5 May is coming up, a special day for freedom, a special day for Wageningen, and always a particularly odd day for WUR. This year it falls on a Saturday but when it falls on a weekday, 5 May is the day on which it is suddenly strangely obvious who works for WU and who works for WR.
That is because the staff of Wageningen University get a day off, stipulated in their collective labour agreement (CAO), while staff at Wageningen Research do not.
In a Resource article of 2014, the Executive Board said the organization was aiming at more unity by 2018: ‘Wageningen UR has to become one organization with a common culture.’ Sounds logical enough but the fiscal and legal reality is complicated. Formally, we are two completely separate organizations with their own accounting. Yet at the same time, we share an Executive Board and a Supervisory Board, and most of us work on the same campus. There are historical reasons for this unusual construction, with all its advantages and
disadvantages, but we’re not talking about history now, of course.
In the current construction, a decision has to be made for every patch of ground, every building and every member of staff: is it on the books at WU or at WR? That is not just a lot of work, but it also flies in the face of the idea of one organization. If you ask me, this engagement has gone on long enough. Either we should get married or we should split up. That would make things clear. Then we’d really have One Wageningen. Or perhaps Two Wageningens.