An ‘ordinary’ Eurekaweek – Prins can hardly believe her luck. The board did not dare to hope for this outcome. This ‘dream scenario’ was the initial scenario, but there were also other one-and-a-half metre plans ready and waiting. This is – hopefully – what the 2021 Eurekaweek will look like.

Scenarios two and three have meanwhile been shelved by the Eurekaweek board, shoved somewhere safe in a cabinet in their office inside the G building. “And there is a very big lock on it,” says Prins. “But if we have to, we will take them out. If that’s the case, there are some really cool plans ready. Still, nothing beats the plans that we can go ahead with now.” Delighted reactions from students, clubs and other partners have been pouring in since the board announced late last week that the Rotterdam introduction week would go ahead as per usual. According to Prins, tickets are selling faster than ever before.

Eurekaweek 2018

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Sunday, 15 August: International day

Once again, the afternoon for international students is back. “When you take a look at the programme, you get a few flashbacks from 2019”, Prins says. “We are back in business, and that includes the day for internationals so that they have the opportunity to get to know each other a bit already.” This Sunday is what is known as a ‘soft landing’. Students can get to know each other in a relaxed way at an information market where a lot of student associations will be present.

Monday, 16 August: Meet and greet in the Ahoy, in the city and at the Maassilo

The expected record number of first-year students will meet up in the Ahoy stadium on Monday morning. However, the five thousand first-years have to be able to show a green check mark in the CoronaCheck app. Otherwise you will not be allowed in to the Eureka events. If you have been fully vaccinated, have tested negative for corona in the past forty hours or have tested positive in the past six months (and are now symptom-free), you can be issued with a QR code. Without it, your ticket to the Eurekaweek is useless and you will have to get tested.

The Eurekaweek will inform participants on the best times to get tested for admission. “Two testing times are required, once in advance and once during the week,” says Prins. “We don’t have our own testing location in Rotterdam, but fortunately you can get tested at several places in Rotterdam. Locations are popping up everywhere.” Prins is very happy with the option of Testing for Access (‘Testen voor Toegang’). It is recommended by the Dutch ministry; it is also simple to use and the Eurekaweek board does not have to set up its own testing process. “This system gives us, as a board, so much peace of mind. There were some start-up problems over the past few weeks, but I’m sure that these will be sorted out by mid-August.”

After the opening ceremony in Zuid, the programme includes lunch on the Binnenrotte. After that, the budding students will set off with their groups. They will be sent questions or assignments via the Eurekaweek app, and if they fill in the correct answers, the participants are then directed to the next location. “This is a blend of 2020 and 2019”, Prins explains. “Last year, we were able to try new things out and the game with the app has remained. However, students are now more spread out throughout the city. This is how we can prevent larger groups forming and show students more of the city. The highlights of Rotterdam are really not just concentrated in the city centre.”

True to tradition, the first full introduction day will end with the opening party. It remains to be seen whether it will be held in the Maassilo again. “The Maassilo is currently a large vaccination location”, Prins clarifies. Those who still feel like celebrating after the opening party can turn to the student associations. The associations also have to work with Tests for Access when they hold large parties. “We don’t have to draw up separate agreements with the associations. They themselves have to meet the requirements if they want a permit from the municipality of Rotterdam.”

Tuesday, 17 August: Campus Day off-campus

Tuesday is Campus Day, although part of it will take place off-campus. “There is a lot of construction work being done on the campus; everything is laid out in the open. Even more so in the summer. So, this year, the information market will have to take place somewhere else. It will be held in the vicinity of the campus, but the exact location is still being worked out. All stallholders must also have a QR code from the CoronaCheck app.” Students will be on campus during this day for the tour and the faculty opening.

Participants will be served lunch and dinner. “Behind the scenes, we are constantly working on sustainability, although we want to convey this to the students as well. We have a huge impact because we are consuming stuff all week long.” Lunch is vegetarian throughout the whole week. For two of the four evening meals, students can opt for meat. “Eating less meat cuts down on a lot of emissions, especially with upwards of 4,500 people at a time. The students, guides and crew all get to eat too, of course.”

Students will come back to the Ahoy on Tuesday evening for the beer cantus. “It’s great that this can be held again”, says Prins. “We’re going to fill the room with beer tables and a band will play all evening. French, Spanish, Dutch (the ‘Rotterdam song’, for example) and especially English songs. And German, of course: ‘Trink, trink, Brüderlein trink! Laß doch die Sorgen zu Haus!

This is what the beer cantus looked like in 2019

Singing, yelling and roaring at the cantus in Ahoy

An evening of unabashed singing and drinking in Ahoy.

Wednesday, 18 August: Festival and nightlife

There will not be a sports day on Wednesday this year, but a festival instead at the Lloyd Multiplein in Delfshaven. “In this socially-distanced scenario, we would have two festival days. Half of the participants would have the festival on Tuesday and then the campus day on Wednesday, the other half the other way around. We already had to arrange the festival. That’s why the festival was moved to Wednesday to be able to switch easily between scenarios.”

Wednesday night is for exploring Rotterdam’s nightlife. Restaurants and bars in Rotterdam will be welcoming students at various locations. “There, they can sing karaoke, do pub quizzes or play music bingo, for instance. The cafés are free to fill in the details themselves. Participants visit two places which are fairly close to each other.” Participants who do not feel like going out can join the parallel programme. “This is for anyone who doesn’t like loud music, doesn’t want to drink alcohol, doesn’t feel like going to a crowded party or wants to find something more laidback. We are therefore also working on something that’s not as massive where you can get to know each other in a more relaxed setting.”

Eurekaweek 2018

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Eurekaweek 2019

The Eurekaweek 2019 takes place from 19 to 22 August. Erasmus Magazine provides the news…

Thursday 19 August: Sports and 'literal fireworks'

On the last day, the new students can play sports at the PAC athletics club in Kralingen, although ‘sports’ is perhaps a rather generous word. During the sports day in 2019, the field was full of inflatable toys and there was twister and beer too. The student sports associations get to choose which games they will bring. Erasmus Esports brought several computers to the athletics club back in 2019.

And on the last evening is The Night of The Songs. This year, the closing party is once more being held on the Willemsplein, at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge. “There we will have real fireworks”, Prins states about the party and the actual fireworks that are set to end the week. “The fact that we can all stand together at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge is really cool. It is such a beautiful location. You can see the whole skyline from there.”

The board is starting to feel a little nervous, Prins notes. “We still have six weeks to make everything even more fun, cooler, and grander. It is getting really close now. When I see all the registrations flooding in, I think: they are really coming. All 4,500 participants will soon be gathered here in Rotterdam!”