Executive Board asks committee for advice on names on campus

Who or what are the streets, buildings and rooms on the Radboud University campus named after? What are the principles underlying this and what criteria should the university use in this context? Currently, there are no agreements on this. The Executive Board aims to clarify this in 2024. In preparation, the Board will seek advice from a committee.

This is in response to questions from staff members and the Shaky pedestals report of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) that was presented on 23 October this year.

The committee will be formed in the first quarter of 2024, and consist of experts from academia, students, and support staff. Committee members will be asked to involve a broad section of the academic community, for example by organising one or more open sessions.

Beel room

Pending the committee's advice, the Executive Board has decided for now to return the Beel room in Huize Heyendael to its former name, ‘The Salon’, as of January 2024. In doing so, the Board wants to make room for the broader discussion on names. In 2002, four rooms in Huize Heyendael were named after the four former students of Nijmegen University who went on to become ministers of the Netherlands. Aside from Louis Beel, they are Dries van Agt, Victor Marijnen, and Jo Cals. Achieving this kind of position resonated with one of the core foundation principles of the university: to contribute to the emancipation of the Catholic population.


Since 2021, a number of staff members have objected to the name of the Beel room because of Louis Beel's role in the violence and war in Indonesia after the Second World War. The Executive Board engaged in dialogue with staff members, and consulted various experts.

Due to the severity and extent of the violence, as established by NIOD, and the role played by Louis Beel, as described in the NIOD report presented on 3 October and entitled Languages of violence, the Executive Board has decided, pending the committee's opinion, to change the room's name for the time being. Languages of Violence concludes: “Political leaders remained passive in full view of and with full responsibility for norm-breaking violence by their own troops, including war crimes.”

Louis Beel

Louis Beel studied Dutch Law at the Catholic University in Nijmegen (now Radboud University) from 1924 to 1928. He received his PhD from this university in 1935 and held a chair in Administrative Law and Public Administration there from 1948 to 1951. He was then curator of Nijmegen University from 1956 to 1965. Louis Beel was Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1946 to 1948, and from 1958 to 1959. During the Second World War, Beel resigned as a civil servant in the Eindhoven municipality in protest against the appointment as mayor of an NSB officer, under whom he did not wish to serve. Following the German occupation, he made a major contribution to the recovery of the Netherlands as a politician and administrator. From 1948 to 1949, as High Representative of the Crown, he was the highest authority in the Dutch East Indies.In that position, and before that as prime minister, he bore political and administrative responsibility for the war against the Republic of Indonesia, which was at the time referred to by the Netherlands as ‘police actions’. In recent years, there has been

more attention to and recognition of the violence that was systematically used in the process by the Dutch troops, under the responsibility and with the full knowledge of Louis Beel, as apparent from the NIOD research study Languages of Violence (2023).


In the Grotius Building, next to the painting of the four prime ministers, all of whom studied law in Nijmegen, the Faculty of Law will display a text similar to that above for information purposes.

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