For chair Sander Doude van Troostwijk, Tuesday evening’s press conference by Mark Rutte confirmed what he had already feared. “Some details had already been leaked, and we were expecting such a ban,” he says. “It leaves us with mixed feelings; the clarity we now have does provide a sense of certainty.”
When it became clear that the corona crisis would find its way to the Netherlands, the Eurekaweek board started considering alternative scenarios. “A few of those we can now forget about, as large meetings are certainly not allowed,” says Doude van Troostwijk. The chair is assuming that at least some sort of activity will go ahead in August. “We are now working on the scenarios left to us in greater detail.”
Greater use of Eurekaweek app
What these scenarios entail, Doude van Troostwijk will only say once they’ve been finalised. “The digital aspect will have an important part to play. We already had an app for the Eurekaweek, which we will now make even greater use of, amongst other digital initiatives.” He’s also keeping in mind the possibility that the allowances for large gatherings might increase in the coming months. “We will have to wait and see. It’s clear, however, that it won’t be a party with 5000 students like we had in other years.”
Anticipating alternative scenarios, the board has not made any large financial commitments, says Doude van Troostwijk. “That was the advice we got straight away: ‘postpone whatever you can’, which is what we did. The pre-registration for participants is already open, but that will only give them a notification if the actual registration process starts.” No registration fees have been paid yet, so the Eurekaweek board won’t have to refund anything. Recruitment of guides and crewmembers will continue in the meantime.
At the beginning of April, Executive Board Chair Hans Smits told Erasmus TV that the Eurekaweek would ‘definitely go ahead’. “A lot needs to happen before we cancel that, unless the government prohibits it outright.”