Professors hold the right to bear the title of professor (abbreviated to prof.) from the moment they are installed in their position. Former professors who are honourably discharged as a result of reaching their legal age limit, as a result of early retirement or for health reasons, may also keep this title. In the Netherlands the title professor is often combined with academic titles such as doctor and meester (LL M). As well as the term magister (master, abbreviated to mag.), the title professor has existed for centuries.
Dating from the Middle Ages, historical academic titles are extremely varied, both in chronological and geographical respect. They often appear on the title page of inaugural lectures, dissertations or other publications such as elegies and odes. For a full list of titles, please refer to Degree.
After the Second World War a discussion started on the protection and official recognition of academic titles. It took until 1960, however, to determine who was allowed to use the respective titles of doctor (abbreviated to dr.), meester (mr.), ingenieur (engineer, ir.) and doctorandus (Master, drs.) – to be placed before the name. In 1972 the title ing. (ingenieur, engineer) was added, indicating graduates of polytechnics and agricultural colleges. Since 1985 the Dutch title drs. may be substituted for the letter M (for Master), to be placed behind the name.
Titles that appear in the Album Academicum are, among others, Jhr. (Jonkheer, esquire), O.P. (Ordo Praedicatorum, Dominican order) and S.J. (Societatis Jesu, Jesuit society).back to top
Until the nineteenth century law, medicine and theology were the main subjects at a university. Prior to specialising in one of these fields students attended an elementary programme with a general, educational character. These so-called Artes (liberal arts) included humanities and philosophy, history, and mathematics and physics. In 1815 this programme was split into humanities and philosophy, including history, on the one hand, and mathematics and physics on the other. In 1877 the two programmes lost their elementary character and became equal in status to law, medicine and theology. The twentieth century, especially after World War II, witnessed an enormous increase in the number of courses. Inevitably development between the programmes and courses and the number of disciplines was not always necessarily uniform. This was also the result of globalisation and changes in legislation and in status of universities, polytechnics and other institutes of higher education.
In the Album Academicum degrees are distinguished in 3 levels: doctoral degree (promotie), Master's degree (doctoraal) and professional training (beroepsopleiding). Both Dutch and international terms are present. Due to the great diversity of academic degrees it is impossible to list them all.
The highest academic degree that can be obtained at a university is a doctorate or doctoral degree, abbreviated to doctor or Dr (in Dutch dr.). If a candidate wants to take a doctorate one or more Supervisors are appointed by the Doctorate Board and a Doctorate Committee is raised. At the request of the Supervisor one or more Assistent Supervisors may also be appointed. The Committee normally has a minimum of three and a maximum of seven members in addition to the Supervisor and any Assistent Supervisor. The Supervisor’s principal task is to supervise the Candidate in his preparation of the Thesis and is responsible for the Manuscript’s acceptance as such. The Assistent Supervisor assists the Supervisor in this task. Once the thesis is approved of by the Supervisor the candidate has to defend it in public. After a successful oral defense before the Doctorate Board or its appointed Doctorate Committee the Doctorate is awarded. The Doctorate may be awarded ‘cum laude’ (with distinction) if the quality of the thesis merits this.
In the past it was not uncommon to graduate on an argumentative dispute only. Instead of writing a dissertation candidates formulated a number of propositions which they had to defend, generally in public. In law it was possible to graduate on the basis of defending propositions up to 1921. Adding propositions to one’s dissertation used to be obligatory; nowadays, however, they have become optional.
Honorary degree (eredoctoraat):
Honorary degrees (Latin honoris causa, in Dutch eredoctoraat) have been conferred at the Universiteit van Amsterdam since 1897 to persons with outstanding accomplishments in an academic, social or cultural field. In the past it was common for students of theology to receive an honorary degree rather than graduating in the regular way.
Over the last decades the number of foreign degrees has increased. The PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy (Philosophiae Doctor), is the most widespread degree and is equivalent to a Dutch doctorate.
The Habilitation is awarded in German-speaking countries on the basis of a more elaborate version of one’s dissertation. It is often required for obtaining a professorship, though this condition has become a matter of debate.
This degree is a prerequisite for entering a PhD programme. The exam is commonly taken at the end of a 4 to 6-year course. Successful completion entitles one to carry the degree of doctorandus (abbreviated to drs.). The doctoraal degree became popular in the nineteen twenties and thirties, at first among students of economics and students of humanities. In 2002 it was officially replaced by the Anglo-Saxon equivalent, the Master’s. Depending on the discipline this is generally Master of Arts (MA), Master of Laws (LLM) or Master of Science (MSc). Teaching qualifications and engineering degrees are also classified under this category. Occasionally, a Bachelor’s (kandidaatsexamen) can be mentioned as well.
These are exams required in vocational education and training, at both post-secondary (or further education) level and on higher education level. Most common are degrees in accountancy, in medicine and for ordinands (clergymen), and the teaching certificate qualifying for teaching at secondary school level.
The Athenaeum Illustre was not permitted to hold examinations or confer degrees. Thus, degrees were awarded from 1877 onwards when it became Universiteit van Amsterdam. If students had attended the entire course at the Athenaeum Illustre but did their final exams in, for instance, Leiden, Groningen or Utrecht, this is indicated.
Before the twentieth century academic degrees were highly diverse, both in chronological and geographical respect. Even within the Netherlands differences existed. A student graduating in Groningen in the eighteenth century could hold a different degree than a person who read the exact same course in Leiden. Universities used different terminology and abbreviations of degrees. New laws in education contributed to this variety.
Between 1815 and 1877 medical science graduates who had obtained the degree of Medicinae Doctor (MD) had the option of specialising by taking a second doctorate in surgery, obstetrics, or pharmacy. In 1877 it was decided to specify doctorates by curriculum, resulting in a large number of degrees. From 1921 to approximately 1985 doctorates were specified by faculty only and after 1985 this specification too was officially dropped.
After 1945 new disciplines and departments, such as the Social Sciences, were introduced. During the nineteen sixties most universities changed names of faculties and departments and added new ones. On top of this, the changes were not consistent from one university in the Netherlands to another. All these developments are reflected in the degree.
The list of doctorates below applies until approximately the mid nineteen eighties and is not comprehensive. Exact dates are not indicated, as even within a university one and the same degree can be different at various moments. In addition, not every university provided exactly the same curriculum.
A description of the institution and the location (town and country) of where the degree was obtained. In some cases, in particular in the twentieth century, foreign institutions are mentioned by name. Considering the lengthy period of time, the variety of institutions with their changing names and ranks, and the fact that both Dutch and foreign institutions are involved, the data entered are highly diverse.
The terms listed here are the keywords that define as precisely as possible the subject of the dissertation. They are extracted from the Nederlandse Basisclassificatie and the Gemeenschappelijke Trefwoorden Thesaurus, both Dutch classification systems for libraries.back to top
At the Athenaeum Illustre professors were appointed by the city of Amsterdam. The date of the appointment, therefore, is the date of the meeting of the town government (until 1795) or the council (after 1795) when the decision to appoint was taken.
Even after the Athenaeum Illustre acquired the rank of university (1877), the municipality – still the university’s financer – remained responsible for appointing professors and other academic staff. From that time, however, appointments by the council had to be ratified by Royal Decree. The date in the Album Academicum is in most cases the date of the relevant Royal Decree. If this date is unknown – especially in the pre-World War II era – the date of the relevant municipal decision has been specified.
From 1961 to 1971 professors were appointed by the Board of Governors, which included several local councillors. Since 1971 the city council no longer plays any part and academic appointments are made by the Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam. Nevertheless, it was still obligatory to obtain a royal decree for each appointment. During the entire period between 1877 and 1986, therefore, it is possible to have two valid dates for one and the same appointment, as well as a third date indicating the day a person literally entered upon the job. That obtaining Royal Decrees was a lengthy process is clear from the fact that the date upon which the professor is installed regularly preceeds the date of the royal decree.
If the date of the appointment is unknown, only the former date is indicated in the database.
The number of professors at the Athenaeum Illustre between 1632 and 1877 was rather small, just some 140. Most of them were gewoon hoogleraar or ordinarii, i.e. (full) professors. In addition, the institution employed a few buitengewoon hoogleraren or extraordinarii. The main difference between the two was that the latter worked part-time and held a somewhat lower rank. Both full and part-time professors were paid by the city and received tuition fees from students. In a number of cases this was supplemented by emoluments (fringe benefits such as free boarding, a share in the examination fees and registration fees). After 1867 medicine and pharmacy students paid their tuition fees directly to the municipality, from which professors and other academic staff received a share.
Some professors were only granted permission to teach (toegelaten), sometimes without receiving any payment. Most of them, however, were subsequently officially appointed. Some other professors had an assistant professor – usually paid out of their own pocket – who took over part of their teaching.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Collegium Chirurgicum (surgeons’ guild) was responsible for the education of students in surgery and obstetrics. The teachers, or praelectores anatomiae, did not hold an appointment at the Athenaeum Illustre. They gave public lectures in which Athenaeum students could participate. The praelectores, who taught anatomy, made an important contribution to the development of medical education in Amsterdam. In 1798 the Collegium Chirurgicum was discontinued, not to be succeeded until 1828, when the Klinische School (medical school) was founded. The new institution was also independent from the Athenaeum Illustre, but Athenaeum students were allowed to attend the lessons at the Binnengasthuis hospital. At the same time, students of the Klinische School were allowed to attend some of the courses at the Athenaeum Illustre. Klinische School lecturers were attached to the Athenaeum Illustre as honorary professor.
In theology a similar situation existed. Amsterdam had several ecclesiastical institutions or seminaries that trained students to become clergymen. Again, ordinarii existed alongside extraordinarii, who were appointed by their community and who were not professors at the Athenaeum Illustre. The Athenaeum Illustre had its own professors of theology.
During the twentieth century a number of positions were abolished, such as lector and extraordinary professor. Since 1985 three types have been recognised by law: gewoon hoogleraar, bijzonder hoogleraar and kerkelijk hoogleraar. Sometimes an extra dimension is given to a professorship, for instance the university professor or personal professor. Below the main features of the various positions are outlined.
The task of a gewoon hoogleraar is to teach and to do research. He or she is also responsible for the development of his/her area of expertise and often holds administrative responsibilities. In the Netherlands a professor is appointed to a specific chair and can be employed part-time or full-time.
In the Netherlands a named professor is appointed by an external organization, often a stichting (comparable to a foundation). This organization is also responsible for payment of the salary. Strictly spoken, therefore, one could argue that the university itself does not employ the named professor. One of the purposes of this system is that a relationship can be established between social or cultural organisations and the university. Named professors are often appointed on a part-time basis and have their main employment elsewhere. Appointments are for five years. Examples of funding organizations are: Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (Royal Tropical Institute) Stichting Nationaal Popinstituut (Institute for Rock and Popmusic), the Wiardi Beckman Stichting (political) and Nederlands Kankerinstituut (promotes research for cancer treatment).
Traditionally, vocational education in theology is provided in the Netherlands by ecclesiastical institutions or seminaries, such as the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk (Dutch Protestant Church), the Evangelisch-Luthers Seminarium (Lutherans), and the Seminarium der Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (Mennonite). Here Christian doctrine was taught. As stated above (see Education) these seminaries were independent; at the Athenaeum Illustre theology was taught at an academic level. The so-called kerkelijk hoogleraar (ecclesiastical professor) was introduced in 1877. According to the Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs, 1876 (Higher Education Act) universities were only allowed to provide academic education. For this reason practical training for clergymen was transferred to church seminaries, where kerkelijk hoogleraren were responsible for teaching the dogmatic subjects. Similar to the named professor, kerkelijk hoogleraren were appointed by and paid by their community, for which they usually received a state grant.
In the period 1877-1905 only the Universiteit van Amsterdam maintained the position of extraordinary professor. State universities had temporarily abolished this position. The difference between extraordinary and full professors continued to exist after 1877, i.e. extraordinary professors held a part-time position and could have less authority. Until 1905 they were not entitled to hold examinations or confer doctoral degrees. The position of extraordinary professor was abolished in 1985.
In the Netherlands the lector, just as the gewoon hoogleraar, is appointed to a specific (sometimes departmental) chair. The position of lector can be regarded as the lowest rank of a professorship. It can be described as a junior professorship and is comparable to the Associate professor in the US. The position of lector already existed at theAthenaeum Illustre and from 1877 the appointment of a lector, too, had to be ratified by Royal Decree. In 1980 the position was abolished, resulting in many lectoren being appointed professor.
Just like extraordinary professors, this indicated a part-time position.
Again similar to the named professorship, the named lector was appointed by and paid by a third party.
Two types of non-salaried professors can be distinguished in the Album Academicum. In the first place there are retired professors who for a certain time, without payment, continue to supervise graduate students, do research or occasionally teach a class. However, there are also professors who officially hold an non-salaried position, mostly temporary and often part-time, as the professor in question has his main employment elsewhere. Nonetheless, the professor does have an official appointment and the university draws up an official contract.
Occasionally a professor is simply appointed to teach a course for a particular period of time. In some cases this position precedes an appointment as professor or lector. Another possibility is that a professor who reaches retirement is requested to carry on his teaching until a successor for the chair has been found.
A visiting professor is appointed temporarily, usually for the purpose of giving a series of lectures. The law does not distinguish a visiting professor – who is often from abroad – from a gewoon hoogleraar. Visiting professors who occasionally deliver a guest lecture or workshop on their own initiative, without being appointed to do so, are not included in the Album Academicum.
The position of privaatdocent is mentioned in the Album Academicum merely to provide a full career overview of the professor in question. A privaatdocent is primarily assigned to teach, for instance in a (subsidiary) field that is not available at the university. The privaatdocent does not receive a salary. The position still exists at the Universiteit van Amsterdam.
The position of honorary professor has existed at the Universiteit van Amsterdam since 2001. It is an honorary position and is reserved for scholars who work at an institute of academic education or research as (emeritus) professor and who have highly distinguished themselves academically. Honorary professors are expected to give guest lectures regularly or or to contribute to research in order to advance the quality of education and research at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Both Dutch and foreign professors can be appointed as honorary professor.
University professors have been appointed at the Universiteit van Amsterdam since 1996. By law they are gewoon hoogleraar, but in their position as university professor, they are not attached to a single disciplinary field or to a department or faculty. This is inherent to the function: the university professor is expected to stimulate cross-disciplinary development and to contribute to a strong university profile.
A personal chair is a professorship awarded specifically to that individual. In most cases the chair is dissolved when its holder leaves the position – as opposed to departmental chairs, which are taken up anew at the incumbent professor's departure. A professor is often appointed a personal chair on the basis of his high quality and merit in his field. The practice of appointing a professor ad personam has existed for centuries. Frederik Ruysch, for instance, was appointed as personal professor by the city council in 1685.
This type of chair is established in order to promote a particular field. Appointments can be both full-time and part-time and are for a period of five years, following which reappointment is possible. A professor who holds such a chair is often a specialist in a specific field who maintains relations and contacts on an international level.
At the Universiteit van Amsterdam there are a number of chairs to which different professors are appointed for a specific period of time. A professor holding such a chair is distinguished in a specific field of knowledge. The period of appointment depends entirely on the chair itself and can vary from a few months to one or two years. When the appointment of a professor ends, a new candidate is nominated and appointed. The chair can be endowed, such as the Pieter-Zeeman leerstoel (chair in physics), but there are also regular chairs.
During the Second World War the Netherlands were occupied by Germany from May 1940 to May 1945. In this period a large number of professors was dismissed by the Germans. As a result, their chairs remained vacant or someone who did meet with the Germans' approval was appointed instead. In the spring of 1945 the city council decided to reinstate part of these professors from 7 May 1945 to their former position (Besluit rechtsherstel ontslagen ambtenaren, 7 September 1944 (Rehabilitation of Civil Servants Decision).
An exact definition of the discipline on which a professor's teaching and research is focused. Before 1877, the city council, on the recommendation of the board of governors, was free to divide teaching responsibilities among the professors according to their own views. However, as opposed to the universities at the time, the Athenaeum Illustre did appoint professors with a specific chair. After 1877 – and the first Higher Education Act (Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs) – professors were solely appointed in a specifically defined field. Through the years one can clearly see a development of chairs s from extremely broad to extremely specialist.
This field contains the teaching institution at which the professor was appointed and the faculty. The Album Academicum not only contains the names of professors attached to the Universiteit van Amsterdam or the Athenaeum Illustre, but also those attached to educational institutions in Amsterdam that had strong ties with the university and were important for the development of education in the city.
The following institutions can be found:
In contrast with universities, the Athenaeum Illustre officially had no faculties or departments. In effect, however, two faculties for the elementary programmes and three graduate faculties were distinguished from 1848 onwards. In 1877 all five faculties became equal in standing.
Below all faculties of the Universiteit van Amsterdam are listed by discipline from 1877 to the present.
As early as 1921 the need was felt to categorise new and often interdisciplinary programmes under a single faculty. This resulted in the establishment of six so-called Verenigde faculteiten or combined faculties, each of which existed for varying periods of time. In 1963 they were supplanted by three interfaculteiten. In an interfaculteit two or more main faculties worked together for the purpose of interdisciplinary programmes. Professors whose chair was classified under an interfaculteit were always appointed at a main faculty as well.
Between 1960 and 1987 faculties were divided into subfaculteiten, similar to the present departments. By and large, the various subfaculteiten originated in the sixties. Though all faculties distinguished subfaculteiten, be it under changing names, in the Album Academicum only those in the Faculty of Social Sciences and in the Faculty of Science and Mathematics are indicated, as these became full faculties in 1987.
Listed here are the keywords that define as precisely as possible the professor's chair and field of research/discipline. The terms are extracted from the Nederlandse Basisclassificatie and the Gemeenschappelijke Trefwoorden Thesaurus, both Dutch classification systems for libraries.back to top
The decisions to appoint professors and lectoren can be found in the archives of the city of Amsterdam, i.e. burgemeesters en de vroedschap (until 1795), nieuw stedelijk bestuur (1795-1813) and gemeenteraad van Amsterdam (since 1814), as well as in the archives of the Athenaeum Illustre and Universiteit van Amsterdam. Complete discription of all sources can be found in P.J. Knegtmans, Professoren van de stad: het Athenaeum Illustre en de Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1632-1960 (Amsterdam 2007).