With queues of easily a few hundred metres of waiting students standing in the windy surroundings of Ahoy on Monday morning, it was a truly surrealistic post-corona image. After around an hour, when the hall was full and the karaoke pre-programme had ended, duo Wies and Bo opened Eurekaweek by announcing the first act, two dancers with LED torches who entertained the audience. You could read ‘Destination Unknown’ and ‘Eurekaweek’ in their quickly-rotating torches.
Next on the programme, departing rector magnificus Frank van der Duijn Schouten addressed the new students. The first years were given instructions on how they could become a good ‘Erasmian’ and Van der Duijn Schouten urged them to enjoy ‘the best time of their lives’ as ‘it will be over before you know it’.
The associations then presented themselves, with choreography by Erasmus Dance Society, the classic Skadi rowing boat and many leaping student association members. A touching video about this year’s charity, the Daniel den Hoed Family House, silenced the hitherto exuberant audience. After Wies and Bo asked the students to make an immediate donation via Tikkie, the first years all reached for their telephones en masse.
The Rotterdam song is an established tradition and was this year given a stunning rendition by two members of the Hermes Houseband. International students weren’t, however, able to get the famous Rotterdam self-mockery because the English captions for the most beautiful rotten city was translated as ‘the most beautiful city’.
Between hope and fear
Chair, Kirsten Prins closed the opening ceremony with a quick reflection on the turbulent coronavirus year, in which the Eureka week Board swung back and forth between hope and fear. But nobody can take away this first mass event.
Outside the concert hall the first years reflected on their first Eureka week event. Noami who is studying Economics, thought that there was ‘a lot of waiting around’, but was really pleased to hear so much about all the associations. “I’d maybe like to be a member of the hockey association and I’ve already registered for the EFR (Economics faculty association, ed.).” She is also considering becoming a member of Laurentius. Has she got to know her group a bit already? “There are just the three of us here now – we’ve lost the rest”, she smiled.