Van Engelshoven: education will not shut down in fourth wave

Higher education is not going to shut its doors again, even if there is a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. So said outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven yesterday at the opening of the academic year of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven

‘My answer is no’, Van Engelshoven told local radio station 1Limburg. ‘We are simply not going to do that anymore.’

In extreme cases the government could make access passes mandatory. Students and staff can then enter the campus only if they have been vaccinated or tested. These rules are already ‘in her back pocket’, the Minister said, but she hopes they will not be needed. ‘It’s a very tough measure.’


The Minister calls on students to get vaccinated, ‘and if that really isn’t possible, get tested.’ In addition, self-tests are available free of charge. ‘It will be of great help to us if as many students as possible do the test twice a week.’

Later she spoke in English to a group of people at the conservatoire in Limburg. She said how happy she was that education could take place face-to-face once more and thanked everyone for their efforts in recent times.

‘Let us continue to work together and do everything we can to hold onto our renewed freedom’, she said, referring to the vaccines, self-tests and other precautionary measures. She also called for international cooperation in education and research.


And the cultural sector, in which the students in question will make their career? It is ‘truly painful’ how hard the cultural sector has been hit, said the Minister, and especially the freelancers. But she has done her best to ensure they share in the billions of euros that have been granted in support, she added.

Despite that support the government cannot alleviate all the pain, she said. Moreover, during the crisis structural problems came to light, she stated, and the next government would have to do something with all the advisory reports and analyses that have been made. ‘I sincerely hope it will rise to the challenge.’

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.