After 36 years the association of universities VSNU has a new name: Universities of the Netherlands. “This new name for the umbrella organisation of Dutch universities lends recognisability to our collaboration and explains precisely what we stand for together as universities”, is the explanation.


According to Pieter Duisenberg, the new name is well suited to a new development. In recent years, networks in which researchers from various universities meet have been developed around an increasing number of themes. The universities plan to facilitate those networks ‘in a contemporary way’. “Our new name and logo underline this practice.”

That gives rise to questions: After all, what four letters symbolised the cooperation between the universities better than VSNU? They stood for ‘Vereniging van Samenwerkende Nederlandse Universiteiten’ (Association of Collaborating Universities in the Netherlands).  Soon after the beginning of this millennium the name changed to Vereniging van Universiteiten (Association of Universities), although the abbreviation VSNU remained.

More clarity

But according to spokesperson Ruben Puylaert practical considerations were the decisive factor. “We noticed that many people didn’t realise straight away that the name VSNU related to universities. And we also often heard people erroneously referring to VNSU. We wanted to create more clarity, that’s why we have changed the name to Universities of the Netherlands, UNL for short. At the Chamber of Commerce we are now known officially as: Vereniging Universiteiten van Nederland (Association of Universities of the Netherlands).”

Along with the change of name, the association has launched a new website. There is also a new logo in the form of a closing curly bracket.