The Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) is part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and dates back to 1913 when the ‘Nederlandse Handelshoogeschool’ was founded to fulfill the demand of businesses for structural problem-solving using scientific methods. This venture was stimulated by the big Port of Rotterdam which was attractive to many companies operating in the field of logistics and port economics, thus forming the name ‘Handelshoogeschool’ which translates into Commerce College.
The name of the college changed to ‘Nederlandse Economische Hogeschool’ (Dutch College of Economics) in 1939. This was done after commerce and economics was recognized by legislation as ‘science’. The College soon gained fame worldwide, mainly after Jan Tinbergen (1903-1994), together with the Norwegian Ragnar Frisch won the first ever to be awarded Nobel Prize in Economics¹. Tinbergen was a physics and methematics graduate from Leiden who tried use scientific models from physics to tackle some of the economic problems. He also founded the Econometric Institute at the EUR in 1956 and the Tinbergen Institute (TI) that was founded by the EUR, University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the VU University of Amsterdam (VU) was named after him in 1987.
Soon after World War II more and more Schools/Colleges opened their doors in Rotterdam, one of which was the medical school (1966), currently known as Erasmus Medical Centre. That same year the business school Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) was founded, regularly chosen by Elsevier as the best business school. As the first Dutch university to be named after a person, the Erasmus University Rotterdam was founded in 1973 from the merger of the medical school and the Dutch College of Economics
Today the EUR consists out of seven Schools and two research institutes (ERIM and TI). The RSM is the largest School with the most students and is generally best known. The Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), formerly known as Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen (FEW), is considered to be the School that is closest to the roots of the EUR. A strong characteristic of the ESE is the Port Economics with research bound to the Port of Rotterdam, one of the reasons the Commerce College was founded in 1913. The ESE has therefore produced a lot of research in the field of transport and industry.
Mission & Vision
The ESE considers economics to be a “hard to master discipline” and wishes to be internationally renowned. The School wants to output scientific knowledge from an economic perspective to tackle economics issues that are relevant for businesses. In contrast to other Dutch economics school that often combine economics with business management, the ESE has chosen for an exclusive economic perspective as part of its strategy. (The Mission of the ESE).
The School currently offers 4 undergraduate programs, 5 graduate programs and 2 research programs. For a full overview of key figures such as the (under)graduate programs, students and research go to (the key figures of the ESE).
¹ Critics argue that the name is a misnomer, in that economics is not a true science, as science is a process of formulating models that predict outcomes in a natural system under certain conditions, and then testing them to see if the future predictions agree, which is not possible in economics.