Dutch Minister of Science visits ESO facilities in Chile
10 January 2024
This week, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, visited ESO facilities in Chile at La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. While visiting for the official inauguration of the BlackGEM telescopes, a Dutch-Belgian project hosted by ESO at its La Silla Observatory, Minister Dijkgraaf took the opportunity of being in Chile to tour all of ESO’s observing sites. At Paranal Observatory, he was also able to visit the nearby construction site of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope.
During his visit, Minister Dijkgraaf was welcomed by ESO’s Director General Xavier Barcons. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Mirjam Lieshout-Vijverberg, Vice President and representative for the Netherlands on the ESO Council, and Amina Helmi, also a representative for the country on the ESO Council. The official inauguration of BlackGEM at La Silla also included the participation of the Dutch and Belgian ambassadors to Chile and BlackGEM’s project leader Paul Groot, of Radboud University and the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA).
The Netherlands has continuously played an important role in ESO’s history — in Leiden, in the early 1950s, a group of astronomers first discussed and committed to a shared European Observatory. In 1962, the Netherlands became a founding member of ESO. From 1979 until 2006, the Dutch 0.9-metre telescope and its wide-field camera were installed at La Silla. Furthermore, Dutch researchers and engineers have made numerous contributions to ESO.
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