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About the Hoboken Lecture

The home of the Hoboken Lecture is the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, which is housed in Villa Dijkzigt, the former 19th century residence of the Van Hoboken family. The Villa is located in the Museum Park, a vestige of the former grandeur of the Hoboken Estate. Each year, an outstanding British scientist (or scientist working in Britain) will be invited to address a wide audience, including students, academics, entrepreneurs and professionals. The Hoboken Lecture used to be in the Park Room (Parkzaal) - the main exhibition hall in the museum which could accommodate an audience of approximately 200 guests, but now houses a permanent exhibition about urban nature. From 2014 the venue is the auditorium of the Kunsthal, right next to the museum. 

The Hoboken Lectures demonstrate the role scientific research and cultural activities play in understanding modern society and reposition the debate where it firmly belongs, in the public sphere of engaged and committed citizens. The audience has plenty of opportunity to respond to the speaker and contribute to the discussion. 

The Hoboken Lecture is now in its seventh year. The first three lectures were given bij Lord Martin Rees (2011), Richard Fortey (2012) and Chris Stringer (2013). In 2014, professor Michael Benton lectured about 'The greatest mass extinction of all time'.  The fifth Hoboken Lecture featured archaeologist and molecular geneticist dr Turi King who spoke about 'Unearthing King Richard III: From Bones to Genes' telling the remarkable story of the search for the lost grave of King Richard III and the scientific analysis which led to the identification of his remains. In 2016 Dave Goulson explained the various reasons why bumblebees are declining and discussed the many ways that we can help to ensure that all types of bees have a future.

In 2017, the seventh Hoboken Lecture will feature Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG. She will speak about the history and future of Antarctica’s climate.

The Hoboken Lecture is organised by the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam), in partnership with the British Council, the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen and Codarts - the internationally reputed Rotterdam Conservatoire. De Volkskrant is our media partner. Nijgh kindly desiged the Hoboken Lecture logo. As of 2014 the venue of the lecture is the auditorium of the Kunsthal, our much respected neighbour in the Museumpark.

Inaugural programme

On 9 March 2011, the first Hoboken Lecture invigorated the connection between Art and Science, by combining a public lecture by the celebrated Lord Martin John Rees, with a musical interlude by students from Codarts - the internationally reputed Rotterdam Conservatoire, who performed selected pieces from Haydn's repertoire of music. In 1957 Anthony van Hoboken made an inventory of Haydn’s work, the so-called Hoboken Verzeichnis and since then the Hoboken family has been linked to the music of Joseph Haydn. 

Here is a slide show of images from the first Hoboken Lecture taken by our photographer Niels de Zwarte.

Watch a short video of the first Hoboken Lecture here.

Hoboken: circle of excellence

The local council in Rotterdam is keen to revive the Hoboken area, named after Anthony van Hoboken, the 18th century Rotterdam shipping magnate, and is using this to trigger the launch of the Hoboken District – an architectural and urban project. The Hoboken District will unify different parts of Rotterdam by creating a large public space between three parks, several museums and the Erasmus University Medical Centre, the main city hospital. The boundaries of this area are marked by Westersingel, the Nieuwe Maas/Westerkade, ‘s-Gravendijkwal and Oude Binnenweg. The area is distinguished by a high concentration of top institutes for culture, education and research,  including the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, de Kunsthal, the Erasmus Medical Centre Science Boulevard and the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.