Last Saturday night, riots took place in the Rotterdam city centre. The Turkish Minister of Family Affairs, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was refused entry to the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam and was escorted to the German border.

What followed was some fairly severe rioting in the Rotterdam city centre. The riot squad made charges against the crowd, using police dogs and water cannons; several people were injured; and dozens of protesters were arrested.

Most Rotterdammers didn’t bat an eye, which shows just how resilient the people of Rotterdam are.

The municipal authorities’ refusal to allow a foreign Minister to visit her consulate, and their decision to actually deport her, are hands down the most significant geopolitical event to take place in Rotterdam in years. In the countryside, people will probably be talking about it for weeks to come. Not so much in Rotterdam.


At least, this is my impression while I’m cycling past the Turkish consulate on Sunday morning. Some reporters are recording videos. The odd passer-by gets interviewed. After all, it is a wonderfully sunny spring day, and Rotterdam is out and about. Next to the consulate, at the Westblaak skate park, dozens of youths are skating, looking quite untroubled. A little further down, near Zadkine’s sculpture, Japanese tourists are getting off a coach, and the footpath at Erasmus Bridge is being dominated by runners, because the Rotterdam Marathon is only a month away.

This same stoic attitude is found south of the River, at football club Feyenoord. Especially this season. Last week, the club’s dream of winning the Dutch Eredivisie for the first time in eighteen years seemed to have been dealt a fatal blow. The 1-0 defeat against lowly-ranked Sparta in the Rotterdam derby resulted not only in an unnecessary loss of points, but in five injuries and a court case regarding a disastrous multi-game suspension for key player Tonny Vilhena. For a brief moment, Feyenoord seemed doomed. However, the popular club managed to stay afloat in this pool of adversity, as it did what it had to do last Sunday and beat second-string club AZ in a home game. Business as usual.

The same resilience can be witnessed on our campus as well. Due to major construction projects, the campus has been a bit of a mess over the last five years. Students have had to sit exams while piles were being driven into the soil, and at the moment, the G Building appears to be next to inaccessible. Even so, the students are not the slightest bit bothered; they study hard as usual. Even better, Erasmus University appears to be doing better than ever in the university ranking lists. So, no, you are not likely to hear a EUR student complain. That is, as long as the Hogeschool Rotterdam students with their frikandellen pastries stay the hell away.