When the decision was made that certain buildings were to be given proper names, each of EUR’s faculties submitted the names of three people who had made a great contribution to their particular academic discipline. This resulted in a 27-name shortlist. “In the end, the buildings were named after prominent EUR professors and members of staff,” says Roman Koot, the university’s heritage custodian. “In addition, several buildings were named after Rotterdammers whose intellectual legacy is important to the university, such as Desiderius Erasmus and Pierre Bayle.”
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Eye for diversity
Most buildings were named after Western men, so Koot admits that the campus is a little short on diversity in that regard. There is one building on campus that was named after a woman: the Van der Goot Building. “Willemijn van der Goot was awarded a doctorate by the Netherlands School of Commerce, EUR’s predecessor, in 1930, and was the first female PhD-student in economics in the Netherlands,” says Koot.
The only building named after a non-Westerner is the Hatta Building. Mohammad Hatta was a student attending the Netherlands School of Commerce. He was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia. Koot says it is kind of a big deal that EUR chose to honour Hatta in this way, as he fought the Dutch colonists in what was then the Dutch East Indies. He served as a high-ranking politician for many years after Indonesia gained its independence, among other things, as Indonesia’s Prime Minister. “So it’s only right that EUR is proud of its former economics student,” says Koot.
The campus will soon be expanded with a new building (whose current working title is ‘Polak II’). The university is busy trying to decide on an actual name for the building, says Koot, but he himself has no idea yet what it is going to be. “From a diversity point of view, it would be great if the building were to be named after a woman, preferably from a non-Dutch background.”
From independence fighter to Nobel laureate
These are the people after whom nine buildings on campus Woudestein were named:
Bayle Building (also known as the J-Building)
Pierre Bayle (1647–1706) was one of the major philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. He was a French Protestant who fled to Rotterdam in 1681 because he was being persecuted for his faith in France.
Erasmus Building (A-Building)
When Erasmus University was founded in 1973, it was the first university in the Netherlands to be named after a person. Desiderius Erasmus was born in Rotterdam in 1466. He is considered a major scholar of humanism and theology.
The Executive Board has its office in the Erasmus Building. The Aula (auditorium) and the Erasmus Gallery are located inside the building as well.
Van der Goot Building (M-Building)
Willemijn van der Goot (1897–1989) attended the Netherlands School of Commerce, EUR’s predecessor, between 1919 and 1926. In 1930 she became the first woman to be awarded a doctorate by the school. She was the first female PhD candidate in the Netherlands to write a dissertation on a subject related to economics. In 1935 Van der Goot was one of the three female founders of the International Archive for the Women’s Movement. Her best-known publication is a book edited by her and Anna de Waal, entitled Van moeder op dochter, het aandeel van de vrouw in een veranderende wereld (‘Passed on from mother to daughter: women’s contribution to a changing world’), a classic detailing of the history of the women’s movement in the Netherlands in the twentieth century.
The building has large lecture theatres which are often used for examination purposes.
Hatta Building (U-Building)
Mohammad Hatta (1902–1980) attended the Netherlands School of Commerce between 1921 and 1932. During his studies in Rotterdam he was the chairman of the association of Indonesian students in the Netherlands, a progressive, nationalist group who wanted Indonesia to break free from its coloniser, the Netherlands. Hatta was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia. With Sukarno, he declared Indonesian independence on 17 August 1945.
Mandeville Building (T-Building)
Bernard Mandeville (1670–1733) attended lectures by Pierre Bayle in Rotterdam, at the École Illustre. He studied philosophy and medicine at Leiden University. In 1691 he moved to London, where he became a famous doctor. Mandeville was a prolific writer, who wrote on such subjects as psychiatric disorders and slavery, which he felt should be abolished.
The Rotterdam School of Management is located inside the building, as is the Erasmus Sustainability Hub.
Polak Building (Y-Building)
Nico Polak (1887–1948) was a student, PhD student and professor at the Netherlands School of Commerce and the Netherlands School of Economics, EUR’s two predecessors. In 1913 he was among the first students to enrol in the new university. He obtained his doctorate in 1921 and the next year he was appointed Professor of Business Studies, a subject that later came to be known as business economics. Thanks to Polak, the subject became a fully fledged part of the science of economics.
The Polak Building has lecture theatres and study spots for students. Furthermore, the Community for Learning and Innovation (CLI) has its offices in this building.
Sanders Building (L-Building)
Piet Sanders (1912–2012) was appointed Professor of Civil Law and International Private Law at the Netherlands School of Economics in 1959. One of his tasks was to prepare the establishment of a faculty of law (which is now called the Erasmus School of Law). Sanders was the faculty’s first dean and stayed at the faculty until he retired from academia in 1981.
The Erasmus School of Law is located in this building.
Theil Building (C-Building)
Henri Theil (1924–2000) was appointed Professor of Econometrics at the Netherlands School of Economics in 1953. In 1956 he founded the Econometrics Institute and also served as its first director. Theil wrote a large number of books and articles. Three of his books became ‘citation classics’ as judged by the standards of the Social Sciences Citation Index. He is also known for his measure of income inequality: the Theil index.
Tinbergen Building (H-Building)
Jan Tinbergen (1903–1994) was a professor at the Netherlands School of Economics who engaged in ground-breaking work in many fields of economics. His most important contributions to science were in the fields of econometrics and the theory of economic policymaking, for which he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Economics in 1969 (along with Norway’s Ragnar Frisch).