“The Paris Declaration of March 2015 promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education underlines the important role of security in education and to the benefit of social inclusion. I call on all stakeholders to help implementing the goals of this important Declaration. I am confident that sharing best-practises in this Conference contributes to that effect. " Jet Bussemaker, Dutch Minister of Education Culture & Science 


The attacks in Paris and Copenhagen and most recently in Brussels have placed the issue of safety and security firmly on everyone’s agenda, including those of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Europe. The Paris declaration reaffirms the mobilisation of education to safeguard the shared fundamental values in our societies and calls for further efforts to strengthen the key contribution education can make towards personal development, social inclusion and participation. Openness and accessibility are intrinsical values of the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) of Europe. Consequently, we must clearly define our social remit, the core values associated with it and how far we can and wish to go to protect them.


Safe and Open?

The transfer of knowledge and values, personal growth and scientific progress require an open approach and the courage to experiment. It also requires a safe learning and working environment. The crucial but complex question therefore is how on the one hand you foster this openness and on the other provide a secure environment. Which risks do we consider acceptable and which are we on no account prepared to take?

This means that these choices must be made. Do we know why students drop out? What do we do if people act in a way which gives us cause for concern? Do we want to know what goes on online? How far do we want our security measures to go? Which experts do we listen to, what does this actually cost and is it effective? Do we simply respond to an emergency situation or incident or are we prepared for such an event? How do we explain and justify this? In this current climate, more than ever it is time to share and exchange knowledge to a greater extent. And for us as the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) to decide how to proceed in the context of current threats that go beyond our national borders or are even without borders.



Dutch Higher Education Institutes invite you to join the conference on Safe & Open Higher Education as a follow up on the Paris declaration, to discuss which further efforts are necessary for Safe and Open HEI’s, and to present to you concrete actions and tools to use


The next steps

A common position on safety and security is necessary. Which actions are needed, both at national, regional and local as well as European level? During the conference a declaration with this common position will be presented and discussed from European perspective by our guests:

  • Ms Julie Anderson – European Commission, DG Education & Culture
  • Mr Gilles Baillat - Conference of University Presidents (CPU), France
  • Mr Luc de Schepper – University of Hasselt, Belgium


Keynote speakers:

  • Dutch minister of Education Culture & Science Jet Bussemaker 
  • Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, on safety and education in metropoles
  • Prof. dr. Ira Helsloot on ‘Better open than safely closed? - a reality check’