Beel Room gets a new name; university seeks broader discussion about names on campus

22 Dec 2023

The Beel Room will no longer be in Huize Heyendael. There has been long-standing criticism of the room's namesake and his role in post-war actions of the Netherlands in Indonesia. The Executive Board has asked a committee to further investigate naming on the campus.

Starting January 2024, the Beel Room in Huize Heyendael will be called ‘The Salon.’ With this name change, the Executive Board aims to ‘create space for a broader naming discussion,’ as stated in a message from Radboud University. Among those critical of Beel as the namesake were Professor of Mathematical Physics Klaas Landsman, writer David van Reybrouck, and the people behind the Reframing Radboud project.

The Salon was the room’s original name and is now also the temporary name. A final new name has not yet been decided.

War crimes

In response to the criticism of Louis Beel as the namesake, the Executive Board promised to decide on the room’s name before the end of the year. The board has now decided not to keep the name. The decision was influenced by research from the NIOD, which has concluded this year. The report Talen van Geweld (Languages of Violence) states, ‘political leaders have remained passive in full view of and full responsibility for transgressive violence by their own military, including war crimes.’

Criticism of Beel stems from his role as Prime Minister of the Netherlands during the Indonesian War of Independence. According to Klaas Landsman, Beel was ultimately responsible for extreme violence and war crimes during this period. Author David van Reybrouck called Beel ‘an evil genius in the decolonization struggle,’ and the Reframing Radboud project labeled a painting of the politician as uncomfortable heritage.


The Executive Board aims to set up principles and criteria for naming on the campus next year. It has requested a committee for advice, composed of students, staff, and experts, to be formed in early 2024.

The university has drafted a text about Beel, including his role during the war against the Republic of Indonesia. This text will be displayed alongside the painting of Beel in the Grotius Building. The painting will, for the time being, remain on the wall.

Translated by Siri Joustra

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