Utrecht professor passes away, leaves over €1 million for students in need

Utrecht professor, Joop van der Maas, passed away in June this year. Utrecht University’s fund for students in need was delighted to hear that they were listed as his only heir. 

Van der Maas passed away on June 2, 2020, and left the Utrecht University Fund as the sole inheritor of his legacy worth over €1 million.

The fund was set up for students who may find themselves unable to pay their university fees due to a change in their life circumstances. This change can be attributed to either financial or emotional problems.

A struggle that he understood

Professor Van der Maas led an interesting life. Having survived the “Watersnoodramp” flooding of 1953, he understood that life can be disrupted in the blink of an eye. For this reason, he left his legacy for students who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Van der Maas did not like to talk about his experience of the flood but Utrecht University writes that it influenced the way he saw his students. “The fear of drowning, shelter and housing with a host family [that he] suffered during the disaster had shaped him to a large extent. As a result, he had an eye for disadvantaged students.” 

The University described Professor Van der Maas as, “a passionate teacher who was keen to share his knowledge and to make students enthusiastic about the profession. Education was never a mandatory number for him.”

He believed that students should be given a chance in spite of their circumstances, saying “you have to give everyone a second chance.”

What do you think of this professor’s story? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Mikael Kristenson/Unsplash

Sarah O'Leary
Sarah O'Leary
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


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