VU Amsterdam objects and their stories | 140 years Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Fortnightly from 31 August, read a new story on

08/25/2020 | 4:16 PM

On 20 October 2020, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will celebrate its 140th birthday. The online exhibition ‘VU Amsterdam objects and their stories’ presents a remarkable object from the VU Amsterdam heritage collection for every five years of university history. Past and present students, lecturers, researchers as well as employees will recount the tales that these objects can tell. First off is Rector Vinod Subramaniam, who reflects on VU Amsterdam's founder Abraham Kuyper through his professor portrait. KuyperProfDrsKleiner

Special attention to VU Amsterdam's founder Abraham Kuyper
Theologian, journalist and politician Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) played a key part in VU Amsterdam's foundation. The year 2020 marks not only VU Amsterdam's 140th birthday but also 100 years since Kuyper's death. This exhibition therefore pays particular attention to his legacy at VU Amsterdam. Many others beside Kuyper contributed to VU Amsterdam's further development. One example is Vrouwen VU Hulp (Women's Aid for the VU), which collected donations using the VU Amsterdam money boxes. They feature in the exhibition as well.

Changing student culture
Students have also made their mark on VU Amsterdam's history. Remarkable changes in student culture at VU Amsterdam have occurred over time, from the traditional student societies to the left-wing student movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

Special research and teaching tools
Evidence for the ever-widening range of research as well as education at VU Amsterdam are the research and teaching tools from the VU heritage collection. The exhibition will present special tools developed at VU Amsterdam. Among other things, there is the lie detector used at the Department of Neuropsychology during the 1970s, whose continued development by the instrument workshop allowed its operation using a single hand. Another highlight is recently developed equipment such as software and robots, which are nowadays indispensable in education and society.

Fortnightly from 31 August, read a new story on
Fortnightly from 31 August 2020 to May 2021, read a new story on the website.

Follow the University Library social media
Follow the University Library's social media channels to receive the stories and images in the blink of an eye.
VU Amsterdam University Library Twitter account @UBVU

More information?
Please get in touch with University Historian Ab Flipse or Academic Heritage Curator Liselotte Neervoort.