the Full Force Sports Academy campus and is following an IBA in Tourism Management.

WUP 13/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Latest Wittenborg Graduates Urged to be "Ambassadors of Internationalism"

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 16:21

The latest group of graduates from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences were urged to be “ambassadors of internationalism and tolerance” during the 2017 Winter Graduation ceremony on Friday.

Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, told graduates that, considering what’s happening in the world and the anti-reaction to internationalism, they were a beacon of hope. “It is important that you are ambassadors of internationalism in a world where people seem to struggle in coping with the concept.”

Almost 40 bachelor's and master's students, from some 13 different nationalities, graduated from Wittenborg on Friday.

Guest speaker, Alderman Johan Kruithof from the Apeldoorn city council, said students are living in challenging times, but urged them to not let themselves be defined by others. “As international students you have already been brave enough, in a manner of speaking, to ‘cross the water’ and study in a different country, and thereby proving to yourself that fear does not define you. To the Dutch students: You have had the courage and curiosity to study at an international university and leave your comfort zone behind and expose yourself to different cultures.”

He also said he believed in the concept of life-long learning, and hoped that the international students found the city stimulating and welcoming.

Wittenborg’s interim Academic Dean, Dr Regina Kecht, who was also in attendance from Vienna, told the graduates that Wittenborg took pride in having created a completely international environment at the level of students, staff and faculty. “I’m sure you have discovered lots of fascinating things about other cultures, countries and perspectives inside and outside the classroom at Wittenborg. And due to this you have become more open-minded and tolerant. You can accept differences and appreciate diversity.

“I would like you to make a conscious effort at disseminating this spirit and contribute to a more peaceful, more cooperative and more understanding world.”

The graduates were also congratulated by Birdsall, who reminded students that they will henceforth be considered Wittenborg alumni. “It is like that song (by the Eagles), Hotel California: You may enter, but you will never leave,” he joked.

“As Wittenborg grows and develop, that will add to your CV, because people will always be interested to know where you studied. Our promise to you is that we will continue to improve the quality and diversity at Wittenborg, and increase its reputation as an international Dutch institute of higher education.”

WUP 11/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Data Shows Wittenborg is the Most International Institute of Higher Education in the Netherlands

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:29

With international students making up 89% of its student body, is Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences the most international institute of higher education in the Netherlands? 

New data by Nuffic - the Dutch agency promoting internationalism – certainly seems to back up this bold statement.

The agency recently released a list of the top 10% of institutes in terms of international students. According to this data, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam has the highest percentage of international students (68%) in the Netherlands, followed by the Design Academy in Eindhoven (62%), and the University of the Arts in The Hague (55%).

However, Wittenborg’s own data has shown that the university currently has an international student percentage of 89% - making it the most international institute of higher education in the Netherlands.

A total of 70 different nationalities studied at Wittenborg in 2016 – currently there are 68. The biggest source countries were China, the Netherlands, Nepal and Nigeria. However, the university also received students from countries as diverse as Luxembourg, Australia, Georgia, Germany, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Turkey, the UK, Zimbabwe and Vi etnam.

“International content is an integral part of the curriculum,” one of Wittenborg’s internal reports for 2017 accreditation processes reads. “Students are thus prepared for the challenges in an international working environment.”

The report reiterates that the acquisition of intercultural competences and skills are at the core of the programmes’ learning objectives and are strongly promoted. All modules are English taught, and lecturers, as well as support staff, are a mix of nationalities.

WUP 9/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Wittenborg's Spoorstraat Building Gets a Facelift

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:05

If you have recently visited Wittenborg’s Spoorstraat location in Apeldoorn, you might have noticed the front of the building is currently getting a major renovation which is close to completion.

Despite the drab weather, workmen could be seen planting a hedge on the edge of the property on Friday, enclosing it from the road.

Bas van Santen, internal researcher and financial administrator at Wittenborg, is leading the project. He said the idea is to make the building appear more green and inviting.  “The bricks we laid fit in well with the surroundings and the dark-grey basalt gives it a modern, playful touch. Keeping the area multifunctional was important. Now there will be enough parking for staff and visitors and place even to host a barbeque in the summer!

“The original pavement was old and there was a big hole in the middle of the terrain for drainage. The new drainage system (between Wittenborg and the Fotovakschool) allowed us to flatten the surface.”

Wittenborg opened its Spoorstraat location in August 2015. According to Van Santen, updating the front is the finishing touch on the building. “We will of course continue to make small improvements, for instance, by creating more storage for students, like lockers, and making it a comfortable place to take classes or hang out during breaks.”

WUP 07/02/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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