Student life

Humans of the OWee: Delft mayor hopes for joy and respect

Who are the people making the OWee possible? We meet them in this series. Mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt welcomes new students and hopes they will abide by her ‘golden rule’.

Marja van Bijsterveldt: “You would not be wrong in saying that it is a major challenge to make sure that everything goes according to plan. Luckily this works out every year.” (Photo: Municipality of Delft)

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What does the OWee mean to the city of Delft?

“The OWee is a good start for students’ university life. Students can get to know both the city of Delft and the campus. It is also good for the people of Delft as some of the residents are also invited to some of the events. There is an information market where the sports and cultural clubs in Delft show what they do. And the most important point, they meet others.

We consider this important as you can form a group that you can socialise with and are not alone right from the start of their studies. They also have the opportunity to learn about the norms and values that we have here in Delft. They can see how we can live together comfortably in our city and what type of things students can come up against in this new phase of their life. The programme on Thursday will go into this in more detail.”

What is the city’s involvement in the planning and execution of the event?

“Various departments of the municipality were already involved in the OWee preparations a couple of years ago. Their input ranges from things like the permits that are needed, advice about suitable locations in the city, and coming up with a bicycle plan as we need to think about where to leave all those extra bicycles. There is a working group that looks into preventing problems. We are also thinking about how we can involve residents and how we can inform them as best we can.

‘We are doing everything we can to make this OWee a good one again’

The OWee Board consists of eight students that are working really hard to create a good OWee. They are doing most of the work and are the face of the OWee. Around them is a whole battery of committees and companies. So you would not be wrong in saying that it is a major challenge to make sure that everything goes according to plan. Luckily this works out every year.”

The OWee is a week earlier than usual. Can you elaborate on the reason behind this decision?

“This year the OWee will be held between Sunday 13 August and Friday 18 August 2023. This is the Municipality of Delft’s preference as the OWee then falls in the school summer holidays. It avoids problems of noise as children have to be fit for school and people need to go to work the next day.

The OWee attracts about 4,600 young first year students who roam around Delft and familiarise themselves with the city. The OWee is an annual lively event with a lot of information, meet-ups, music and fun. We cannot deny that the week creates problems in some places for the people in Delft. We want to avoid this of course and it is why the Municipality, TU Delft, the police and various student associations are involved in both the preparations and during the week itself and everything possible is done to avoid any problems. I am proud of the efforts that go into it and want to thank everyone involved.

We are doing everything we can to make this OWee a good one again for the students and the city. To do this, we at the Municipality and TU Delft are working on this together.”

What would you like to say to the incoming students attending the OWee?

“Of course, a warm welcome to the students of TU Delft, The Hague’s University of Applied Sciences, and InHolland to the Netherlands’ best student city. You are on the eve of your life as a student in Delft. A new phase of life.

‘Come home as late as you want, but respect the peace and quiet of your neighbours’

Countless students that went before you in Delft think back warmly to this phase of their lives. They developed their talents in Delft. They hugely expanded their knowledge. They made friends for life. Your years in Delft will be important ones.

This OWee’s theme is ‘A gold standard’ and there is a golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated by them. It means that you can enjoy your student life to the full with your friends. You can come home as late as you want, as long as you respect the peace and quiet of your neighbours.

I hope you have a golden time in Delft. And I hope this continues in your time thereafter. And who knows, a new phase in Delft may start when you finish your studies. Not as a student, but as an entrepreneur, innovator, academic or scientist. Or as the neighbour to a group of new students.

But for the next few years, enjoy your time in Delft, enjoy the city, your new friends, and get going on your studies! Create knowledge, share knowledge, expand knowledge. Go for gold.”

Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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