It takes a while before the HeartBeat Festival at Erasmus Plaza really picks up, but with the help of beer and live music, there’s enough to enjoy – particularly later on the warm Monday evening. The Partysquad gets hundreds of students bouncing on the floor of the festival site.

Semi-famous DJs are working hard to get the students and staff members who’ve showed up in a party mood. But it’s not really gelling – which means that the large festival site remains rather empty, with most punters hanging back near the bar. Still, the festival-goers are having a fine time with beer and pizza. It’s only later on in the evening that the revellers start moving towards the stage, where The Partysquad show that they can still draw a huge crowd.

Sandro Hutmacher (18), International Bachelor Communication and Media

Image credit: Jack Parker

“I’m really enjoying myself at the festival, most of all because I’ve met so many new people. But I’ve also run into old friends from my previous school. Which means I get to know their new friends too. The HeartBeat Festival is an excellent location for expanding your network. This evening, we’re thinking about going to an ESN party or some other place downtown – it depends on how busy it will be. I still have a week of holidays left, so I intend to really party down over the next few days. And I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself: I’ve lived in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and this town definitely has the best student scene.”

Susana Mendes (17), International Business Administration

Image credit: Jack Parker

“The HeartBeat Festival isn’t my first acquaintance with Erasmus University: I’m here to have fun with a number of fellow students whom I met during Eurekaweek. That included attending The Night of The Songs at St-Laurenskerk. What I don’t get about the Netherlands is that people actually party in a church. I mean, who parties in a church? I’m from Portugal, and that would be unheard of over there. The Dutch convert churches into restaurants, flats – I find it very strange. And they actually left up the church ornaments during the party! I have mixed feelings about this – I find it quite shocking.”

Image credit: Jack Parker

Max van Bavel (19), Medicine

“At my student house, we have a ‘house evening’ every Monday. Each week, we try to do something special with all the housemates. And this week, it’s the HeartBeat Festival. We’re here for The Partysquad; we’re going to have a bash. Everyone at our house is a fan. Maybe we’re going to the after-party afterwards, but it will take a few more beers before I’m game. I’m trying not to go all-out, since I’ve just had a whole week of lectures. And tomorrow I have to be back in the dissecting room at 11 a.m.”

Zeineb el Guada (24), Culture Studies

Image credit: Jack Parker

“I was already here this morning, because I heard Mayor Aboutaleb would be speaking, but unfortunately, I was too late for a ticket. But luckily, the HeartBeat Festival is a lot of fun too. I couldn’t name any other university that opens the academic year in such grand style. For most people, today was the first day in a long while that they had lectures again, so it’s great to be able to round it off here. I feel a bit too old to really go wild, but I’m really enjoying myself nonetheless. We’ve definitely had enough to drink.”