“My answer to that is no”, Van Engelshoven replied to local broadcaster 1Limburg. “We’re just not going to do that anymore.”

In an extreme case, the cabinet may make proof of vaccine or negative tests mandatory for admission. This would mean that students and staff will only be able to enter the campus if they have been vaccinated or tested. Such regulations are already ‘in her back pocket’, the minister said, but she hopes they will not be necessary: “It’s a very tough tool.”

'Get tested'

The minister calls on students to get vaccinated, ‘and if that’s really not possible: get tested’. There are also free self-tests available. “It helps us enormously if as many students as possible take that test twice a week”, she said.

Later, she spoke to a group of attendees at the local Conservatory. She expressed how happy she was that teaching could take place face-to-face again and thanked everyone for their efforts recently.

“Let us continue to work together and do everything we can to hold onto our renewed freedom”, she said, referring to the vaccines, self-tests, and other precautionary measures. Furthermore, she made a case for international cooperation in education and science.


And the cultural sector, where the performing students will end up? It is ‘truly painful’ how hard the sector is being hit, the minister said, and amongst them especially the self-employed. But she believes to have done her best to let them share in the billions in support measures, she added.

Despite that support, Van Engelshoven said, the government cannot ease all the pain. Moreover, the crisis revealed structural problems, she said, and the next cabinet should do something with all the advice and analyses that are now available. “I sincerely hope they will rise to the challenge.”