In both the Netherlands and Australia the salaries of the top university leaders lead to controversy. The Australian reports that all but one of the leaders of Australia’s Group of 8 Universities earn more than 600,000 Australian Dollars (378,000 Euros). Top earner was John Hay of the University of Queensland with 655,000 Euros. But the Australian found even higher figures for La Trobe University where someone (probably the former VC) received over 930,000 Euros!

In the Netherlands, the salaries and bonuses in the public sector are a hot issue as well. Many claim that the Prime Minister’s salary should be the norm for others in the public sector. In the Netherlands that is a mere 171,000 Euros (John Howard’s salary was recently increased to 208,000 Euros). But most university leaders in the Netherlands make significantly more than that.

The new Dutch Minister for Education this week showed his discontent about the managerialism in education and the accompanying rise in salaries. He observes that most of them enjoyed enormous salary increases when they came into their current positions. And I am sure he is right about that (although that is not the case for all of them). One of the most visible cases has been the one in my own Alma Mater. Their top level managers were given a 31% salary increase, which sparked a reaction of the Minister claiming that this was ‘unbelievable’. This increase brought the salary of the Chairman of the Executive Board (more or less the CEO of the University) to 171,000 Euros. In comparison, the lowest earning VC in Australia, David Battersby of the University of Balarat (poor guy), earned over 200,000 Euros!

So how do the Dutch university CEOs compare with the Australian Vice-Chancellors? Basically, compared to Australia, the Dutch salaries are still very modest. Here is the list of the top 6 for both countries:

Netherlands (Source: Intermediair (pdf); in Euros)

1. Aalt Dijkhuizen

University of Wageningen


2. Sijbolt Noorda

University of Amsterdam


3. Rene Smit

Vrije Universiteit


4. Hands van Luijk

Delft Univ. of Technology


5. Yvonne van Rooy

University of Utrecht


6. Jos Elbers

Hogeschool Inholland


Australia (Source: The Australian; converted to Euros)

1. John Hay

University of Queensland


2. Gavin Brown

University of Sydney


3. Fred Hilmer

University of NSW

378,000 (+95,000)

4. Steven Schwartz

Macquarie University

378,000 (+63,000)

5. John Rickard

Central Queensland Univ.

425,000 – 434,500

6. Glyn Davis

Melbourne University


Don’t get me wrong! This is no justification for the Dutch salary hikes. More like a condemnation of the Australian salaries. The argument is usually that salaries have to be competitive. This argument is put forward just a bit more often when people talk about managers than when they talk about academics and professors. Australian professorial salaries average A$120,000 (75,600 Euros). I am not sure how much it is in the Netherlands but I think it will be slightly higher, or at least similar. Let’s just say that the huge gap between managerial and academic salaries in Australia better not be taken as an example for the Netherlands.

This article has 12 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Just a comment, but Jos Elbers no longer works as CEO of Hogeschool Inholland.

  2. Eric

    Correct! The list shows the salaries for the year 2006.

  3. Pingback: Academic Salaries around the World | Beerkens' Blog

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