Professor Klazien Horstman shares a meal with independent sorority Schanulleke
They’re wrecked, the four students from the independent sorority Schanulleke. Last night they partied the night away during the annual Chic Sat Club Night at the Mondial club in Beek. Myrthe Bovendeaard even kissed “a very nice someone”. Kissed? That’s an understatement, according to Dana Vervloet. “They were wrapped around one another.”
Vervloet is on the quiet side this evening. She didn’t manage to eat today, let alone make it to class. Evie Verschuur, likewise, went straight back to bed after her tutorial. Only Merel van Zuiden, who left the party “early” – at two am – put in a full day at het school. But it was a good party, not least because “everyone comes in normal clothes”, Bovendeaard explains, rather than society jumpers and dinner jackets. That way they’re incognito, as it were. “You can mingle without being put in a box.” And: “Clubs that might otherwise ignore you because they think they’re too good for everyone else – we’re not one of those – will strike up a conversation.”
Zuurvlees. It smells delicious in the kitchen of the Capucijnenstraat 41b. Bovendeaard, who got through the day on a few crackers, may be excused from missing her classes – she’s prepared a full three-course meal. When Professor Klasien Horstman arrives, bearing flowers that are placed in water, it turns out the ladies have thought long and hard about the table setting: the professor is given the best seat and ceremoniously placed at the head of the table. She begins by asking what everyone studies. And she has done her homework on Schanulleke: “I saw some really funky photos on your site, everyone in dresses. I thought, should I be wearing a skirt?” They’re not that fancy, comes the reply – only when someone turns 21, then the whole club dines out in style.
Horstman never joined a student association herself, and asks what they actually do. They eat a lot, says Van Zuiden. And they drink, and together with three other associations they run Studentencafé de Beurs. This year they’ll also take a trip together to celebrate the club’s twenty fifth anniversary. Do they ever talk politics?, the professor asks. With the elections coming up, they do, and as often happens over the course of the evening the comments tumble out in quick succession. “Wilders won’t win”, Vervloet says. “I find Jesse Klaver way too overdone, with those rolled-up sleeves and everything”, Verschuur chimes in. Van Zuiden and Bovendeaard bring up the film by Arjan Lubach: “America first, the Netherlands second. Hilarious.” Verschuur asks whether they have seen the photo of the German Carnival float with Wilders, Le Pen, Trump and Hitler. “The caption was Blond ist das neue Braun.” And suddenly they’re onto voter IDs: Van Zuiden recently moved and is worried hers is still floating around somewhere, while Bovendeaard has “sort of lost” hers. In short: yes, they talk politics from time to time. And they do plan on voting. As does the professor, who is tossing up between D66 and GroenLinks.
As the courgette soup with salmon and cheese crisps arrives on the table – “very good”, says the professor – the conversation turns to “Maastricht syndrome”. Horstman looks around quizzically. “The women in Maastricht are sexually frustrated because there aren’t enough men”, Verschuur explains. “Oh, so you were in luck yesterday”, Horstman replies, grinning in Bovendeaard’s direction.
The students talk freely, sometimes sharing inside information that only confidantes can follow, but don’t ask a lot of questions of their guest. When the conversation moves from Van Zuiden’s hotel internship in Dubai to the difference between the Emirates and Saudi Arabia (“Emiratis are much more open”) to religion, Verschuur asks: “Are you religious?” No, laughs Horstman. “I’m a heathen. I come from the Veenkoloniën and was raised on peat gin, scepticism and anarchy. When I was 18 I had a Catholic boyfriend, and I was intrigued by all those rituals. They were quite free – could go out, drink, come home late – as long as they went to church on Sundays. I also quite enjoy some of the Bible stories, it’s a kind of literary tradition. A while back I was in Bogota, Colombia, at a church service. It was very slick, very professional, very American, with a band. Four thousand people would show up to every service, seven of them per day. It was fun, swinging, and for the people there it was very emotional. My neighbours cried their eyes out. The church plays a role in national political debates there, but at the level of the people it’s about the community, about getting together on Sunday mornings.” The students have barely ever opened a Bible. But you can find one in every hotel, says the hotelier Van Zuiden. Why is that?, asks Verschuur. “Because you’ll have forgotten it”, Van Zuiden replies. Bovendeaard prefers fairy tales. Horstman: “Those are also all about the moral of the story.”
“Is there peperkoek in that? And sugar? And syrup?” Verschuur sounds a tad suspicious on being presented with a plate of zuurvlees and fries. “That’s the idea, it’s a Limburg recipe”, says Bovendeaard.
The professor has one final question. “Say you don’t feel like going to a sorority evening. Can you skip it?” No, the students reply in unison. It’s compulsory. If you really can’t make it you have to go to the president, and she decides whether you can skip an evening. Van Zuiden: “People often play the uni card and say they have a tutorial.” “If there are no rules you’ll be stuck at the pub with just five people”, Vervloet explains. “Sounds like a tutorial”, Horstman decides. “All those attendance requirements.”
Klasien Horstman * 58 * professor of Philosophy of Public Healthcare * lives part time with her partner, one son
Myrthe Bovendeaard * 20 * third-year European Studies student at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences * member of independent sorority Schanulleke
Merel van Zuiden * 20 * third-year student at Hotel Management School * member of Schanulleke
Dana Vervloet *19 * first-year student of Biomedical Sciences * member of Schanulleke
Evie Verschuur * 21 * second-year medicine student * member of Schanulleke
Stars awarded by Prof. Horstman (max five stars):
Food: 5 stars “Fantastic, my genuine compliments”
Hospitality: 5 stars
Cleanliness: 5 stars “Very clean, although the toilet could do with a look”