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Internet pioneer Marleen Stikker receives VU honorary doctorate

12 November 2021
On the 141st Dies Natalis of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Marleen Stikker received her honorary doctorate. The degree was awarded by honorary supervisor and Vrije Universiteit professor Piek Vossen (Computational Lexicology).

Marleen was then addressed by VU professor and dean Susan LegĂȘne (Humanities), who spoke the text by Mayor Femke Halsema. The mayor of Amsterdam was unfortunately absent due to the flu.

Since the beginning of the Internet, Stikker has devoted herself to bringing technology and society together in a responsible manner and was one of the founders of De Digitale Stad, XS4ALL, Creative Commons and Fablab Amsterdam. Her initiatives show how technology can be fair, sustainable and shareable. VU president Mirjam van Praag announced the award during the Opening Academic Year. The honorary doctorate will be awarded to Stikker during the Dies Natalis on 11 November.

The Faculty of Humanities of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has nominated Marleen Stikker for the honorary doctorate. Humanities, with their focus on language, history, philosophy, art and creativity, play an important role in the dynamics of the Internet. This ranges from skills such as computational thinking and understanding how technology affects communication to philosophical understanding of virtual worlds; from developments in historical awareness through access to big data to new art. In its education and research, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam propagates that the humanities perspective is indispensable in exact research. Marleen Stikker's work and the institutional embedding it has acquired in Waag, places her precisely at this intersection of disciplines.

Future Lab
In 1994, Marleen Stikker (1962) founded De Digitale Stad together with Caroline Nevejan, from which Waag emerged. Waag has grown into a leading European research institute for technology and society, and encourages active citizenship by developing open, honest and inclusive technology. Since 1 January 2021, Waag is part of the basic infrastructure of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, as a Future Lab for technology and society. Since 2007, the Amsterdam Fablab has been part of Waag. Fablab is a place for innovation, hackathons, making and creating. It facilitates creative minds in a historical environment. In her 2019 book 'The Internet is broken (but we can fix it)', Stikker shows how we can regain control of our digital society and shape it according to our norms and values. Earlier this year, Stikker was appointed Professor of Practice at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam.