News items Royal decorations for nine Radboudians

26 April 2023

This year a number of employees of the Radboudumc and Radboud University also received a royal decoration. On Wednesday, April 26, they received a royal decoration for their exceptional scientific and/or social merits from the hands of Mayor Hubert Bruls of Nijmegen, among others.

The lucky ones from the Radboudumc are:

  • Jos Draaisma, pediatrician Radboudumc Amalia Children's Hospital: Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau
  • Mihai Netea, professor of Experimental Internal Medicine and head of the Experimental Internal Medicine Section, Faculty of Medical Sciences: Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion
  • Hennie Nillesen, assistant head of the Department of Communication: Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
  • Bas van Vlijmen, pharmacist: Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau 

The Order of Oranje-Nassau is linked to special services to society. The Order of the Dutch Lion is awarded for services in the fields of science and the arts.

Jos Draaisma, pediatrician Radboudumc Amalia Children's Hospital: Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau

Jos Draaisma has worked at the Radboudumc Amalia Children's Hospital since 1986. In addition to his work as a pediatrician, Jos Draaisma is very active in research and teaching, as well as in many developments in pediatrics. He is also very active as a volunteer in regular education. But above all, Jos is a welcome colleague, a pleasant person who is always open to help and encourage children and parents, colleagues, students, residents, nurses and all others working in our umc and beyond in an enthusiastic, warm and creative way.


Although trained as a pediatric cardiologist, Jos Draaisma has worked as an academic general pediatrician at Radboudumc Amalia Children's Hospital since 2002. His knowledge of many diseases and disorders in children is extensive, but specifically he has extensive knowledge of hereditary and congenital disorders. His special areas of interest are Noonan syndrome, spectrum disorders and children with severe multiple disabilities. Jos Draaisma is the founder of the Hereditary and Congenital Disorders Section within the Dutch Society of Pediatrics. 

In addition to this knowledge, he has a very large professional network. Many colleagues in the Radboudumc and the Amalia Children's Hospital, in our academic region and beyond, know where to find Jos for advice on giving a child the right diagnosis and treatment.

In doing so, he goes to great lengths in providing and arranging care for the child and parents: always appropriate care, long before that concept became leading in healthcare. And always in the best interest of child and parents, even outside the walls of our children's hospital. He received national recognition for his qualities as a pediatrician five times: between 2008 and 2013 he was runner-up once and first four times in the National Mednet Top Doctor of the Year election.


Jos Draaisma is also a gifted teacher, with infectious energy and enthusiasm. Within the Radboudumc, he has held many positions in teaching students, physicians, nurses and paramedics. Nationally, at the turn of the century, he co-initiated the Advanced Pediatric Life Support courses in the Netherlands. This three-day training in the care and stabilization of acutely ill and vitally endangered children, nowadays every pediatrician in the Netherlands should attend every few years.

As a trainer, Jos feels he has an exemplary role. He likes to share his broad knowledge, is always very approachable and competent in giving and receiving feedback. 

Also nationally he has changed the training of pediatricians permanently: he was the first to disconnect the training from the business management, and thus realized that assistant physicians in Pediatrics got more space for deepening and broadening. In addition, he introduced profiles in the training, allowing residents to not only train in the profession itself, but also to choose a profile, such as science, education, ethics or management. These developments have not gone unnoticed and have been adopted by other MUMCs and training programs. Not for nothing did he frequently win the title 'best educator'. Within the Radboudumc, Jos played a major and regularly essential role in developing and implementing the new curriculum in the Radboudumc and the Department of Pediatrics in particular.

Research and organization

Jos Draaisma has not been without merit in science either. The theme of his doctoral dissertation was the evaluation of clinical trauma care in the Netherlands, laying the foundation for the development of the current trauma centers in the Netherlands. Subsequently, over the past 40 years, he wrote more than a hundred scientific publications on a diversity of topics. Locally, nationally and internationally, he was and still is active in dozens of committees related to (pediatric) medicine, (youth) care, training and education. Within the Dutch Society of Pediatrics he has been a pillar of support for many years.

As board and staff of the Radboudumc and Amalia Children's Hospital, we are happy for Jos and congratulate him with this well-deserved royal honor.

Mihai Netea, professor of Experimental Internal Medicine and head of the Experimental Internal Medicine Section: Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion

Mihai Netea was born in Romania and educated at the University of Cluj-Napoca and the Radboudumc. At Radboudumc, he has been Professor of Experimental Internal Medicine since 2007. In addition to his position at Radboudumc, he holds a large number of ancillary positions at universities in different countries, all within the field of immunology. Mihai Netea is a renowned clinical researcher in the field of infections, defense against microorganisms and inflammation.


Mihai Netea spearheaded improvements in several vaccines, including vaccinations against COVID-19. Among his great achievements is the demonstration of so-called Trained Innate Immunity (TI) in humans. He caused a paradigm shift in immunology in 2011 when he discovered that our innate immune system can be trained to fight infections, among other things, by building an immunological memory. 

Over the past 10 years, Mihai Netea and his colleagues have been able to demonstrate that trained immunity is important not only in infectious diseases and for the effectiveness of vaccines, but also in a wide range of other diseases such as atherosclerosis, gout, obesity, inflammatory diseases and cancer. In doing so, Mihai has had a huge impact on research, patient care and education.

Previously, Mihai Netea made a name for himself by penetrating defenses against important pathogens, such as the fungus Candida albicans and Candida auris.

Scientific deepening

Mihai Netea convincingly demonstrated in a series of articles that microbes and microbial components (such as BCG and b-glucan) can induce TI. He also elucidated which intracellular signaling pathways are involved and, more importantly, that epigenetic reprogramming of monocytes and macrophages in particular is responsible for the phenomenon. 
Recently, Netea demonstrated that the induction of TI, using nanotherapeutics, can fight cancer and enhance immunotherapy with check-point inhibitors. 

All in all, Mihai Netea is the leading scientist in the Netherlands in large clinical trials to investigate the protective effects of BCG against SARS-Cov-2 infection. He has also initiated vaccine trials in Greece and recently in Brazil.


Not surprisingly, over the years Mihai Netea has managed to generate an impressive list of funds and grants for research. Such as the ERC Consolidator Grant for Systems Biology of Fungal Infections (1.5 million euros), the Spinoza Prize for research on trained innate immunity (2,500,000 euros), the 2000-HIV project ViiV Healthcare on 'Systems biology of HIV' (15,400,000 euros).
In 2019, Mihai Netea was awarded two large European H2020 grants for Host-Directed Therapy Sepsis and Mycology for clinical proof-of-concept trials in patients. 
He also has more than 1,000 publications to his credit.

Mihai Netea is among the group of most cited researchers in the field of immunology and among the top 1% most cited authors in the world (Immunology) in the years 2018-2020. In addition to various awards and patents, he is involved in several start-ups (including TTxD and Biotrip).

Encouraging (young) researchers

In the Experimental Internal Medicine laboratory, Mihai Netea currently collaborates with 24 PhD students, 8 post-docs and 7 analysts from all over the world. Netea maintains an impressive network of highly productive collaborations.

The Radboudumc board and staff congratulate Mihai on this well-deserved royal award.

Hennie Nillesen, assistant head of the Communications Department: Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.

Hennie Nillesen, assistant head of the Communications Department, received a royal decoration from Mayor Manon Pelzer of the municipality of Bergen. 

Hennie has been a volunteer for many years. For years (1992-2015) she held various positions for ZijActief Bergen. In 2012 she became treasurer for ZijActief Limburg, the largest women's network in Limburg dedicated to developing talents.
In addition, Hennie has been active in politics since 1997. For the CDA she held various local positions and later made the step to national politics as a board member of the CDA Women's Council. Meanwhile, she remained politically active for the CDA in the municipality of Bergen as a council member from 2011 to 2022. From 2015 to 2019 what she also states member in the Province of Limburg. 

Because of extraordinary social commitment as a volunteer in organizations, Hennie was appointed Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. 

The board and staff of the Radboudumc congratulate Hennie with this well-deserved royal honor.

Bas van Vlijmen, pharmacist, Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau

From the hands of Mayor Wobine Buijs-Glaudemans of the Municipality of Oss, pharmacist Bas van Vlijmen has also received a royal decoration. Bas van Vlijmen has a long list of accomplishments. He is an active member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie (KNMP) and vice-chairman of the Nederlandse Vereniging van Ziekenhuisapothekers (NVZA). Furthermore, he held several administrative and operational positions with the Reddingsbrigade Oss (RBO) and the Netherlands (KNBRD).
He is also secretary and general board member of Vereninging van gebruikers Golfbad Oss and secretary of Stichting Volksuniversiteit Oss. Bas van Vlijmen is also a member of the Sports Expertise Center (SEC), (vice) president and member of the Lionsclub Oss and member of the activities committee of Muziekvereniging Hartog.

The board and staff of the Radboudumc congratulate Bas with this well-deserved royal honour.

The lucky ones at Radboud University are:

  • Yvonne Benschop, professor of business administration, in particular organizational behavior, Faculty of Management Sciences: Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
  • Marijke van Beurden, professor of Orthopedagogy, Faculty of Social Sciences: Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
  • Anna Bosman, professor of Orthopedagogy, Faculty of Social Sciences: Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
  • Onno Crasborn, Professor of Dutch Sign Language, Faculty of Arts: Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau
  • Arno Kentgens, professor of Solid State NMR spectroscopy, Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science: Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion
  • Renate Loll, Professor of Theory of fundamental Interactions beyond the standard Model, Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science: Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion

Herewith the message from Radboud University with more information about the Radboud University's decorated students.

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