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Japanese Ambassador visits VU Amsterdam and awards VU student

16 December 2022
On Thursday 15 December, H.E. Mr. Hidehisa Horinouchi, Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands, visited VU Amsterdam to award the prize for the NL Japan National Essay Contest for Students.

In the Atrium of the MF building, researchers, students and guests of the Dutch and Japanese Trade Federation (DUJAT) interested in Japan-VU relations and collaborations gathered to exchange and learn more about each other’s endeavours. Among them were the three nominated students who had sent in their essays for the Essay Contest. The theme of the essays had to be Energy transition in the Netherlands and Japan: how to benefit from each other through cooperation. The contest was open to students from all Dutch universities and therefore there were a lot of entries.

In the end, a Jury with (among others) Ambassador Horinouchi, Rector Magnificus Jeroen Geurts and Mayor Jan Van Zanen (The Hague), selected three nominees from a plethora of entries: two students from VU Amsterdam and one student from Leiden University. In the end, the Jury found the essay from Annabel Melhuish, VU Amsterdam Master's student in Environment and Resource Management, the most compelling and persuasive. Jury chair Van Zanen motivated the decision: “The detailed essay from Ms. Melhuish went into great depth regarding the theme. It was very well-constructed and persuasive, reflecting serious research and creative thinking on a difficult, complex subject. We praise this essay for its recognition of historical background and both countries’ interests.”

In effort to further strengthen future relations between the Netherlands and Japan, the winning student – Annabel Melhuish - was awarded a trip to Japan. Melhuish was very surprised by the Jury’s praise, but very content with the result: “Thank you so much for the incredible opportunity to be able to learn about  bothJapanese and Dutch culture. I am actually an Australian student here, so for me it was eye-opening to learn about the two cultures at the same time. I thought it was really exciting to learn about what both countries can contribute to the sector.”

H.E. Mr. Horinouchi emphasized the importance of cooperation between Japanese and Dutch universities: "The Japanese and Dutch have had a relationship for hundreds of years. During this time, our countries have learned a lot and benefited from exchanging goods, intelligence and friendship. I therefore warmly welcome VU's intention to seek more cooperation with Japanese researchers and vice versa."

You can read the winning essays on the Dujat website:
1st place - Annabel Melhuish, VU Amsterdam
2nd place - Matthijs Hoek, VU Amsterdam
3rd place - Suzanne Beckman, Leiden University