As with every election, EFR, the school association of the Erasmus School of Economics, will be organising that debate in partnership with the current affairs programme EenVandaag. The leaders of six parties, Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD), Frans Timmermans (GroenLinks/PvdA), Geert Wilders (PVV), Rob Jetten (D66), Pieter Omtzigt (NSC) and Caroline van der Plas (BBB), will be taking part in the debate on Monday 20 November. They will be debating propositions on immigration, climate change, the economy and socio-economic security in front of a room full of students. A number of videos will be pre-recorded in which students give their views on one of the propositions.

A trial run is already underway for the debate. Students have been asked to take the places of the politicians.

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Plenty of security, walkie-talkies and fifty pizzas. Behind the scenes at the EenVandaag Election Debate

The day of the EenVandaag Election Debate started out very relaxed for the students…

Recruiting volunteers

As member of the activities committee, Economics student Thijs Hoevers is responsible for organising the event in partnership with the EFR board. EenVandaag will be handling the content, and Hoevers and his committee will be in charge of the organisation surrounding the event. Hoevers also was involved in organising the debate for the provincial elections in March, acting as a stand-in for one of the politicians on the stage during the run-through ahead of the debate, among other things.

On 20 November, he will be responsible for logistics. “I’ll be responsible for organising who stands where at what specific time and ensuring everything runs smoothly.” Until that time, Hoevers will be busy promoting the event, getting Ahoy ready and recruiting volunteers. “We need about twenty or so, mostly to scan tickets.”

Breaking with tradition

For the first time, the debate will be taking place at Ahoy – it was previously always held in the Aula at the Woudestein campus. The new venue is bigger and can host almost twice as many students. This break with tradition is also related to the security arrangements of the politicians involved, which have increasingly become more expensive and more complex, says Hoevers. “Politicians regularly have to deal with threats, which means that security is an issue that has to be taken seriously.”

Ahoy has more experience with security arrangements for such gatherings. “Important events, Dutch celebrities, groups of fans. At Ahoy, they’re used to accommodating that many people at once and making effective arrangements. They’re used to a higher level of security than a university.”

1500 tickets

The most important task Hoevers and his fellow organisers have at the moment is to make sure the venue is packed. The venue at Ahoy has one advantage in that regard: “We now have an opportunity to get more students involved in politics, because can sell 1,500 tickets instead of 800.” Last week, half of the tickets had already been sold – within a single day. Hoevers hopes to be able to sell the rest of the tickets, which is why EFR members are promoting the event on campus. He is also in contact with other education institutions in Rotterdam: “Politics affects everyone, so we feel it’s important that those students are involved too.”

Tickets are available via the EFR website and cost 12.50 euros. The doors will open at five o’clock. The television recordings will take place from a quarter past six to seven o’clock.