With a corona pass – usually in the form of a QR code – people can show that they have been vaccinated, recently tested negative or recovered from corona. So far, such a corona pass has only been requested during outings, like a visit to the cinema or festivals.

But that may change tonight during the cabinet’s press conference. Healthcare minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday that new measures were coming. “If you see how the hospital admissions are rising, you can’t escape it”, he told the NOS. According to sources, the introduction of a corona pass in higher education is being considered.


But if it is up to the umbrella organisations of universities of applied sciences and universities, this will not happen. The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and the Netherlands Association of Universities (VSNU) have fundamental objections. According to the organisations, education should remain accessible to students with and without a QR code, because the right to education is too important.

“You will always have students who cannot or do not want to show the corona pass. You have to offer them a full alternative because they also have a right to education”, explains Eva Kloosterman, spokesperson for the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. This is particularly difficult for practical classes.

Moreover, it’s getting too much to handle for them. “We can hardly ask employees to do that extra work”, says VSNU spokesman Ruben Puylaert.

Practical problem

According to the organisations, maintaining the corona pass as an admission ticket is also a hopeless task. “University buildings are not like festival grounds. They are old buildings with many entrances and that makes it difficult to check everyone for a QR code”, says Puylaert. At universities of applied sciences, this also becomes a ‘huge logistical puzzle’, according to Kloosterman.


The umbrella organisations are quite happy with how things are going now. The low number of infections in higher education and the high vaccination rate among students make them satisfied.

Whether the cabinet has the same confidence remains to be seen during tonight’s press conference. In any case, the QR codes have not been introduced just like that: both the Lower House and the representative body must have their say.

Kloosterman awaits it in suspense. “We are curious what considerations will be made, because it is not clear to us yet.”

A spokesperson for Erasmus University did not yet want to anticipate possible measures. The university awaits the press conference and consultation with the VSNU.

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