Executive Board President Ed Brinksma is leaving in September. At that time, his term as member of the Executive Board will be over and he will have reached state pension age. “It is for personal reasons that I, after fifteen years as a university administrator, am choosing a future in which I can devote more time and attention to the people close to me”, he said in a message from the university.

Brinksma became chair in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, in September 2020. This period was difficult not only because of the pandemic, but also due to the many changes in administrative staff at EUR. He took over the position from interim President Hans Smits, who had been brought in after the previous president, Kristel Baele, had not been granted a second term. Three months after Brink’s appointment, the rector magnificus at the time, Rutger Engels, stepped down.


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With the arrival of Vice-President Ellen van Schoten in January 2021 and the appointment of Rector Annelien Bredenoord in October 2021, the Executive Board was complete again, resulting in more stability in the administrative circles.

“Ed has brought administrative stability and has guided the university through turbulent times, including the coronavirus pandemic. He is and will remain, for the coming months, a driving force in the implementation of strategy, working on the convergence with Erasmus MC and TU Delft, the culture campus and the UNIC university network”, wrote Jaap Winter, chair of the Supervisory Board, in a response to the announcement that the president will be stepping down. In this response, the Supervisory Board has indicated that it will try to find a successor and ‘will report on this further in the foreseeable future’.

Brinksma, who was originally an information scientist, came to Rotterdam after working as a university administrator in Hamburg. Before that, he spent eight years as rector at the University of Twente.

Ed Brinksma, voorzitter van het CvB

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Regrets about police intervention

In addition to the pandemic, Brinksma also had to deal with three occupations at the university by OccupyEUR. He received a lot of criticism from staff and students for involving the riot squad in clearing the Sanders building in November 2022. Brinksma himself later voiced his regrets for how things went down. In spite of the laborious interactions between the Executive Board and the activists, the occupations did result in accelerated additional measures for a more sustainable university.

EUR is part of my life

Brinksma himself has said about his announced departure: “Over the past years, EUR has become an important part of my life. A beautiful university in a dynamic city with a strong profile and an ambition that matters – bringing about real social impact based on scientific strength. These are issues with which I can identify and am happy to work on. It is a privilege to have been able to contribute to this, together with many talented colleagues. It is therefore for personal reasons that I, after fifteen years as a university administrator, am choosing a future in which I can devote more time and attention to the people close to me. Until then, I will continue to give my all for EUR and its future.”

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