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New exhibition: Choose your partners (2023)

30 August 2023
The construction of knowledge always occurs in collaboration with others. Such collaborations take place not only between students and colleagues, but also between the university and institutions in the Netherlands and abroad. The new exhibition 'Choose your partners' tells the stories of international collaborations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, from 1880 to the present.

The exhibition features a variety of objects, archival documents and maps from the Special Collections of the University Library. These objects illustrate how internationalization at VU developed. Old letters and corporate gifts show how, in the early days, VU's founders were friendly with other Calvinist institutions in the U.S. and South Africa. Several posters show how VU broadened its horizons around 1960 and how the university actively engaged in development aid outside the Western world. Several articles from Ad Valvas provide a glimpse into the growing interest in global issues, as well as the discussions that have arisen in recent years regarding the internationalization of education at VU.

In addition, special attention is given to the special, but also complex history between VU, Indonesia and South Africa. The division of Research Intelligence and Impact at the University Library has designed an interactive map that visualises the collaborations between VU scientists and scientists from other institutions from 2000 to the present.

Visit the exhibition in the Heritage Display in front of the main entrance to the University Library to discover these and many other stories. The exhibition runs from August 22 to November 21.

Do you possess a special item, like a diary you kept during an exchange, a specimen you collected during fieldwork abroad, or a snow globe that is filled with memories from a study visit? Share your personal international experiences with the VU community by featuring your own special object in the exhibit for two weeks!

Send an e-mail with a photo of your object and the backstory to our curator of Academic Heritage Eline Bos ( Your story contributes to the message that internationalization is an ongoing process involving everyone at VU Amsterdam.

Questions about the collection Academic Heritage?

Please contact Eline Bos, Academic Heritage Curator