The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the only Flemish university that has incorporated the principle of ‘free inquiry’ in its statutes. This principle is based on a text by the French mathematician and natural philosopher Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), in which he says that:
It is no surprise that the seal of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel bears the legend ‘scientia vincere tenebras’ (science will triumph over darkness). The beggar’s wallet and the joined hands on the orange-white-blue escutcheon in the emblem (the colours of the Prince of Orange) refer to the struggle of the Protestant Gueux and the Prince of Orange against the Spanish rule and the Inquisition in the 16th Century. The combination of the legend, wallet and joined hands symbolises the free and unfettered spirit of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Another basic principle, also incorporated in the university statutes of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is that the institution must be managed according to the model of democracy. In concrete terms, this means that all echelons, from professors and assistants over researchers, students, administrative staff and technical personnel, are represented on all its governing bodies.
Thus the university guarantees that every echelon has a voice in its decision-making processes and participates in its management.
Photo credit: Facebook VUB