“I really don’t know exactly what I want to do next,” Dijkgraaf replies to the question of whether he would be interested in another term as minister. Should the opportunity arise, that is, as D66 is currently down in the polls.

Various steps

“I’ve taken various steps over the course of my career,” says Dijkgraaf, “and those were all different chapters in a book. My feeling now is that this role, in this cabinet, is one such chapter. So I’m first going to think about how I want to close this chapter, and then we’ll see what comes next.”

Dijkgraaf is a world-renowned theoretical physicist who became a household figure in the Netherlands when he gave a series of compelling lectures for the television programme DWDD University. He previously served as president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and as director of the renowned Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where Albert Einstein once worked.

'A defeat'

Since January 2022, Dijkgraaf had been Minister of Education, Culture and Science in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s fourth cabinet, which feel over the summer. “A defeat,” Dijkgraaf calls it in his interview with HOP. As an outgoing minister, he can no longer work on new policies.

Dijkgraaf is unlikely to remain in national politics. “I have devoted my whole life to teaching and research, and I will continue to do so,” he says. “I just don’t know what that’s going to look like yet.”

HOP talked to Dijkgraaf because of a long-awaited foresight study, which he sent to the House of Representatives on Friday. The study sets out how teaching and research could develop towards 2040.