Generally, Tim van Doorne, 20, is not afraid to cycle to uni, but since the weather forecast predicted a rainy day today, he got on the metro at Oosterflank. “Actually, cycling to uni takes less time than using public transport. It takes me half an hour, which is as long as it takes someone who lives in Blijdorp.”

Economics, Law and Philosophy


Tim is following a double bachelor and master programme in economics and law. And if that weren’t quite ambitious enough, he is also following the Double Degree programme, thus adding philosophy to the mix. “At secondary school, I had a religious education teacher who would give us crash courses in philosophy during the breaks. He himself had studied physics, biology, theology and philosophy. Teaching was his calling. People like to give teachers a bit of a bad rap, but my teacher proved that this is unfair.”

Even so, Tim never considered making philosophy his main degree. “I did not consider that an option. But I don’t have enough time to practise philosophy as a hobby, either. When you’re taking a degree, you don’t feel like reading heavy stuff in your spare time, too, so I never got round to finishing philosopher Ger Groot’s book.” He decided that ‘formalising’ his interest in philosophy was the only way to keep engaging in it. “And at the end of the day, you get more interesting insights by discussing things with others, as opposed to just reading about them.”

Tunnel vision

We are so busy chatting that we forget to get off at the stop where his bike is parked, so we get off the metro at the next stop, Rotterdam Alexander, where we decide to take shelter from the rain and continue the interview while enjoying a cup of coffee at Café Wilskracht.

Tim is quite enjoying the double degree programme, he says, offering me his biscuit. “That’s partly because of my fellow students. They are all quite ambitious and smart, which motivates me.” He will not be drawn into saying what he hopes to do after graduating; he does not consider it useful. “I have a tendency to be serious, so by formulating such a long-term goal, I may develop some tunnel vision. I prefer to keep things open for the time being.”


However, he has known for a while that he wishes to spend some time in a non-Western country. Therefore, starting from September, he will spend five months in China on a student exchange programme. “I’d rather spend my money on that than on a bed-sit. But I’m not ruling out the possibility that I’ll end up living in Rotterdam at some point. Although I do enjoy being looked after well at the moment. When I get home in a bit, dinner will be ready to be served.”

“We’ll probably have fried rice or fried noodles, because last night we had pancakes,” Tim says, walking to his bicycle. The next metro is already on its way, so he quickly crosses the road, so as not to have to wait for the boom gates to open again. He waves one last time, then rides home, where he is indeed served fried noodles, he’ll tell me afterwards.