The culture of student associations is now officially recognised as intangible cultural heritage. According to the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, drinking, hazing and mores of the club are traditions that should be protected.

The intangible cultural heritage list comprises hundreds of items that are considered as national cultural heritage. Student association culture now stands among the various floral parades, cigar-making in IJsselmuiden and the Tielsche Kermiskoek (Dutch carnival cake). The Varsity student rowing competition also figures among these.

The National Chamber of Associations (LKvV), which represents 48 student associations in twelve university cities, submitted an application and made a plan to pass on this cultural heritage to future generations. The application was approved.

Drinking, mores and hazing

The tradition has many forms, because associations are all different. The National Inventory mentions in a press release such things as “the regular drinking, the mores and the hazing”, but also stimulating member self-development.

The LKvV prefers to emphasise the possibilities for self-development (“organising, managing and taking responsibility”) and the life-long friendships that are created.

Under pressure

The culture is under pressure because students need to obtain their degree certificate more quickly and studying has become more expensive, stated Ruben Hoekman, Chair of the LKvV: “The number of students in higher education has multiplied, ambitions are higher, study requirements are stricter and the basic grant has been replaced by a student loan system.”

Having the student association culture added to the National Inventory offers extra support, according to the LKvV.