Diversity in European Higher Education: Historical Trends and Current Policies

Jeroen Huisman, Franciscus A. van Vught

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Europe and its universities have a strong and long-standing relationship. Over the centuries European universities have contributed significantly to the social, economic and cultural development of Europe. The very existence of the European universities reflects one of the most central dimensions of the “idea of Europe”. Particularly from the age of the Enlightenment on, European universities became the institutional home of modernity and rationality. When, as Kant said, Europe broke out of its “self-imposed tutelage” during the Enlightenment, modernity became a fundamental European invention and modern science lay at the heart of that modernisation process. Rationality and the corresponding attitude to science and technology became essential and decisive elements of European identity. “Since Europe became Europe in its own eyes, science has been held up as its image and it emblem” (Daston 2005, p. 30). Over time, European universities have changed considerably. Yet they also remained the central European institutions of reason, knowledge, criticism and learning. Plato′s Academy was a centre of dialogue and critical enquiry. The medieval universities were open, self-governing communities of scholars. The “liberal university” of Cardinal John Newman was an institution for independent intellectual self-empowerment. And Wilhelm von Humboldt′s proposals for the establishment of the University of Berlin were first of all aimed at preventing the search for knowledge being corrupted by social forces (Barnett 1990; De Ridder-Symoens 1992, 1996; Nybom 2003).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMapping the Higher Education Landscape; Towards a European Classification of Higher Education
    EditorsF.A. van Vught
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    Number of pages170
    ISBN (Print)9789048122486
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Dynamics


    • METIS-261350


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