The official opening of Saxion University of Applied Sciences’ brand new location in Apeldoorn this week marks the culmination of a long process to create a hub for higher education in the city which started with the successful establishment of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in 2010.
Saxion’s new Hotel School is located next to Wittenborg’s Spoorstraat location on the north side of the Apeldoorn railway station, along with the Fotovakschool (University of Applied Sciences for photography). Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, and its manager of Strategy and Policy, Karen Penninga, attended the opening on Thursday. The building accommodates about 1 000 student doing programmes in Hotel Management and Security Management.
The education hub, which Wittenborg is part of, represents a mixture of private and public funded institutions bound together to create a synergy of research and teaching in the center of Apeldoorn - a city that can finally lay to rest its struggle to position itself as a centre of knowledge and expertise catering to the needs of the labour market and regional agenda.
The process started in all earnest when Wittenborg and the municipality (gemeente) of Apeldoorn began negotiations for the university to move from Deventer to Apeldoorn in 2009. By March 2010 it was announced that Wittenborg would move its entire operation, including its School of Business, to the ROC Aventus building on the other side of the railway station.
By 2015 Wittenborg has not only established itself as an international institute of higher education with more than 500 students from 70 different nationalities, but also opened a second location at the Spoorstraat building as well as a campus in Amsterdam. In addition to offering Bachelor degrees, it also offers fully accredited MBA and Master of Science degrees and is about to expand internationally by opening its first campus in Vienna, Austria.
Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, wrote in 2010, shortly after the move that there is a tremendous opportunity for Apeldoorn to situate itself as a centre of knowledge in both the Netherlands and the international stage, attracting students from all over the country and the globe. He advised the municipality to focus its higher education institutes around the railway station, at the Spoorstraat location. “For now Wittenborg is pleased it can join the development of Apeldoorn’s higher education.” is what he wrote at the time, and today sees the fulfilment of the plan he outlined over 6 years ago!
Read the full version of Peter Birdsall's discussion note on the state of higher education in Apeldoorn here.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press