The traditional opening ceremony will be held at the Ahoy conference centre this year, rather than at De Doelen. The closing party will no longer be held at the Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence Church), but at an outdoor location. “We are busy getting all the requisite permits. Once we have got them, we’ll tell you where the party will be held,” says Maaike de Keulenaar, the President of the Eureka Week Organising Committee. Not all students will be able to have dinner at bistros and student societies. Therefore, all the guides (group leaders) will have to cook one meal at their own place. To this end, they will receive a completely vegetarian meal kit that will help them serve dinner to the first-year students under their guidance.
The fact that the guides will be forced to serve as chefs is a direct consequence of the large number of attendees. It is also a consequence of RSC/RVSV’s suspension, since RSC/RVSV is not allowed to participate in this year’s Eureka Week. Which means one less dinner location.
The changes are such that the Eureka Week organisers have rejected a proposal to allow even more people to sign up for the event for now. “A memo was drawn up stating that the number of spots available will be increased to four and half thousand in the future,” De Keulenaar explains. “That’s too much of an increase for now, but eventually we want everyone to be able to take part.” In previous years, many first-year students had to be told they would not be able to take part in the activities because the enrolment capacity had been reached.
Eureka Week of the future
The number of attendees has doubled in the last ten years, although we will not know the exact number of students taking part in this year’s event until 1 August. “Students are enrolling at such a rate that we expect to be able to sell nearly all the available tickets,” says De Keulenaar.
She laughs at the number of attendees in years past. “The number has grown in such small increments. From 1.800 in 2009 to four thousand in 2018. Back in the old days, people had to show up at the university to buy their tickets. Thankfully, they can now do so on line.”
This year the organising committee managed to change ‘a few things’ about the event’s opening ceremony. What exactly these changes constitute will remain a secret until 20 August. “For instance, we have another director, because the setting will obviously be completely different. Ahoy’s largest event hall has a capacity of 6.700, which is a bit of a change from De Doelen, where we always needed two rooms to be able to fit everyone in.”
More parties; fewer hours to drink beer
Per tradition, Rotterdam’s student societies open their doors after the Eureka Week’s general programme and throw parties. This year, a few study societies will be throwing parties, as well. “Not all attendees will want to join a student society, so for that reason we have asked the study societies to organise some events, as well. A few societies will be doing just that. And it’s a good thing there will be more parties to attend, because there will be more people to attend them, as well.”
Since one quarter of all attendees will be from outside the Netherlands, ESN (the society for international students) will be hosting a separate party for its members. The international students should be able to understand the rest of the event’s programme, though, since all activities will be completely in English this year.
It should be noted that ‘more parties’ does not necessarily equal ‘more beer’. Taps will open later this year. From now on, freshers will not be allowed to start drinking beer until 2pm, as opposed to 12 noon. “We simply think it’s better this way,” says the President of the Organising Committee.
Eureka Week’s organising committee has implemented certain measures to ensure the safety of the guides and crew, which was all the more important because a guide died during the 2017 Eureka Week. “Naturally, we have safety and security measures for everyone, but we definitely want guides to look after themselves and each other better. During their training sessions, they not only learn to look after the participants, but after themselves, too. We also wish to hire temp workers to erect structures. This year’s Eureka Week will be so much bigger than previous editions that our crew won’t be able to manage everything on its own.”