By Peter van der Hijden, independent Higher Education Strategist

EURASHE Summer Cocktails – Brussels, 3 July 2024

This presentation is in three parts:

  1. My words of welcome
  2. My message 
  3. Your homework 

    A warm welcome to this event! It is always good to be with EURASHE. Welcome to Brussels, my hometown by now, a wonderful mosaic of cultures and politics that somehow functions. Brussels is a mess—but it’s our mess!

    Welcome to the waterfront, welcome to Le Phare du Kanaal, the lighthouse on the canal. I worked two years for the inland waterways in DG MOVE (European Commission), and I know that there are no lighthouses on canals. They are on the seaside, not on canals! So, the whole concept of this place is surreal, like Belgian art: Ceci n’est pas une pipe – this is not a lighthouse. Things are not always what they seem, bear this in mind!


    My message goes with the season: RELAX. ANYTHING GOES. Stop worrying, enjoy the holidays, and continue the good work afterwards. I will illustrate this reassuring message by pointing at three dossiers we are supposed to work on day and night:

    1. European Universities 
    2. European Degrees
    3. Micro-credentials 

    When you hear about these three topics, RELAX. Because:

    • European Universities – you are (each of you)
    • European Degrees – you do (dozens of them)
    • Micro-credentials – you have (hundreds)

    Let’s take a closer look.

    Read the full speech here

      Peter van der Hijden

      Peter van der Hijden

      Independent Higher Education Strategist

      Peter advises university consortia on attaining ‘European University’ status and public authorities on higher education reforms. With 23 years at the European Commission, he was pivotal in the Erasmus programme, Bologna process, and the Modernisation agenda. He is a co-founder of MAVERiICKS Advancing Higher Education and the art-focused Portraits International. His most recent projects include advising the European Commission on the 2030 Vision Study on Universities and promoting micro-credentials globally.