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On 5 October 2019, the Institute of Physics (IoP) of the University of Amsterdam organized a grand reunion of all present and past staff and students. Around 350 former members of the Institute and its predecessors or constituents (WZI, IHEF, ITFA, NatLab, Van der Waalslab, Zeemanlab, the ‘Practicum’, the Technology Center, etc.) visited the day.

Impression of the IoP reunion

The reunion was planned to coincide with the yearly Open Day of Amsterdam Science Park. In this way, participants had the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of the different institutes (both of the UvA and elsewhere at Amsterdam Science Park, e.g. Nikhef, AMOLF, ARCNL, CWI), and be inspired and amazed by demonstrations, lab visits, lectures as well as the famous Physics Fair (‘Natuurkundekermis’).

The reunion was organized and sponsored by the Institute of Physics and the alumni chapter ‘Natuurkunde’ of the UvA Alumni Association AUV. Over two thirds of the over 500 traced back alumni participated in the event.

Apart from showcasing the current state of affairs of physics research and education in Amsterdam, the reunion allowed for participants to meet with former colleagues, students and friends who worked or studied at the IoP or any of its predecessors, for which the programme offered ample time. For many visitors it was also the first time to visit the UvA’s Faculty of Science building at Amsterdam Science Park. Until 2009, the institutes were concentrated at the Roeterseiland campus of the UvA.

Throughout the day participants were welcomed at restaurant De Oerknal of the University Sport Center, and encouraged to visit the various institutes. After the Amsterdam Science Park Open Day ended, all participants gathered at De Oerknal for the evening programme. After a welcome by IoP director Paul de Jong, the reunion featured the premiere of the documentary ‘We have to be optimistic!” on the longstanding cooperation of UvA physicists with colleagues at the University of Hanoi (Vietnam) in one of the UvA lecture halls, as well as an extensive dinner buffet for the participants.

During and after the event, the organizers have received numerous enthusiastic reactions from participants, calling for a repetition in a few years’ time.