Guest column

Luc Verburgh

Chairman of the Board of Governors of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences

Working together is the power of Brightlands

“Brightlands’ name recognition now extends far beyond our provincial borders. This is a good thing, because the Netherlands and the rest of the world need to know about all the great things that are happening on the campuses in Limburg. These four campuses represent the economic hearts of and for the province, campuses that differ in terms of their focus, yet uphold similar values. Which are the most important in my view? The way they work together!

There are partnerships here between government agencies, business and knowledge institutes, but mostly between people who rely on each other to maximize all their potential, and to grow. As an economy, as knowledge institutes, as a region and of course as individuals.


Each of the four campuses is in its own phase of development. In my view, it is extremely important for them to continue to develop and to maintain and further expand their leading position and pioneering role. This growth will also help ensure they have and maintain appeal. Keeping the emphasis on development is also crucial for Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. We want our students to have the knowledge, insights and skills that the region needs, so they not only continue to grow, but grow “in the right direction”. The sustainable partnership with Brightlands and the various partners at the campuses plays an increasingly more important role in these efforts.

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Many of our students, teachers and researchers are closely involved with Brightlands. They are working on ideas together that will hopefully help us move forward in the future. This is the power of Brightlands, a place where connections are made which would be a lot more difficult (or even impossible) to make otherwise. There are the partnerships in chemistry at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, where our first- and second-year Applied Science students have been getting practical training since the start of this academic year.

Not only do they take classes there, but even more importantly, they get first-hand experience of what it means to work in an environment where they can also end up working as a professional.

The same applies to the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen, where our third- and fourth-year ICT students have been studying since last year. From those studying commercial economics to communications and multimedia design, more and more students are learning about this campus thanks to all the knowledge here on data and data science. These types of connections are what make Zuyd much more than just an educational institution with 13,000 students, 7,000 internships and 2,500 graduation assignments per year, 50 bachelor, master and associate degree programs and 30 lectureships. Brightlands helps us strenghten the partnerships with business, knowledge and other institutes, government and residents to take on our province’s challenges, together. 

In short, the Brightlands campuses are not only a spearhead and reference point for action to be taken by the province and municipalities, they are also a meeting place and development hub for the business community. They also help to give us direction as a university of applied sciences, in guiding our students, lecturers and researchers. We are also seeing more and more partnerships form across all the campuses, both in practice and in our teaching and applied research. As such, we are moving from several Brightlands establishments within our province to the concept of Limburg as bright land. A place where knowledge development and economic and other applications, in addition to culture, nature and our Euregional location, are shaping our future. The development of Limburg with the most important contribution from Zuyd, the development of our students. This is where our focus lies.”

Nederlands versie: gastcolumn



Dr. Luc Verburgh (1961) studied philosophy at Radboud University in Nijmegen and organizational psychology at the University of Wales. He then joined the Methods and Techniques department in Nijmegen in 1988, where he got his PhD in 1992 on “Participatory policy modelling in the health insurance sector”. 

After this academic period in his life, Luc Verburgh made the transition to the business world. He has worked at Accenture, KLM, SNT Groep and SARA, among others. For the past 15 years, Verburgh has worked as chairman of the board of governors of large educational institutions. He has been chairman of the Board of Governors of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences for more than two years.

Luc Verburgh lives in Bunde with his wife and three children.