Dutch agricultural minister Jozias van Aartsen will open the university academic year on 1st September. The take-off of the Knowledge Centre Wageningen, the merger between WAU and the DLO institutes for agricultural research, will be the main item in the minister's speech. Wageningen has a new Executive Board and Supervisory Board. The three executive managers, who will give an opening speech as well, are looking for a temporary place of residence outside the WAU and DLO buildings, in order to be able to supervise the merger in an unbiased environment
As the new Board starts, vice-chairman Henk van den Hoofdakker leaves the University. He has worked at WAU for 27 years - first organising academic discussions of general interest, then as head of the Personnel Department, followed by a period as Secretary of the University and finally as member of the board. Van den Hoofdakker is an optimist by nature, but he is disappointed by the continuous cutbacks the University has suffered at the hands of the government during the past years. These measures really kept me awake at night. Although the influence of both government and industry on university policy has increased, the University cannot and should not be consultant to the government and industry, states Van den Hoofdakker. As an optimist he adds that the professors will not be open to this type of dependency anyway
Dutch agriculture is heavily dependent on fertilizers. As a result of these inputs, an environmental overload of nitrogen and phosphates is inevitable, states a report from the Dutch Council for Agricultural Research. Dutch farmers could manage without fertilizers and make use of the manure produced by cattle and pigs without losing productivity, provided they receive more information and instruments to manage the nutrients in the production system more effectively. The use of fertilizer could then be reduced by eighty percent. However, Dutch farmers are still advised to use a lot of fertilizer. This advice is based on outdated and erroneous tests, argues production ecologist Egbert Lantinga
Most Dutch students need to take a job while studying, because they cannot live on the grant from the government any more. But no problem: It's great, says Economics student Jan Pieter de Lugt, who is a bus driver for two days a week. He likes a chat, the pay is OK and he's not interested in watching TV. Puck Knipscheer washes dishes in an old people's home, which was not pleasant during the summer: I lost four litres of sweat in a few hours! But she needs two hundred guilders a month extra to cover her study and living expenses. Christine van der Vorm phoned people for a telemarketing company for three days a week and cleaned toilets. It won't make her rich. I need the money the fill the hole in my pocket.