Witteveen memorial (2015, photography)
Montesquieu and Dante Building
Willem Witteveen (1952-2014) was Professor of Encyclopedia of Law and spiritual father and founding dean of the Liberal arts and sciences program (now University College). He was also a member of the Dutch Senate. Witteveen, together with his wife Lidwien Heerkens (a former Tilburg University employee) and their daughter Marit (a student at Tilburg), died in the MH17 air disaster in Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
Witteveen had been a professor at Tilburg Law School since 1990, with his last course assignment being Legal Theory and Rhetoric. He was—according to the in memoriam written by Professors Anne Meuwese and Corien Prins—"determined to help the next generation with the balancing act needed to safeguard the democratic rule of law in practice. The power of philosophy and literature as practical sources of inspiration and responsibility for future generations were paramount. In doing so, he wielded a pen that was incredibly powerful and sensitive. His writings were therefore full of literary and artistic metaphors, such as the apt 'house of the rule of law'."
In 2015, as a memorial, a photographic monument was unveiled at two locations on campus created by the Photographer of the Nation Ilvy Njiokiktjien. She had made a photo series of rooms or workplaces of deceased people at the request of The New York Times. Images—you could say—of the great void that remains. For Tilburg University, she made additional images of Willem Witteveen’s two rooms in Montesquieu and Dante Buildings. Njiokiktjien's two series include book covers, papers with notes, his desk, and an empty coat hanger. They have been given a permanent place, in two memorials, as a perpetual tribute to a man of great significance to the university, Willem Witteveen.
In 2020, the university received from his son a series of drawings and paintings, some of which are included in the institution's internal art library.
More about history and academic heritage
The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.