News - December 16, 2010


Occasionally I'm visited by a niggling urge to write about Aalt Dijkhuizen. 'Let's tackle that ridiculously high salary.' I feel faintly uneasy at the thought. I don't actually labour under the illusion that I can change anything about his salary, but still, I do feel I have responsibilities here.

In spite of this I have never yet raised the issue. You see, I don't believe that the great leader of Wageningen UR excites the slightest interest among our students.
I rarely hear Dijkhuizen being discussed and have never spotted the man with his penetrating look and slightly over-sized sports jacket on anyone's desktop background. Or, let's put it differently, our Aalt has no more than 21 Facebook friends. Added to which Aalt and I are fellow sufferers. Last week featured a report which made an even bigger fuss about my salary than about the three hundred thousand euro salary of our great chief.
Somehow I also have a lot of respect for this shrewd reorganizer. Let's face it: we've never had such a big number of students; we have never made it so high up the international league tables, and unlikely as it may seem, even this government thinks we are important. His salary may have played a crucial role here. For if the boss earns such a packet, then he's sure to have no left-wing hobbies any more.
Deep down I'm a fan of Aalt's. And we're acquaintances, too. Well, I interviewed him once. Oh! Such a powerful presence: committed, clear-headed, direct, and a Wageningen alumnus himself, too. I think the world of him. Whereas I really have to do my utmost to coax a strong statement out of other directors, Aalt happily and quite voluntarily delivers his opinions. With regard to the Larenstein estate he pointed to the responsibilities of alumni. 'In the States a wealthy alumnus would have stepped in long ago to save that estate of yours.' I agree with him. This is the moment when we at Wageningen Ur, facing such chilling cuts in such a difficult year, must appeal to our alumni. Hmm, wealthy alumni. Do you know anybody, Aalt?