News and events Tilburg University

Dies Natalis about Interdisciplinarity: ‘Go Beyond Borders’

Published: 06th November 2018 Last updated: 30th April 2019

Press release 6-11-2018 - The theme of the 91st Dies Natalis, Tilburg University’s anniversary, is interdisciplinarity. During the academic ceremony, which will take place in the university’s Auditorium on November 15, honorary doctorates will be awarded to the American Nobel Prize winner and economist Lars Hansen and the American language and computer specialist Julia Hirschberg.

Our society is facing complex problems, for instance, the climate crisis, income inequality, economic crises, mass migration, and the processing of big data. This complexity could benefit from close cooperation among the different disciplines, both in science and in practice. In their presentations, Rector Magnificus Professor Emile Aarts, Professor of Labor Market Studies Ton Wilthagen, and Professor of Theology Erik Borgman will show how interdisciplinarity, bringing together approaches from different disciplines, can provide added value.

Subsequently, the honorary doctorates will be presented. Nobel Prize winner Lars Hansen ((University of Chicago, Chicago) will talk about connections between the financial sector and macro-economics. Professor Julia Hirschberg (Columbia University, New York), noted for her research on computational linguistics and natural language processing, will also receive an honorary doctorate.

The theme of interdisciplinarity will also be explored in the form of a musical composition, written especially for our university. Listen to a preview of the musical composition here:


The PhD Award, carrying sculpture and a monetary prize will also be presented by the Rector.

Note to editors

The Dies Natalis will take place in the Auditorium in Cobbenhagen Building, Warandealaan 2, from 15:30 to 17:00 hrs. Registration is required: please contact spokesperson Tineke Bennema, by e-mail ( or phone, 06 – 1967 8521. Requests for interviews with the speakers can also be addressed to the spokesperson. There will be a reception in the foyer of Cobbenhagen Building after the ceremony.