As in olde times – Eternal glory

Thirty wooden plaques adorn the walls of rowing club Laga’s boathouse. On each plaque there are five names written in red, elegant writing against a white background.

These are the names of the club heroes who achieved eternal glory by winning the Varsity race. Specifically the king’s number: the Old Four, the boat rowed by the club’s best four rowers plus the coxswain. The first of Laga’s 30 victories dates back to the first ever race, in 1878, when Laga beat the Leidse Njord crew.
In addition to the races on the water, the corps student associations also fight their battles on land. The Laga memorial book, published in 2001, captures the essence of the corps rowing events in three words: ‘moddergooien (mud-throwing), kroegjool (pub fun) and brassen (competition
between corps student associations)’. According to Laga’s current president, Joost van der Weiden, the atmosphere now is a bit better-behaved: “Nowadays the Varsity is a serious race, which you can only win with rowers of Olympic caliber. Of course now and then some clumps of mud are thrown about, and after races people do steal each other’s club flags, because the Varsity is after all still a student rowing race.”
According to some, the winning of the Varsity race is more high profile than winning an Olympic medal. The Varsity race winners receive a gold medallion and club membership for life. Moreover, the winning student association invites everyone back to their own club for a night of brassen.
One question remains: when will Laga – which triumphed for the last time in 1997 –  once again win the prestigious Varsity. Van der Weiden: “It won’t be long now. I’d bet in 2011, but who knows, maybe Laga will even win this year.” The 127st edition of the Varsity rowing race is on 11 April on the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal, in Houten. 

Who needs a guest writer, when the TU has its own novelist in-house. Willemijn Dicke, an associate professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM), is earning critical acclaim for her recent debut novel, entitled ‘Mea’. Dicke is also one of the most widely-read bloggers in the country, with the NS magazine ‘Rails’ proclaiming her site ‘one of the five best literary blogs in the Netherlands’. Dicke’s specialist subjects at the TPM faculty include policy, organization, law and gaming. 

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