Victor van der Chijs

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Victor van der Chijs
Born 1960 (age 57–58)
Ede, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Occupation President of the Executive Board of the University of Twente
Known for Schiphol Group, OMA, 4TU, University of Twente, technology, innovation, creative industries

Victor van der Chijs (born in Ede, Netherlands, 1960) is a Dutch entrepreneur. Since October 1, 2013 he is the President of the Executive Board of the University of Twente, the highest managing body of this university of technology. He holds various supervisory and advisory positions. Van der Chijs has advised the government of the Netherlands in a range of areas such as international trade, innovation, and creative industries.

University of Twente[edit]

The University of Twente is a reputed university of technology that offers research and degree programs in science and technology, engineering, information technology, geo-information sciences, and social and behavioural sciences. The University of Twente strongly focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration, hence its slogan High Tech, Human Touch.[1]

Within one year after his installation, Victor van der Chijs designed a more focused strategy for the future of the university together with students, staff, alumni and external stakeholders. Known as Vision 2020, the University’s current strategic direction aims to find innovative solutions for major societal issues.[2][3][4] Over the past years, the University of Twente has shown a steady rise on international rankings. The 2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked the University of Twente 153 overall in the world, while in the field of engineering and technology it was ranked 82, and 61 in the field of computer science.[5] Van der Chijs’ appointment has contributed strongly to the international profile of the university, with growing numbers in international influx of students and researchers. In 2017, Van der Chijs was reappointed for his second term.[6]

Entrepreneurial university[edit]

Under Van der Chijs’ leadership, the University of Twente has strengthened its entrepreneurial profile. With over 900 start-ups and spin-off companies, the University of Twente is one of the most entrepreneurial universities in Europe and voted most successful Dutch university in the category knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship.[7] In 2017, the University of Twente was chosen as university with the highest societal impact.[8] In the same year, students chose Twente as Best University of Technology 2018 and third best university of the Netherlands.[9] In keeping with its innovative spirit, the university is committed to maximizing its economic and social contribution to society. In 2017, Van der Chijs launched a Strategic Business Development unit, which aims to stimulate knowledge transfer and fosters cooperation between the University of Twente and the (regional and non-regional) business community.

Design Lab[edit]

In 2014, Van der Chijs and Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker officially opened the DesignLab, which includes the Classroom of the Future. The DesignLab is a creative and cross-disciplinary ecosystem connecting science and society through design. It aims to change the design process and promotes a novel approach to multidisciplinary research and cooperation with business.

Fraunhofer and Max Planck[edit]

Van der Chijs has been instrumental in attracting renowned research centers to the university campus. In January 2017, the Fraunhofer Project Center for Design and Production Engineering was opened on site. The Center’s objective is to meet the pressing demands of smart industry related to design and production engineering in complex high-tech systems.[10] 2017 also marked the official opening of the Max Planck – University of Twente Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics.[11] With these two additions, the University has strengthened its position as knowledge hub between Germany and the Netherlands.

4TU and ‘Technologieakkoord’ (Technology Agreement)[edit]

Van der Chijs is the Chair of the 4TU Federation (the confederation of collaborating universities of technology Twente, Eindhoven, Delft, and Wageningen). In this role, he has been strongly advocating[12] a structural increase in governmental spending on technology and innovation, and, more broadly, a radical change in approach to how government, knowledge institutes, trade unions, and the corporate world can jointly tackle the challenges society is facing in the light of rapid technological changes.


Van der Chijs is also President of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).[13] This international consortium consists of 12 research intensive universities with collective emphasis on innovation, creativity, and societal impact. Its members share a strong commitment to driving regional development, internationalization, and entrepreneurship. Van der Chijs focuses on strengthening the public profile of educational innovation, the link between research and business, and entrepreneurial cooperation. Prior to his appointment in April 2017, Van der Chijs acted as Vice President (2016) and Board Member (2013-2016).


Before starting in Twente in 2013, Victor van der Chijs was Managing Director and Partner of OMA, a leading global creative firm offering services in the field of architecture, design and creative advisory.[14] Inspired by its roots in architecture, OMA and its research counterpart AMO offer services in the field of design in its broadest form resulting in buildings, masterplans, cultural advisory, identity studies, branding, exhibitions, sceneography and publications.[15] The firm, founded by Rem Koolhaas, sustains offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong and Doha with projects in over 35 countries worldwide.

Van der Chijs’ particular specialty is turning creativity into commercially viable propositions.[16][17] Van der Chijs joined OMA in 2005 as Managing Partner. Next to the day-to-day responsibility for OMA's operations, he was responsible for business development and expanding and diversifying OMA's activities.[18][19][20] Since 2005 until Van der Chijs' departure, OMA and its think-tank AMO tripled in size while maintaining strict creative standards.[21] On 19 March 2013, Van der Chijs announced his forthcoming departure as Managing Director and concluded his responsibilities at OMA end of June 2013.[22][23]

Schiphol Group[edit]

Before joining OMA, Van der Chijs held various senior management positions at Schiphol Group, the international airport management company.[24] Among others he was Director of Communications and Public Affairs lobbying for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol's aircraft noise mitigation programmes, and Director of Strategic Projects preparing for Schiphol's IPO (which was later cancelled by the Dutch Labour Party) and setting up a strategic alliance between Schiphol and Frankfurt International Airport. He was also responsible for Schiphol's USD 1.2 billion terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport[25] in New York City, a position he happened to start on September 11, 2001[26] forcing a major financial restructuring of the project. Subsequently he was appointed Managing Director of Schiphol International overseeing all of Schiphol's operations and investments outside the Netherlands.[27]


Before joining Schiphol, Van der Chijs worked for financial services group ING for over 10 years, of which the last three years based in Hong Kong in the field of project finance in China.

Creative Industries[edit]

From 2011 until 2013, Van der Chijs, appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, headed a 'top team' charged with exploring ways of stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship for the creative industries in the Netherlands. The key objective of the project, called To the Top – Towards a New Enterprise Policy (in Dutch: Topsectorenbeleid), was to give entrepreneurs more scope for their activities and enable them to grow. The Top Team generated an extensive report and action plan[28] outlining which measures would enable creative companies to become more competitive, and to find solutions to major societal challenges by achieving 'cross-overs' with other industries, science institutes and governments.[29]

In order to realise this, a number of instruments were established, including CLICKNL, a public-private partnership that spurs innovation in creative SME's by connecting those to scientific research; and innovation vouchers which set out arrangements and financial agreements between businesses, scientists and the government to facilitate short-term research projects. Furthermore, the Dutch Creative Council (DCC) was created, of which Van der Chijs held the position of chairman until end of 2013. The Council coordinates the implementation of the action plan, and advises businesses, scientists and the government on measures to address challenges in the sector, and on actions to consolidate the international position of Dutch creative industries to become the most creative economy of Europe by 2020.[30]

ABN Amro International Business Award[edit]

In 2007, Victor van der Chijs accepted for OMA the Jan Huygen van Linschoten Award, the business excellence award granted by of Dutch bank ABN AMRO. The award honors innovative international practice and excellent financial management, and reflected OMA's successful entrance and maintenance in emerging markets such as China, and amongst others, the Middle East.

Other positions[edit]

Van der Chijs holds and has held several other positions in Dutch society:

  • Chairman of the 4TU Federation (since 2015), i.e. the confederation of the four universities of technology in the Netherlands;
  • Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Kennisland, an independent think tank based in the Netherlands, which aims to strengthen the Dutch cultural, intellectual and economic spheres (since 2015);
  • Chairman of the Crossover Program on Energy Transition of Dutch Top Sectors Creative Industries, Energy and ICT (since 2017)
  • Acting Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Dutch National Archives (Nationaal Archief) (since 2017)
  • Member of the Twente Board (since 2014);
  • Member of the Economic Development Board Zwolle (since 2016);
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of RET, the main public transport operator in the Rotterdam metropolitan area (since 2011);
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of Deerns (since 2014);
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of the Nederlands Filmfonds (since 2013);
  • Member of the Dutch Trade and Investment Board, advisory committee to the Netherlands’ Government in the field of international trade and cross-border investments (2007 - 2013);
  • Member of the Economic Development Board Rotterdam(2009 - 2013);
  • Member of the Board of Trustees and Audit Committee of the Netherlands National Historical Museum(2008 – 2011);
  • Chairman of Topsector Creative Industries (2011 - 2013);
  • Chairman of the Dutch Creative Industries Council (2012 - 2013).

Van der Chijs holds a master's degree in Law from the University of Amsterdam, and has completed post-graduate education at the Amsterdam School of International Relations and at INSEAD, France.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Interview Management Team, January 2014 (in Dutch)
  2. ^ Interview UT Nieuws, January 2014 (in Dutch)
  3. ^ UT Nieuws, February 2014 (in Dutch)
  4. ^ Interview BNR Nieuwsradio, December 2013 (in Dutch)
  5. ^ "Times Higher Education, University of Twente". 
  6. ^ "Utwente News Reappointment Van der Chijs". 
  7. ^ "Best Valoriserende Universiteiten Bekendgemaakt". ScienceWorks. 
  8. ^ "Kennis, nut, en euro's. Elsevier, 6 December 2017" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Reuzensprong Universiteit Twente in Keuzegids universiteiten". 14 November 2017. 
  12. ^ "Universiteiten pleiten voor technologieakkoord". Financieele Dagblad. 8 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Victor van der Chijs ECIU President". Utwente News. April 2017. 
  14. ^ "Bouwmeester". Volkskrant. 13 June 2013. 
  15. ^ OMA
  16. ^ OMA in Conversation: Prudence; about the balancing act of being the managing partner of a leading creative company, The Barbican, Nov 24, 2011 (trailer)
  17. ^ The agency interview : Expanding the field, Interview Victor van der Chijs, Perspecta 45, The Yale Architectural Journal, August 2012
  18. ^ Rem Koolhaas: Architect als visionair, Management Scope, Nov 1, 2005 (in Dutch)
  19. ^ Grenzeloos Ondernemen, RVU, Nov 7, 2007 (TV program in Dutch)
  20. ^ Jan Huygen van Linschoten
  21. ^ Dutch Magic, Hoe Nederlandse ondernemers markten veroveren, P. Ruijs e.a. Sonsbeek Publishers, 2008 (in Dutch)
  22. ^ Eigenzinnig bureau evolueert tot creatief bedrijf op wereldschaal, Financieele Dagblad, March 22, 2013 (in Dutch)
  23. ^ Victor van der Chijs verlaat OMA, Architectenweb (in Dutch)
  24. ^ Sociaal voelende `generaal' die bijna in kabinet zat. Wie is Victor van der Chijs?, NRC, August 6, 2003 (in Dutch)
  25. ^ At Kennedy, Testing a Truism: The Eyes Don't Lie, New York Times, Nov 14, 2002
  26. ^ Public lives; a Dutch Touch in Flying by John Kifner, New York Times, Jan 23, 2002
  27. ^ "Van der Chijs nieuwe directeur Schiphol International". 
  28. ^ Report Creatieve Industrie in Topvorm (in Dutch)
  29. ^ Victor van der Chijs, topman van de creatieve industrie, NOS Radio 1, radio interview, March 7, 2011 (in Dutch)
  30. ^ "Gum topsectoren niet weg".