Honouring the first director: The CBS-KNAW becomes the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute

10 February 2017

In 1907 Johanna Westerdijk became director of the CBS-KNAW. One hundred years ago, she also became the first female professor in the Netherlands. In 2017 we honour her work and we celebrate her contribution to science. To reflect the legacy the institute builds on, the name of this institution changes to Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.

In 2017, Johanna Westerdijk started with a mere 80 living fungi in the collection. Under her inspiring leadership the collection of CBS-KNAW evolved into the largest and most all-round microbial fungal resource centre in the world, containing over 100.000 different species today.

She was a renowned multi-talented scientist, a believer in equal opportunity and inclusion and a globetrotter; a true ‘homo universalis’. She thought that fungi held a promising potential in contributing to solve the world’s greatest challenges. 

We continue to explore the world, collect new fungi and investigate its characteristics for relevant societal applications. 

The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). 

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