The ceremony starts by the defender giving a short description of this thesis to the audience from a Podium in front of the chapel. Led by the Pedel, the promotors and opponents enter the chapel from the back and march to sit in the choir seats. For forty-five minutes the opponents, one at a time, ask hard questions to the defender about his thesis. At the end the Pedel reenters the chapel marches to the front, hits her staff on the ground and says "Hora Est" (Time has expired). The opponents and promotors march out of the chapel to a discussion room where we vote on the defense and sign the thesis. We march back in, present the diploma where the promoters read some traditional text and give a short speech.
The ceremony is followed by a receiving line and reception with dinner later on.
Call me a romantic but I truly enjoy the pomp and circumstances that accompany the Dutch defense sorely lacking in the American counterpart.