Student life

Student rugby club Thor and Municipality of Delft in court over clubhouse

The arrival of the Laga rowing club in the Nieuwe Haven means that Thor’s floating clubhouse needs to move. The rugby players are not happy about this, so they went to court.

Thor’s floating clubhouse in the Nieuwe Haven. (Photo: Justyna Botor)

A piece of land in the Nieuwe Haven for a clubhouse or for a car park. This choice is at stake in summary proceedings by student rugby club Thor and packaging company Hordijk against the Municipality of Delft. Both Thor and Hordijk want to occupy part of the land, but rowing association Laga has been granted permission instead.

The Municipality claims that Laga is the only serious applicant. An important reason is that the rowing association needs both land and water, and the rugby association is not tied to water. Nevertheless, the student rugby players would like to keep their boat in the Nieuwe Haven as a clubhouse. Furthermore, Municipality spokesperson Suzan Snels explained that Hordijk’s plan to use the land for parking does not fit the Municipality’s policy.

Another reason that the Municipality wants Laga to move to a new place is that its current location on the water too busy, and therefore unsafe. On top of this, the residents close to Laga have been complaining about noise (in Dutch) for a years. The Municipality believes that this would not be a problem in the Nieuwe Haven.

On Tuesday 19 September, Thor and Hordijk were in court in The Hague to fight the Municipality’s decision. Their main argument was that the Municipality had bought the land with the intention of moving Laga, while a selection process for candidates could also have been done. In that case, Thor would have expressed its interest, says location committee member Jesse Hols.

‘We want a place where we can stay for at least 10 years’

Thor had been informed in 2019 that the Municipality did not foresee space for them in the Nieuwe Haven in the future. In 2022, the students heard that their mooring permit had not been extended. Since then, Thor has been looking for alternative locations and came up with a plan to stay in the Nieuwe Haven. But as the rowers need a jetty and a walkway, there will be no more space for Thor’s clubhouse.

Spokesperson Snels stated that the Municipality has had various meetings about the situation and has even appointed a project leader. This person suggested two alternative locations for Thor’s boat: a temporary berth on the other side of the Schie; and, a permanent location next to Hordijk’s storage facility. However, given the flammable products in storage, the second option was not feasible. Thor was not keen on the first option. “We want a place where we can stay for at least 10 years,” explains Hols.

The Municipality reasons that Thor can also use the sports canteen at X, TU Delft’s sports and cultural centre. But Thor places great value on its boat. “The mugs, photos of old teams, and the club’s historic timeline create a feeling of unity among the members,” says Hols. Furthermore, he believes that having its own clubhouse helps the association keep the membership fees and prices of drinks low.

Delta tried to find out how Laga views the court case, but the rowing association said that they did not wish to comment as they are not a defendant in the case. The judge will pass verdict on Tuesday 3 October.

News editor Bas Koppe

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