The new academic year was opened on Monday 31 August with a ceremony adjusted to the COVID-19 measures. In the Aula, some 40 guests attended the proceedings; all others were welcome to follow the ceremony online through a live stream.
The gathering focused on the equilibrium between agriculture and nature and was titled “Nature and agriculture: a continuous balancing act”. A topic of relevance to the Netherlands and beyond.
Following her opening speech, WUR president Louise O. Fresco introduced Melchert Meijer zu Schlochtern, a documentary maker of Ruben Smit Productions. He showed a preview of the new documentary Grutto!. Grutto is Dutch for the black-tailed godwit, a bird that lives between nature and agriculture. After discussing the life of the black-tailed godwit both in the Netherlands and in Africa, Melchert challenged the audience to consider what the agricultural system would look like if it were designed to better utilise the ecological processes.
After an interlude by harp player Lavinia Meijer, the programme continued. For some years now, it has become a tradition to have young Wageningen scientists shed their light on the topic of the opening from their perspective.
At the end of the event rector Arthur Mol announced that WUR recorded its millionth registration for the MOOCs. MOOCs are online courses that attract participants from around the globe. The proceedings ended with the official opening of the Academic Year 2020-2021.