The passing of Paul De Knop leaves the VUB in great sadness. But many have fond memories of him. In interviews he could be heard loud and clear, in his own passionate and optimistic way. We have collected ten characteristic quotes from him. 

42 years at the university 

"I've had bad luck. But I've also been very lucky. I have a good family and was allowed to work for the university for 42 years, with all those young intelligent people. Then you've had a fantastic life, right? 

The cooperative society 

"The government is increasingly withdrawing financially and socially. That is painful, but at the same time an opportunity for universities, social organizations and the business community to work together more and more intensively: the cooperative society." 

Young people 

"You shouldn't saddle young people with a problem, but point to a solution. Science offers that hope." 

For fellow patients 

"I offered my treating physician to help him collect funds, not for myself, but for others." 

Paul De Knop as a sportsman 

"I am a sportsman, I always go for results. I'm not going to climb Mont Ventoux only to quit halfway through." 

Paul De Knop on management 

"I am most proud of the fact that I introduced efficiency thinking to the university. As a result, the VUB is now in very good shape." 

On an autonomous international VUB 

"The VUB should not become bigger, but stronger and cooperate across language and community borders to attract foreign students and researchers. (...) Language skills are essential. Without language skills you are not a master, but a master. I am of course willing to cooperate with any university, as long as it is done from our strength." 

Brussels as a unique selling point 

"Brussels is the economic engine of Belgium, with 650 thousand commuters every day, so that's a huge employment. Brussels is a unique selling point. So I call on the politicians to use that too, to promote Brussels and attract foreign students, and to grant the Dutch speakers in Brussels the education, and specifically higher education, that they deserve." 

A student is not a number 

"With us, students don't end up in auditoriums with 1,200 people. You are not a number and are taught in smaller groups and there is more individual guidance. Don't forget that we also have a good reputation as a research institution." 


A book of condolences can be signed in the rectorate building on the Etterbeek campus, in the entrance hal of the faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy on the Jette campus, and online via this webpage.

Support the Paul De Knop Fund

Anyone who wants to continue Paul’s commitment and support research into immunotherapy at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and UZ Brussel can do so with a donation to the VUB-UZ Brussel Paul De Knop Fund: account number BE 51 001367793562 with the message GIFT FO2 Paul De Knop.