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Academic heritage

The academic heritage items of VU Amsterdam reveal the history of academic education and research in various fields at the Vrije Universiteit. The collections range from the first beadle’s staff, taxidermy specimens and a hydraulic economic model to minerals, fossils and microscopes from the 1970s. Many of the objects are one of a kind.

Using heritage collections for teaching and research
The heritage collections are a rich source of information and inspiration for research, for instance in the context of scientific discoveries. Are you curious about the learning materials that were used to teach VU students in the 1950s? Would you like to research how the robes worn by VU lecturers have changed over the centuries? Or perhaps you want to give a lecture on the construction of the campus? Students, lecturers and researchers are always welcome to use the collections for education and research.  

Decorating public spaces with objects from the collections
It is also possible to borrow objects from the heritage collections to decorate (semi-)public spaces in the buildings at VU Amsterdam. These items can be used to spruce up a meeting room, for example.

Questions and contact
For questions and further information about the collections and their contents, or if you would like to use the collections, please contact curator Eline Bos.
Proposing heritage items for the collections
If you have an object that you think would be a valuable addition to the VU heritage collections, please let us know!

Collection components:
Professor Portraits
113 portraits (including both paintings and photographs) of professors and administrators of VU Amsterdam. (see also the selection in the image repository)

University Heritage
Professors: 31 objects relating to professors, togas, video footage, accessories; togas belonging to F.L. Rutgers & family, Dooyeweerd, Kuitert, Coops, Grosheide and others.

Gifts: 34 gifts from foreign universities given to VU rectors, including some from a university that has had ties to VU Amsterdam since 1956.

Student associations: 30 objects, primarily medals & sashes from student associations.

Centennial celebration: 20 objects created for VU Amsterdam’s centennial celebration, from lime tree to commemorative pins.

Senate hall: 33 objects, mainly furniture & desk accessories, used in the senate hall on Keizersgracht.

Vrouwen VU-hulp: 25 objects relating to the Vrouwen VU-hulp organisation (1932 – 1990), including the statue ‘De Spaarster’, a tapestry and a selection of VU donation boxes.

General VU history, 1880 – 2000: 50 mementos of the history of VU Amsterdam; beadle staff, pins & medals, cupboards, video footage, promotional material, etc.

Scientific Heritage
Instruments and equipment: instruments, research and teaching models, equipment from various departments within VU Amsterdam. Misc. material from instrument manufacturers, including microtomes from Microbiology, EcoCirc from Economics, microscope and (clap) skates (1976 – 1996) from Human Movement Sciences (approx. 30 items).

Ecology: a selection of taxidermy bird mounts & animals in formaldehyde, specifically from the summer camps on Schiermonnikoog; items relating to the research of Prof. Karel Voous and research material from Prof. Jan Lever; old education collections (approx. 100 items).

Geology: a selection of specimens (fossils, rocks, ores and minerals) from the education collections & objects collected during excursions. Ores from Prof. Willem Uytenbogaart, fossils from Dr Bert Breimer, a selection of other rock types (approx. 200 items).

Want to know more about VU's exhibitions?

Visit the Special Collections' archives and discover past and present exhibitions.

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Questions about the collection Academic Heritage?

Please contact Eline Bos, Academic Heritage Curator