Wolfert van Borselen medal to ‘the professor together with the people’ Han Entzinger

On behalf of the municipality of Rotterdam, I am here as vicemayor of, among other things, integration to speak to you, Professor Entzinger. First off, our city is indebted to you for all your contributions to science and society in the field of migration and integration. This afternoon, I would like to say a few words about those contributions.


I consider you nearly a colleague when it comes to telling “the story of Rotterdam”. You have explained the policies of our city tirelessly and with great care, even defending them when necessary. This you have done in many places in the world and in profiling Rotterdam, you have given it a strong international position. You have made sure that our sometimes unorthodox migration and integration policy was heard! Thank you for that.

You did not hesitate to take positions and you were one of the scientists to forge a strong bond between Erasmus University and the city. You accomplished this, not least of which, by placing important topics on the agenda. As a result, an even greater bond has formed between science and the city.

For example, think of the integration debates with the people of Rotterdam a few years back, the chair and the research programme of Professor Tariq Ramadan and after that .. and the research you conducted for Rotterdam, together with Paul Scheffer, which resulted in the significant study “The state of integration”.

You most certainly do not suffer from a lack of commitment. You are a scientist who links science to societal issues. You believe that the work of scientists must have some social utility; that it must provide a significant benefit to society. You are not some ivory tower scientist: you stand right in the centre of society, together with the people. And that shows you to be precisely a man whose heart beats for society. Crossing the boundaries between science and society over and over again.

We consider ourselves lucky not only because you are a Rotterdammer, but also because you contribute so much in so many different areas of society in our city. With great enthusiasm and commitment, you have fulfilled your role as a citizen of Rotterdam. I sincerely hope that you continue to do so after your departure from the university.

It is clear that the concept of integration is a thread that runs in all manner of ways through your work. This, too, has proved for Rotterdam. We are a city of many nationalities and we sometimes face complex integration problems. Your approach to issues has always opened up entirely new perspectives. There is always hope, and this hope inspires us.

Your work for the international and prestigious IMISCOE Research Network (Immigration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe) is an extension of that spirit of hope. It is owing to your central position in this network that Erasmus University, beginning from next year, has the opportunity to coordinate IMISCOE. I am happy about that and I have, with integration in my portfolio, high expectations for the findings of this network. These findings will, in keeping with your spirit, no doubt turn out to be socially useful.


Professor Entzinger, dear Han, I think you understand just how grateful the city of Rotterdam is to you. As a token of our appreciation, may I, on behalf of the municipal administration of our city, present this award to you; I am only too pleased to do so. You have more than earned this. This is the Wolfert van Borselen Medal and it is given to individuals in management positions who have developed activities for Rotterdam society.


The inscription on the medal reads as follows:

A professor together with the people




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