Academic Forum

Expand your horizons, take time to reflect

About Academic Forum

Academic Forum is the place for exchanging and closely studying current topics that matter in science, society and people's lives. Basic premise: the university is more than a place where academic knowledge and skills are developed. Academic training entails more than just a transfer of knowledge. Preparing young people for responsible positions in society is at least as important: giving them an eye for the public good and a sense of who they are and what they stand for.


What does such a basic premise entail? An independent and interdisciplinary look at current social issues. A look that leads to a deeper understanding of the world and man's relationship to the world. Fostering talents across the board. And providing ample scope for an encounter of different cultures and religions, for reflection and for contemplating life.


Academic Forum organizes symposia, debates and small-scale exchanges focusing on scientific, social and ideological issues. Not only are we active on campus, we also promote the academic climate in the city and exploit knowledge and expertise in the region.

Are you curious about the full program? Then why not have a look at our calendar .


Although our activities are aimed at students in particular, university staff and other interested parties are more than welcome to join in. Do you have an idea or would you like to collaborate with us? Then please tell us by clicking here

Academic Forum collaborates with:

Image Academic Forum interne partners Image Academic Forum studentenpartners Image Academic Forum externe partners


Advisory Board

Academic Forum is guided bij an Advisory Board at Tilburg University.
Contact: tel +31 (0)13 - 466 3217,

The Advisory Board on the importance of Academic Forum >>

Following the latest reorganization, the Advisory Board of Academic Forum states the following (December 2015):

1. There is a place at every Dutch university where academic debate takes place in an independent fashion, where lectures are held for students and people from outside the university, where distinguished and renowned speakers can be offered a platform, where burning issues and dissenting opinions are held up to the light of academic scrutiny, where current affairs can mobilize the university, where the university community finds expression in substantive engagement with societal developments. In short, a place where the engaged student is a citizen, and the engaged citizen in turn can be a student again. Besides this, Academic Forum is the doorway through which Tilburg organizations can make their issues known to the university, a platform aimed at stimulating students’ interests in art and culture and helping them reflect on their own lives, their aspirations, and their possibilities. The Advisory Board of Academic Form emphatically underlines the importance of Academic Forum for Tilburg University.

2. In the Higher Education and Research Act (Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs) it has been laid down that a university education, in addition to offering education in a strict sense in a specific discipline, also involves furthering ‘insight into the interrelatedness of sciences’, and attention being paid to ‘personal development and promoting the sense of social responsibility’.

Academic education is thus not solely about the transfer of knowledge, but also about Bildung: students should be given the opportunity to develop into full-fledged, engaged citizens, as was also emphasized only recently by our current Minister of Education.

3. In the years after the war, Dutch universities founded a Studium Generale, to broaden the general knowledge of students, staff, and others who were interested, through freely accessible programs in the fields of culture, technology, society, and science. In 2011, the Tilburg Studium Generale merged with the Center for Science and Values (Centrum voor Wetenschap en Levensbeschouwing (CWL)) under the new name of Academic Forum, with activities covering four domains: Ethics of Science, Reflection on Life, Science & Society and Cultural Diversity.

4. In the spirit of this statutory task, Academic Forum is explicitly concerned with providing additional interdisciplinary education to students who, in spite of their overfull regular educational programs, nevertheless want to also engage in activities not immediately linked to their programs.

The Advisory Board ascertains that to be able to offer a fitting program in this regard, it is essential to be quick and flexible in anticipating students and lecturers’ needs and wishes in order to get a good fit between the students’ programs and their interests and the activities offered, such as such as symposia, lectures, and workshops.

5. In realizing this, Academic Forum cannot do without the active input and participation of students themselves. Regular contact with study- and student associations is important for good cooperation and for reaching the target group. In many cases, the associations consider Academic Forum the ideal partner for organizing their activities, both content-wise and in terms of facilities. Academic Forum in turn, from its own expertise and awareness of what is going on in society, can seek to connect to these partners to create support for its programs and to mobilize the members of the associations.

6. Academic Forum not only works together with students, but seeks and finds connections with many parties within the university. It is part of a network organization, in which it can connect to others fast and effectively in organizing activities. To work productively in this network as a kind of ‘broker’ it is of paramount importance to be positioned in such a way within the organization that there is immediate access to scientists and scholars of the university. For all these reasons, the Advisory Board considers it important that Academic Forum be embedded in the organization of Tilburg University in a way that makes it possible for it to continue to operate independently also in the future.

7. Academic Forum fits very well into the new Tilburg Educational Profile, in which the importance of extra-curricular activities is stressed even more and in which the suggestion is made to link these to components of the educational programs. The Schools and the institutes are also increasingly interested in programs that to go beyond individual disciplines. Together with the activities organized by study associations, Academic Forum offers the platform for external speakers as a supplement to the expertise available at the university itself. In terms of its future development, an enticing prospect for Academic Forum is to further expand its contacts with the Schools and compiling interdisciplinary programs. That is why the Advisory Board considers it of prime importance that the positioning of Academic Forum in the internal organization of the services within Tilburg University be such that contacts with the Schools in the field of education can take place as simply and smoothly as possible.

Thus, the Advisory Board (2015): Prof. Erik Borgman, chairman  (TSH), Prof. Sylvester Eijffinger (TiSEM/Tiburg University Society), Prof. Lex Meijdam (TiSEM), Prof. Corien Prins (TLS), Prof. Conny Rijken LLM (TLS, Drs. Pieter Siebers (City of Tilburg), Mark van Wijgerden (St. Olof) & Evert Hoogsteen (Asset).

Members Advisory Board 2017-2018 >>

Prof. dr. Peter Achterberg, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Prof. dr. Eric Borgman (chairman Advisory Board), Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences

Prof. dr. Geert Duijsters, dean Tilburg School of Economics and Management

Prof. dr. Sylvester Eijffinger, Tilburg School of Economics and Management / Tilburg University Society

Prof. dr. Odile Heynders, Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences

Prof. Conny Rijken, Tilburg Law School / Intervict Jantine Schuit, dean Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Drs. Pieter Siebers, Executive Support

Prof. dr. Geert Vervaeke, dean Tilburg Law School

prof. dr. Theo de Wit, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology

Student members:

Lasse Blazejewski, chairman study association Asset Tilburg

Daan Clercx, h.t. Praeses Senatus Tilburg Studenten Corps St. Olof