Jan Veraart

“The things TU Delft is working on are extremely relevant to our society”

Jan Veraart graduated in Delft in 1964 as a civil engineer. After that, he just started ‘pouring concrete’. In 2000 he resigned as President of the Board of HBG (now the Koninklijke BAM Groep). “I am very well aware of the momentous changes that have taken place at TU Delft and in the Netherlands since my student days, more than sixty years ago."

When he embarked on his studies in 1957, Jan Veraart estimates there were around 5,000 students. Today there are more than 27,000 students in Delft. And the population of the Netherlands today is 17.5 million, compared to 11 million back then. These were the first years after the Zeeland flood disaster (in 1953 ed), an event that was an important consideration in Jan's decision to study in Delft.

Back then TU Delft also trained you for a good profession, in my case concrete. We learned how to build bridges, tunnels, roads. But I can't remember us ever discussing the social relevance of what we were doing. It was just necessary.

Yet Jan does remember the rector back then, Professor Kronig, once commenting that “the real problem was that people were moving about too much, that things were being dragged all over the place and that everything and everyone was busy going here, there and everywhere.” This was an entirely new concept to him. It was well before 1972, when the Club of Rome published on the boundaries of growth.

“When I hear about the things people are working on at TU Delft today, they are extremely relevant to our society. That’s why I still feel so engaged.” It is this sense of engagement that made Jan Veraart decide to become a Good Friend of Delft University Fund.

“Even though as a Good Friend of Delft University Fund I am happy to make an annual donation, I also strongly believe in the importance of a TU Delft alumni community where contributions are given back and passed on in the form of time, effort, knowledge and network. In this way we keep each other on the ball, we share our knowledge across the generations and we all play our part in achieving social impact.”

“And I finally have time to actually read Delft Outlook. I don't understand most of the contents, but it really feeds my sense of wonder. What Delft is doing in cooperation with Leiden and Erasmus, on the cutting edge of technology and medical sciences, for example with non-invasive operations, is unbelievably clever and inspiring. And that is no less true of the climate, sustainability and energy. It is this sense of wonder that made me decide to become a Good Friend.”

Would you like to become a Good Friend too, just like Jan Veraart?

As a Good Friend, you become part of a network of engaged alumni and others who have a relationship with TU Delft. By becoming part of this network, you help students and researchers to excel. You can become a Good Friend of TU Delft by making a minimum annual donation of €500 for a period of five years. For more information, please contact Machteld von Oven via M.W.vonOven@tudelft.nl or call +31 (0)6 81 06 09 19

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