Radboudians receive Royal Distinctions

On the occasion of King's Day this year, seven employees of Radboud University and Radboud university medical center will receive a royal distinction for their exceptional academic and/or social achievements. The distinctions will be presented on campus, on Friday 26 April, by Mayor Hubert Bruls.

They will go to the following persons:

  • Marcel Olde Rikkert, medical specialist and Professor of Clinical Geriatrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences
    Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Nicole Blijlevens, Professor of Haematology and internist haematologist, Faculty of Medical Sciences
    Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Frits Vaandrager, Professor of Informatics for Technical Applications, Faculty of Science
    Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Gerard van der Velde, researcher, Faculty of Science
    Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Noëlle Aarts, Professor of Socio-Ecological Interactions, Faculty of Science
    Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Vincent Hunink, Assistant Professor of Early Christian Greek and Latin, Faculty of Arts
    Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Ashley Terlouw, Professor of Sociology of Law, Faculty of Law
    Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau

The Order of Orange-Nassau is awarded for exceptional services to society. The Order of the Netherlands Lion is awarded for services to the sciences and the arts.

Marcel Olde Rikkert with his royal distinction

Marcel Olde Rikkert

Marcel Olde Rikkert is Professor of Clinical Geriatrics, Principal Investigator and Principal Lecturer, and he was head of the Department of Geriatrics until 2020. Since 2020, he has worked part-time as editor-in-chief of the Netherlands Journal of Medicine while remaining active in healthcare, education, and research. In his clinical work, he focuses on appropriate care for vulnerable elderly people, giving them full agency over the process. This applies to elderly people with and without cognitive impairment.
In 2003, he founded the Radboudumc Alzheimer Center, which he leads to this day. In 2008, he also established the Innovation Network 100, a partnership of healthcare institutions, professionals, knowledge organisations and elderly people, with the aim of using scientific evidence to coordinate and fine-tune medical care and the promotion of well-being (e.g. combating loneliness) for vulnerable elderly people. In line with this, he also founded DementiaNet, an even larger network focused on initial intensive care through primary care. Finally, he has made a significant contribution as chairman of the Commissie Herziening Richtlijn Dementie (Committee for the Review of the Dementia Directive) for medical specialists.

Nicole Blijlevens

Nicole Blijlevens

Nicole Blijlevens is Head of the Haematology Department and medical director of the Radboudumc Hemophilia Treatment Center. She is also responsible for the haemato-oncology chain within the Radboudumc Centre for Oncology. She is especially known for her strong innovative power in haematology and her pioneering role in this field in the Netherlands and abroad. In this context, she offers patients new treatments that improve their quality of life. This also makes Blijlevens a figurehead of person-centred care and the widely appreciated CMylife, a platform for patients suffering from haematological diseases, parties involved, and healthcare providers. In line with her vision, she has taken on the role of ambassador of the ‘Human Dimension’ programme at Radboud university medical center. In addition to her work in patient care, Blijlevens is also strongly committed to education.
She is also a Principal Investigator at Radboud university medical center and a member of several international scientific associations.

Frits Vaandrager with his royal distinction

Frits Vaandrager

Frits Vaandrager is Professor of Informatics for Technical Applications at the Faculty of Science. He is awarded this distinction for the fundamental breakthroughs he achieved in his field: informatics for technical applications. With these breakthroughs, he had a major impact on the industry sector, making it more reliable and efficient. He has also been an advocate and initiator of diversity and inclusion in science, and especially in computer science, for decades. Finally, he introduced a clear and workable policy on Research Data Management at the Faculty of Science, making Radboud University an international pioneer in FAIR data management. This policy focuses on making data publicly available so that third parties can verify research results.

Gerard van der Velde with his royal distinction

Gerard van der Velde

Gerard van der Velde is a researcher at the Faculty of Science. Throughout his career, he has had a major scientific and societal impact. He has published hundreds of scientific articles and reports, mainly in the field of aquatic ecology. Despite retiring in 2011, he continues to be active as a scientist, contribute to national policy on invasive exotic species, and supervise PhD candidates. Van der Velde's scientific work is of great significance in the Netherlands and abroad. He was one of the principal investigators of the effects of the Sandoz disaster on the Rhine, has been involved in organising national and international conferences for decades, has led a number of international expeditions, and was the editor of several Dutch and international journals. He also volunteered with a variety of organisations, including NMV, diving association ‘De Bevers’, Museum de Bastei, and Naturalis.

Noëlle Aarts with her royal distinction

Noëlle Aarts

Noëlle Aarts is Professor of Socio-Ecological Interactions at the Faculty of Science. She is a scholar with an amazing scientific track record, who manages to combine her work as a scientist with a clear presence in current societal debates. In numerous scientific publications, she has examined the relationship between various stakeholders in complex situations where the role of scientific knowledge is contested, focusing on frame construction. She has also conducted extensive research on how to address ambiguities and paradoxes and set up large interdisciplinary projects around themes such as regional innovation and ‘healthy landscapes’, based on a strong interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. Examples of this are the Dutch National Research Agenda projects ‘Ooijpolder Living Lab: Scaling up a successful socio-ecological experiment for biodiversity restoration’ and ‘Solving Conflicts: Conversations in conflict management and resolution in nature-inclusive initiatives’. Her research is widely propagated not only within academia but also in societal debates, in which she herself plays an active role (recent examples include the significance of farmers' protests in the nitrogen debate and the role of ‘scientific numbers’).

Aarts also has internationally recognised expertise in the field of strategic communication and is prominently active and present in the current academic and societal reflection on science communication, as the organiser of conferences in this field. In addition to these extensive scientific activities and her strong presence in societal debates, Aarts is engaged in numerous ancillary activities that further strengthen the impact of her knowledge. For example, she is a member of the Board of the Rathenau Institute (an organisation that works on issues at the intersection of science, technology and society and informs politicians, policymakers, and the general public about these issues). Her administrative qualities have also greatly benefited the Institute for Science in Society, where she has been Director of Research since 2018.

Vincent Hunink with his royal distinction

Vincent Hunink

Vincent Hunink is an internationally recognised researcher and Assistant Professor of Early Christian Greek and Latin at the Faculty of Arts. He is awarded the distinction for his unprecedented and tireless efforts to make classical culture accessible to a wide audience. Bridging the gap between science and society is especially important in a subject such as classical languages and history. Indeed, classical history has shaped society and had a profound influence on today's culture, legal system, political systems and contemporary ideas about the organisation of society. Hunink ensures that important knowledge about the past, which is indispensable for understanding how contemporary society was shaped, is made accessible to a wide audience, young and old, in an effective and playful way.

His greatest achievement, and the reason why he particularly deserves a royal distinction, are his many translations of Latin literature, completed partly within his appointment as assistant professor, but largely also in his spare time. In addition, Hunink has contributed to writing dozens of exams for secondary school pupils, he has been a member of numerous editorial boards of magazines for translating and writing about classical culture, and he is selflessly committed to helping young translators through his Carptim foundation. He also contributes in other ways to making ancient culture accessible to a wide audience, particularly through his many ancillary activities, which also greatly serve academia by helping to bridge the gap between science and society. In 2020, he won the Faculty of Arts' Education Award.

Ashley Terlouw with her royal distinction and Mayor Renske Helmer-Englebert of Wijchen

Ashley Terlouw

Ashley Terlouw is a socially engaged Professor of Sociology of Law at the Faculty of Law. Her mission is to use academic knowledge to create a more just society. Terlouw always tries to translate her research into practice. An important recent example of this is her involvement in the reflection of the Dutch courts in the aftermath of the Childcare Benefits Scandal. For decades, she has been committed to putting issues such as discrimination, racism and immigration law high on everyone's agenda and pursuing equality for all. She has done so through her research, ancillary activities and publications. Terlouw is extremely engaged, without ever compromising her academic integrity. Her work is considered to be of great social importance, having played a central role in the development and practice of combating racial discrimination through legal means for many years. Terlouw is considered a highly authoritative expert on anti-discrimination law in the Netherlands, partly thanks to her publications in Dutch and international professional journals, 
but also because of her commitment to the proper functioning of the judiciary in immigration cases and the legal protection of citizens against the government in general.

Her ancillary activities testify to the time and energy she dedicates to others: Chair of the Meijers Committee (2020), Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Public Interest Litigation Project Foundation (2022), Chair of the Research Centre for State and Law (2020), Chair of the editorial board of Vox (2019), Chair of the Radboud Network of Women Professors (2022), member of the Montaigne Centre Advisory Board (research centre for justice and conflict resolution, Utrecht University) and member of the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism.