While on a three-day state visit to Canada at the end of May, the king and queen of the Netherlands unveiled the new Liberation Scholarship Program that will provide 70 scholarships to Canadians to study at Dutch universities. The one-time scholarships are being offered for the 2015-16 academic year.
The first six recipients were presented with their awards on May 27 by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima during a visit to the University of Waterloo. The scholarships are named in recognition of the 70th anniversary of Canada’s participation in the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
King Willem-Alexander acknowledged the special relationship between the two countries at a state dinner the evening before. “There are few countries in the world where the bonds of friendship with the Netherlands are as pronounced as here,” he told guests at the banquet at Rideau Hall. That bond has a personal dimension for the king: his aunt Margriet was born in Ottawa in 1943, as his mother – the future Queen Beatrix – and grandmother took refuge in Canada during the war.
Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada (formerly the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada), applauded the scholarship program. “We commend the Netherlands for their commitment to fostering international partnerships and for their investment in Canadian students,” said Mr. Davidson. “Canada’s universities are proud to be at the forefront of the historic relationship between Canada and the Netherlands.”
The Dutch king and queen were accompanied on the trip by a delegation of more than 30 Dutch university leaders who attended events at six different Canadian campuses aimed at fostering greater research and academic collaboration. For example, the Dutch royal couple were on hand to witness the signing of memorandum of understanding between U of Waterloo and Delft University of Technology that will allow for exchange opportunities for students, staff and researchers in the field of quantum computing.
The agreement “positions both Waterloo and Delft to accelerate progress in quantum information research while exposing our students and researchers to diverse experiences that will position them to lead the new world economy,” said U of Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur.