A spectacular 400th birthday!

gepubliceerd : 20 June 2014

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Last Saturday the moment finally arrived: after a full month of events, the RUG threw an epic party to end the celebrations of their 400th birthday! One thing is for sure, it was a birthday we could all be jealous of. For one day the entire city centre was a place for celebration. In case you missed it, no worries! We were there and love to share our experience with you. 

The Bommen Boatrace
That the RUG is a great institution to study is certain, but last Saturday it demonstrated that it is quite sporty as well! In a sizzling rowing contest all the way through the majestic Groninger canals, four universities and the teams of two student rowing associations took it up against each other. Now what was going on? Last weekend the first Bommen Bootrace took place. The Bommen Boatrace is the ‘Groninger’ version of the renowned Boatrace on the Thames that takes place in London every year between the rowers of Cambridge and Oxford. For this special edition, in honour of the lustrum of the RUG, the alumni teams of Cambridge and Oxford came over to Groningen to join the game. They took it up against the teams of the student rowing associations Gyas and Aegir, the teams of the University of Munster and a team consisting of professors of the RUG. Even the Dutch Olympic teams from ’96 and ’72 (consisting of merely old associates of Aegir) cradled back in a boat for this memorable first edition. The tension was high, but the atmosphere fantastic. Around the canals in the grass and on the bridges, student and Stadjer had gathered to cheer for their favourite teams. The professors of the RUG ended up last, but oh well.. You can’t be good at everything right? 

Alumni weekend
That Groningen is an awesome student city of the Netherlands is a long passed subject. This weekend was the alumni weekend and the high attendance proved that you’ll never forget your time in Groningen. An enormous amount of alumni of the RUG came together to revive and rake up the passed times. As the RUG stated: ‘a trip down memory lane’. Yes, your parents and grandparents were young as well. Just imagine it might be you standing there, in 30 years! Something to look forward to right?

Masquerade
The masquerade used to be a lustrum tradition. Students would disguise as important historical figures and present themselves to the public. Together they created a massive procession through the city centre. Throughout the whole province people would come to Groningen and enjoy the spectacular views. The last masquerade took place in 1914. Now, exactly 100 years later, the tradition was called back into life. The parade is a part of the masquerade. Seven suburbs, seven artists and fifteen student associations gathered and worked together to create a modern version of the tradition. Still, after 100 years, the streets were packed and the people looked in awe as the parade passed. 

Performances
Later at night the party reached an epic peak. On the Grote Markt, the Vismarkt and the Waagplein several stages were set up for some amazing artists. On the Vismarkt there was a line up of upcoming bands and the evening was finalized with a brilliant show by one of Netherlands’ finest, the Jeugd van Tegenwoordig (a massively popular hiphop group in the Netherlands). On the Waagplein there was an ‘IKEA-lounge’ where you could enjoy some food and drinks as the sounds of soothing jazz music caressed your ears. The Grote Markt was pretty much the ‘main stage’. Over here Bert Visscher, (an immensely popular comedian from Groningen) presented the evening. All the artists performing on the Grote Markt were former Groninger students. Under the guidance of a considerable orchestra, Ellen ten Damme, Splenid and Bløf gave the best of themselves. We, as seasoned students, could imagine that they all looked back on the days that they roamed the city centres after having a couple of beers.

By Anouk Theunissen