Some academics are experiencing a ‘glass ceiling’ at Dutch universities due to their political beliefs, MP Pieter Duisenberg, who represents the Liberal Party (VVD), recently said in a debate with Minister for Education Jet Bussemaker (PvdA). Duisenberg advocated a study investigating political preferences at Dutch universities.

Bussemaker said she is not having any of it. “I have not read any studies suggesting that right-wing academics are given fewer opportunities at universities,” she declared last Tuesday in an interview with HOP. “It is my impression that academics’ political preferences are quite diverse, but even so, the government should not get involved in that.”


Duisenberg then promoted a motion, which was passed on Tuesday by MPs representing PVV, CDA, SGP and a few smaller parties. The government will have to request that KNAW issue a “well-considered opinion and recommendation” on this subject.

The idea is that free speech must always be allowed to flourish “within the scope of the scientific quest for truth”. Duisenberg referred to discussions in other countries about “homogeneity, self-censorship and the lack of diversity in academia”. He was probably referring to discussions held in the USA, where conservative academics are said to have a hard time getting a foothold in universities.