The history of Animal Sciences in Wageningen

The basis for the study Livestock, Zoötechnics and nowadays Animal Sciences has been established in 1861, when mr. W.C.H. Starin was sent abroad for a study of education in animal husbandry and the functioning of this education in foreign countries. Two years later a non-government-bill was presented by mr. Thorbecke, which allowed the establishing of higher agricultural education in the Netherlands. In 1873, the Municipal Agricultural University in Wageningen was founded. Three years later this university became the Rijkslandbouwhogeschool (National Agricultural College). Until 1918, the Rijkslandbouwhogeschool was functioning without any professor. In 1918 mr. L. Broekema was named as the first professor. Three years later, mr. D.L. Bakker succeeded mr. L. Broekema .

 The first time that changes were made to the Rijkslandbouwhogeschool was in 1956. A division of 22 engineer studies was made and the undergraduate degree was extended to one year. In 1968, the study Livestock was divided into three disciplines; animal breeding,  animal health and tropical livestock. In response to demands of the ministry, in 1975 a direction for aquaculture was added to the study program. Due to this change the umbrella name "Livestock" was no longer sufficient. Therefore, it was decided to change the name in Zoötechnics and graduated students became Zoötechnics.

As a result of the growth of the study Zoötechnics over the years, all specializations dispersed throughout Wageningen. The need arose to place the specializations together under one roof. In 1976 the construction of the Zodiac, the future home of all staff and students Zootechnics, started. In 1978 the Zodiac was ready for use. Five years later, the various departments became independent of each other. In 1986 the first reorganization was a fact, and the Rijkslandbouwhogeschool changed into Landbouw Universiteit Wageningen (Agricultural University Wageningen). At first, students needed on average seven years to finish the study Zoötechnics. However, this study, not only under the pressure of the minister, was reduced to a duration of five years. In 1999 the name of Landbouw Universiteit Wageningen changed into Wageningen Agricultural University (WAU). Later in the same year the name changed to Wageningen University (WU). Through reorganization of the Department of Animal Sciences, the name of the study Zootechnics changed into Animal Sciences, which is the current name.

In recent years, many changes took place in the Animal Sciences program. For example, in September 2010 the Towards Flexibility system was introduced. Bachelor studies were divided into semesters and had to  be completed with a thesis. There came many opportunities to follow minors and exchange between domestic and international students became easier. Less good news was that in 2010 the Halbe-fine was implemented. From academic year 2012-2013, students with a delay of more than one year for both the bachelor and master programs, must pay a fine of three thousand euro to the government.

 In October 2011, the Department of Animal Sciences moved from the old Zodiac, located at the Marijkeweg, to the new Zodiac located at the Elst. The purpose is to locate all parts of Wageningen University on a campus together. Also study association "De Veetelers" has found her place in the new Zodiac.

Study association "De Veetelers"

These previous events contributed all in some degree to the formation of the current student Animal Sciences. The main event is not yet mentioned. In 1962 the formation of study association "De Veetelers" took place. The Study association has the following objectives:

  • The promotion of the study interests of its members.
  • The stimulation of the contact between students in Animal Sciences.
  • Contribute to the development of its members in relation to the society.

 In the past fifty years, the Study association has become increasingly active and has prominent name in Wageningen and beyond. From an association focused exclusively on education issues, study association "De Veetelers" grew to an association focused on education, the link with practical situations, social development of students and of course sociability among students Animal Sciences.

Favourite species of students Animal Sciences are represented in the sub associations; Rundvee Fokkerij Studieclub (Cattle Breeding Study Club), Porculum, Aquarius, Schapen en Geiten Studie Club (Sheep and Goat Study Club) and the Paarden Fokkerij Club (Horse Breeding Club). Due to new developments regarding companion animals, in academic year 2003-2004 the Companion Animals Working Group was established. To give the working group more freedom and independence, the group changed to the sub association Bestia Turba Ferina (BTF) in 2007. This sub association focuses on providing activities for non-production animals.

In 2001 a new main sponsorship contract was signed. Instead of the name Hendrix UTD the name Nutreco (International company specialized in animal nutrition, red. ) will be used in the future. The other sponsor was still Rabobank Wageningen Rhenen (Dutch bank, red.) and in 2005 it became ABN-AMRO Bank (Dutch bank, red.). Nowadays, Trouw nutrition (International company specialized in animal nutrition,red. ), HatchTech[ivdz1]  (company in incubation techniques, red.), and CRV (company in cattle genetics, red.) are the main sponsors of the Study Association.

During the first performance of Véater in 2008, Martin Verstegen, Mariet Verstegen, Jos Raaijmakers, Reinoud Buis, Egbert Egberts and Ab Groen received the title honorary member of study association "De Veetelers". They are strongly involved, have done much and still do much for the association. During the first performance of Véater in 2009, Rommert Politiek received the title honorary member of the association. Rommert Politiek was as a professor who co-founded  Study Association "De Veetelers" in 1962. Also, during the first performance of Véater in 2009, the association thanked Mariet Verstegen for her effort as patroness, Mariet was patroness since the 10th  Zoötechnical Almanac. In 2009 Natasha Gianotten succeed Mariet as patroness.

 In 2010, the well-attended symposium "How to keep the planet alive" took place in Pathé in Ede. Unfortunately. The year 2011 was an active year for study association "De Veetelers". Okke Meeuwes received the title Kloosterman 2011 during the second performance of Véater 2011. The relocation of the Zodiac, in October 2011, resulted in several hectic days for study association "De Veetelers" and students. The new building is an improvement, but we still need some time to get used to it!

Already 6 years ago, the 10th lustrum “Interaction” took place in 2012. In the last five year, a lot has changed at Wageningen University & Research, which is the official name since 2016. All research institutes, such as  ‘Landbouw Economisch Instituut (LEI)’, are now part of the WUR. Moreover, the campus is getting bigger. Orion, Stoas and Friesland Campina Innovation Centre were built in 2013, Campus Plaza in 2016 and the Global Foods Innovation Centre of Unilever in 2017.

Study association “De Veetelers” has celebrated her 55th anniversary in 2017. The theme of the 11 Lustrum  was “Springlevend”, a theme which perfectly suits “De Veetelers”. There were many activities, such as a symposium, a gala, closing party and many more. It was a successful lustrum, in which veetelers, companies and alumni have gathered a lot of knowledge.

Since academic year 2018-2019 the whole study programme transitioned to English. Some international students started the Bachelor, and all Bachelor and Master courses are given in English.  Therefore, the Study association is open for all internationals.

In 2020 the association got a new honorary member. This is Mieke van de Pas. Mieke was approved as new honorary member during the rigro of 18 February 2020. Not long after this, the first Covid-19 infections occur in the Netherlands. In March 2020 the WUR comes with the first measures to minimalize the infection risk. After this, a period follows wherein activities and rigro’s can only take place online and sometimes in small groups in real life.

The period during which Covid-19 hampered Veeteler activities remained on for 2 years. During this time, the Veetelers became very creative in organizing online rigros, field trips, drinks and other activities. Study association "De Veetelers" also has an additional committee, the Freshmencie, since September 2021. This committee was created to better reach and integrate freshman students into the association. It has also been decided that there will not be a weekly rigro but a two-weekly rigro, in order to promote the time allocation and sincere input into the association from members and board members. With this decision was also thought about a better financial control and flow of knowledge regarding finances, and for this purpose in 2022 the Financial Control Commission (FCC) will be established.

Luckily for us, the COVID-19 measures were lifted in March 2022. This was a very fortunate timing, as the 12th Lustrum “Devotion” could take place as everyone had hoped. The 60th birthday of the association was celebrated greatly, with a grand opening in combination with the ceremony of the 38th Almanac, an integration drink in the Zodiac building, a symposium, gala, career day, excursion, alumni day, GOAT games and end party. It was a successful celebration, where everyone was able to meet new people, get new insights and party their heart out. 

Since January 2023 in the committee Team International has been changed into Mastercie.  This committee was set up to better reach and integrate (international) master students within the association. Also, in 2023 the first Véater performance was held after 3 years, for this there was much enthusiasm from Members and other externals. Since the period of Covid-19, the socialisation programme for cats at Carus has been established again. Lastly, since 2024 we have a temporary shared committee, together with HeerenXVII, namely Galacie 2024.