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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has been asked to take part in a University College in the former panopticon prison – the Koepelgevangenis – in Haarlem. This autumn, following exploratory talks with the initiators and consultation with the deans and the representative advisory bodies, a decision will be made on whether to sign a letter of intent.

Koepelgevangenis Haarlem (photo: Chopsueyphoto, FlickrCC)

Involved parties

The initiator of the idea for University College Haarlem (UCH) is the Panopticon Foundation (Stichting Panopticon). In addition to the UvA, the foundation has also approached Inholland University of Applied Sciences about participating. The proposal is to start an interdisciplinary Liberal Arts & Sciences Bachelor's programme in September 2019, with a strong emphasis on the arts, culture and entrepreneurship.

Common elements with other programmes

The UvA already operates a University College together with VU Amsterdam: Amsterdam University College (AUC). The proposed degree programme in Haarlem differs from AUC in that it will have a less pronounced emphasis on the exact sciences. It will share common ground with existing international, interdisciplinary programmes at the UvA such as those offered by the Faculties of Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Law.


This month, the Executive Board is consulting with the deans of faculties that share the most areas of overlap with the prospective UCH programme. The plan will then be presented to the Central Executive Council (CBO) on 27 October. The Executive Board will subsequently reach a decision on whether or not to sign a letter of intent. In the event of a decision to sign, the UvA will join Inholland and the Panopticon Foundation in further developing the proposed plan for UCH. This will also include a feasibility study.