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About the fund

University Fund Limburg/SWOL aims to support scientific research and education at Maastricht University. Science is a crucial building block to achieve a better future for next generations.

The Fund also seeks to foster good and mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the local community, as well as between itself and these parties. To achieve these objectives, the Fund is focused on the continued development of UM, the acquisition of financial resources from companies, government, funding bodies and private donors and the promotion of international activities among students and academic staff. In addition, the Fund works to strengthen ties between Maastricht University and its alumni, the business community and relevant civil society organisations.

From our chair

Theo Bovens

The University Fund Limburg has supported the establishment and development of Maastricht University (UM) since 1965. And with success; UM has developed into a young, but highly regarded university with its own profile: international, innovative and with its own academic profile that has proven to be successful. Both UM’s education and research are held in high esteem in the Netherlands and abroad. The University Fund was able to make a great contribution to this development.

The Limburg University Fund, in which businesses, local authorities, Limburg residents, alumni and other kinds of donors have been united for decades, raised funds to support academic education and high-quality research at UM and for the connection between UM and its environment

After all, that environment is just as important for the university as it is the other way around. UM and its sister institution, the Academic Hospital, together provide the surrounding (eu)region with more than 15,000 young people who come here to study, thousands of direct and indirect high-quality jobs, sizeable  investments in the regional economy and dozens of spin-off companies. The collaboration with companies, authorities and institutions results in an essential surplus value for society.

On this website you can find out about the many ways in which you can support the University Fund – and thus Maastricht University as well – but you can also find out how the Fund uses its means to support science and education.

As chair of the Limburg University Fund I hope the website content will encourage you to come and talk to us. In the interest of many!

Drs. Th.J.F.M. Bovens
King’s Commissioner in the Province of Limburg
Chair of the Limburg University Fund


The Limburg University Fund was created in 1965 with the establishment of the Foundation for Scientific Education Limburg (SWOL). Starting capital: 250 guilders. After the mine closed in the sixties, the region was in great need for new impulses. The creation of the eighth faculty of medicine in the Netherlands was an excellent opportunity to bring scientific education in Limburg to a higher level. In 1974 the education of the youngest medical school in the Netherlands started. Thereby the construction of the current University of Maastricht (UM) begins.

Key Dates
1965: Dr C. van Rooy takes the initiative to establish SWOL. The initial General Board of 60 members represents all societal actors in Limburg.

1967: SWOL publishes its ‘Document on the Foundation of a Medical Faculty’ – the first step towards establishing a university in Limburg as part of a political campaign. SWOL’s goal is to establish a full university and, with the support of the Maastricht municipality, it is able to make use of the water-collection area between Amby and Bemelen, and later also the Randwyck area.

1969: SWOL forms a citizens’ action committee for the university in Limburg. This committee offers the Minister of Education and Science, Jan Veringa, a petition signed by 300.000 people. In the Queen’s Speech of 1969, the government announces that the eighth medical faculty of the Netherlands will be based in Maastricht.

1970: Minister Veringa includes SWOL’s board in the debate about the remit and composition of the preparatory committee for the Maastricht Medical Faculty.
Two days later, the minister forms the committee with Dr J.G.H. Tans as chair.

1971: On the occasion of Minister De Brauw’s visit (the minister without portfolio and responsible for science policy and academic education), SWOL organises a demonstration against the postponement of the Maastricht Medical Faculty’s establishment. SWOL’s intervention to avoid a delay is successful.

1974: The first students arrive in Maastricht on 16 September. The government refuses to provide them with student grants; since the institution has not yet been formally recognised, the students are not yet officially considered as such – rather, they are ‘course participants’. SWOL and the Limburg Study Grant Fund act as guarantors for the student grants.

1976: At the official opening ceremony for the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg by Her Majesty the Queen on 9 January, SWOL offers the Executive Board a chairperson’s gavel, a rector’s chain of office, and a beadle’s staff.

The main achievements of the Limburg University Fund/SWOL in the development of Maastricht University between 1990 and 2006 include:
• financially supporting pioneering research by sponsoring various endowed chairs
• lending impetus to the internationalisation of Maastricht University by granting 3500 scholarships to UM students and researchers
• financially supporting the brand new Faculty of Arts and Culture
• financially supporting the establishment of the Maastricht University campus in northern Limburg (Venlo)
• giving impetus to the Maastricht University alumni policy
• campaigning in support of the Maastricht University Visitors’ Centre
• launching the Maastricht University Scholarship Fund.