In response to questions in the Dutch House of Representatives, Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven suggested that universities and universities of applied sciences could consider organising education activities over the weekend to make up for Covid-related delays in their curricula.  At present, these institutions have to plan their activities within relatively tight time slots, as the Cabinet wants to discourage students from travelling during rush hours. Lectures need to be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and after 8 p.m.  This is intended to lighten the load for public transport companies, which face reduced capacity as a consequence of the Covid crisis.

But according to an EUR spokesperson, Erasmus University won’t be considering extra lectures over the weekend: “As far as our education programme is concerned, staff will only be teaching during the normal working week – in principle, this does not include weekends. Our lecturers have worked very hard over the past few months, and various studies also show that they are experiencing increased pressure of work. As a university, we wish to promote a healthy work-life balance.”

However, examinations will occasionally be organised on Saturdays – but this was also the case before the Covid outbreak.


Last Thursday, Van Engelshoven explained during her House appearance that in principle, she sees weekend and evening education as undesirable.  “It’s a last resort. But if institutions – following consultation with their lecturers and students – would like to explore this option, we won’t be standing in their way.”

The rectors of the Netherlands’ universities recently expressed their concerns about the restrictions on education hours in a joint opinion piece: “Students’ personal development and character building are the foundations of academic education. We are consequently concerned that if we are unable to quickly return to this crucial, face-to-face interaction, a generation of students will be left by the wayside.”