Prize winners stimulate contact with international students

Ideas galore to stimulate contact between Dutch and international students. Three proposals were awarded a prize on 7 November 2013. The winners will be offered a contribution from the Van Bergen Fund to carry out their plans.

Van Bergen Fund prize winners 2013

Learning from each other and from different cultures leads to better understanding and integration. This was the conclusion of the students who saw their ideas realised last year thanks to a contribution from the Van Bergen Fund. The eighteen new initiatives submitted in October 2013 were tested on their originality, the principles of the Van Bergen Fund, and feasibility. In addition, the jury also looked at whether it was possible to eventually extend the initiative. The jury was impressed with the ideas and the quality of the proposals. The three winners were awarded their prize during the symposium ‘Excellence through diversity' on 7 November. 

The winners: Janneke Klop, Rosita Uzunska-Dimitrova, Silke Mooldijk, Lieke Schreel and Christiaan Veldman

The winners: Janneke Klop, Rosita Uzunska-Dimitrova, Silke Mooldijk, Lieke Schreel and Christiaan Veldman

Janneke Klop & Christiaan Veldman/Contrast Leiden: Be Present

Be Present allows Dutch and international students to engage in volunteer work together. Be Present connects students and existing projects and works closely together with the Present Leiden Association. This initiative is advantageous both for the students and for Leiden inhabitants who can use some help. Examples of projects include cleaning up a neglected house, bringing order to a garden run wild, taking the inhabitants of an institution out for the day, quality of life projects on the streets, painting and wall-papering.

Silke Mooldijk & Lieke Schreel: The Dutch Language and Culture Committee

International students who come to the Netherlands generally speak no Dutch and they know very little about the country and the culture. The Dutch Language and Culture Committee (DLCC), an initiative by two students of the Leiden University College The Hague, organises the following activities: 

  • Programme Basic Knowledge of the Dutch language. Weekly training in small groups.

  • Introduction and discussion of Dutch culture as compared to other cultures.

  • The Netherlands ‘in practice’. Excursions to Dutch attractions, visiting various neighbourhoods in Den Haag, getting to know the Dutch traditions.

In the context of the DLCC, international students and Dutch students will be participating in language and/or cultural activities. Members of staff are of course very welcome to join in. What makes this initiative so special is the exchange. Learning from each other and from other cultures. Through the DLCC, the international students get a chance to become acquainted with Dutch students and lecturers. After a while, common activities will also be organised outside the DLCC. The DLCC began three years ago as a small-scale initiative, but it has turned out to be such a success that a more structural approach is required.

Rosita Uzunska-Dimitrova: Creative Writing Class

Rosita has proposed to start a Creative Writing Class (CWC) for international and Dutch students from all study programmes. In these meetings, the students can practice self-expression and improve their English as well as meet new people. The basic idea is that this will also promote understanding and mutual respect. The CWC offers the following advantages:

  • Improving writing skills and knowledge of English

  • Increasing creativity and self-expression

  • Reading and writing beautiful stories

  • Meeting new people

  • Discovering diversity in a friendly atmosphere

  • Discovering similarities and bridging differences

  • Dissolving prejudice by asking questions



The Van Bergen Fund Association aims to promote public interest and to facilitate contact between Dutch and international students to achieve a better understanding of the students’ respective cultures, in preparation for collaboration and cohabitation in future professional and private life.


(8 November 2013)


Jury's Report 2013 Cultural Interaction Initiative Competition

Last Modified: 12-11-2013