The Hague,

Curious, sociable and focused on learning and innovation

Meet Bart Combee, Chair of the Executive Board

This week, Bart Combee will start work not just as Inholland’s new Chair of the Executive Board but also as something of a student once again, ready for a new challenge from which he can learn a great deal. 'I'm very curious by nature. I love change and new developments and like being inspired by colleagues and students. In this way, we can work together to establish long-term goals that make everyone feel enthusiastic.'

He already feels at home at the university of applied sciences. No wonder: with three sons aged 16, 18 and 19 who are either already students or will soon be, as well as one resident nephew, Bart and his wife run their own ‘student house’ in Rotterdam. They are visited by a constant stream of people, friends of ‘his boys’. 'Our place is kind of an open house, an almost Mediterranean household with big tables and lots of people. Usually, by the end of the afternoon, we still don't know whether there will be four or twelve of us for dinner.'

Curious, easygoing and sociable
As someone who enjoys the company of others, Bart greatly appreciates the fact that Inholland also prioritises ‘up close and personal’ relationships. He hopes that colleagues and students will soon come to see him as ‘the same Bart’ he is in his personal life: easy to approach, informal and a sociable person who is great to work with. 'Results are important, of course, but people also need to laugh. I'm easygoing and optimistic. Curious and working on all kinds of things at once.'

Learning = daring
His remarkable switches between extremely diverse sectors reflect Bart's boldness and willingness to learn. 'I only really started learning after having had a great time as a student. I kept going to a different field or sector, taking yet another jump in the deep end. It was exciting all the same, because I was going to do something new that I hadn't done before. You really try to do your best, you learn from it and you try to make a success of it. If it works out, it gives you such a kick.'

As far as the students are concerned, Bart hopes that Inholland professionals will also be like this in their own lives. 'As a student, you learn more than one subject and continue to learn and develop throughout your career. I would also like to see students who graduate from here later having the competence to take a critical look at new developments. Ideally, in addition to having gained knowledge, they can work together and learn to work with other disciplines. Learn something, really try to do your best and don't be afraid to trip up from time to time.'


We willen professionals opleiden die goed toegerust zijn voor een steeds sneller veranderende arbeidsmarkt, en waarde bieden voor studenten en maatschappij. Van belang hierbij zijn innovatie, doorontwikkeling van kwaliteit en een steeds diverser opleidingsaanbod. En hoe we de buitenwereld nog meer naar binnen kunnen halen.
Bart Combee, collegevoorzitter Hogeschool Inholland

Doors wide open to the outside world
Bart 'can’t wait' to get started at Inholland University of Applied Sciences, working on the education of the future. 'Society is changing rapidly and becoming increasingly diverse. Education is the perfect place to open doors to the world. Not only do you come into contact with new knowledge, but also with other sections of society. I love making connections with the outside world and entering into alliances with possible partners in and (far) outside the sector. How are our needs changing, and how about those of other people? How can we arrive at a tailor-made offering of education together?'

'The coronavirus also offers opportunities'
The coronavirus situation poses an additional challenge. 'This is a tough time for colleagues and students. You can’t ignore that. I have great admiration for how Inholland staff and students, in spite of everything, did a fantastic job of dealing with this virus all of a sudden. All the same, we are learning a lot. Things that were never possible before suddenly have to be done now. You innovate faster and discover what does and doesn’t work online. Unfortunately, we have yet to get rid of the coronavirus, so we have to try to minimise the problems caused by the virus. It is important for us to learn from this, so that it will also help us to continue shaping the education of the future when the coronavirus crisis is over.'

In the coming months, Bart wishes to go on a journey of discovery together with colleagues, students and the professional field. 'Inholland's current Strategic Plan is gradually coming to an end. This is a great moment to work together to examine what path we will take in the future. We want to train professionals who are well equipped for a labour market that is changing at an increasingly rapid pace and to offer value for students and society. Innovation, further development of quality and an increasingly diverse range of programmes are important in this context, as is how to further solidify our relations with our external partners.'

'With everything we do, I hope that everyone will be able to feel at home with us and enjoy coming to Inholland, regardless of their background or origin. Speaking for myself, I'm really looking forward to that.'

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