University of Applied Sciences

Merger plans of NHL and Stenden in new phase

Thursday 16 February 2017

Participation councils consent to merger

The Executive Boards and participation councils of NHL University of Applied Sciences and Stenden University of Applied Sciences are very happy to announce that both have said yes to the proposed merger of the two universities. This is an important step towards the new university. The merger can only take place once the universities have received the approval of the Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science. The universities expect to hear the decision by the summer of 2017. 

Wilfred van Slooten, Chairman of the NHL Participation Council (PC): "After the PC responded positively last year to the reasons presented for a possible merger, this last year we have had some very constructive meetings with the Executive Board. During these talks there has always been a pleasant atmosphere with a focus on ‘the best for the university while taking into account the various interests'. The PC is happy to see that there is now a merger plan that aims to achieve this goal."

Hans den Dulk, Chairman of the Stenden Central Participation Council (CPC): “We have taken a carefully considered decision to agree to the merger. This is an important step for all of us in Northern Netherlands as well as for all our regional branches abroad. With this result we are able to further build upon a new combined university.”

Willem Smink, President of the NHL Executive Board, responds: “Following an intensive and careful process, a plan for the new university has been delivered that we all fully support. The involvement and enthusiasm among the employees, students and other stakeholders steadily increased during 2016. It was great to see this. We are very pleased that the participation councils have given their consent. We can now proceed.”

“We are delighted that we have all achieved this together,” Leendert Klaassen (President of the Stenden Executive Board ) confirms. Together we have laid the foundation for the new international multi-campus university, with a strong regional anchoring. We are now on the way to the new university in which we will educate innovative and agile students to become inquisitive and inventive professionals.

Combining strengths

The education will be organised on a small scale in clearly arranged study programmes. The branches both at home and abroad will ensure for a regional anchoring with a distinct international character. Through combining strengths, the new university will be better able to meet the demands of knowledge and innovation. The specialist knowledge in the three distinct focus areas of Vital Regions, Smart Sustainable Industries and Service Economy will enable the new university to further develop this role.

The follow-up process

Now that both participation councils have given their consent, the Executive Boards are asking the Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science for approval. The minister is expected to make a decision before the summer of 2017. We will certainly not sit idly in the meantime, but will continue with the preparations regarding the education programme development and the set-up of the new digital and physical university. We are aiming to complete the administrative merger by 1 January 2018, after which we hope to realise an institutional merger by September 2018.