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Dancing and integrating at the same time

International classroom at UM

 

Nothing else will get you warmed up better for a great summer than a lovely day in the sun with the finest music and DJs. This is the text on the website pitching for Summer Deejays, a music festival at the Griend for students, next Friday. An ideal warm-up, undoubtedly true but what is more important, is the fact that the organisers – members from debating society Praetor – are not just targeting Dutch students but also foreign ones.

“Right from our first edition in 2008, we’ve tried to bridge the international gap between students in Maastricht,” says Roderick van den Brink (22), third-year student of Economics. “Praetor organises it, but we have never made a big point of that, because foreign students - and especially the Germans - shy away from debating societies and student associations. Besides, it is an event all on its own.”

There were 1,500 visitors last year, 500 of whom were foreigners, Van den Brink estimates. “The divide between Dutch and foreign students in Maastricht is so deep that in the beginning we did not even know how to reach the foreign students. For the past few years we have been working with Strictly Vinyl, two students from Berlin who organise German parties in Maastricht and who also act as DJs.”

What music will be played at the festival, considering the differences in taste? “That is a delicate matter. The Dutch like house, mainstream, whereas Germans prefer pounding techno. We try to find something in the middle, like melodious techno, or tech house. It can’t just be booming, because then the Dutch will stay away.”

Why those divided worlds? Unknown, unloved, says Van den Brink. “We may be in the same tutorial group, discuss all kinds of things, but that is study. Outside that we do not mingle. That is why so many Germans still think that we are a bunch of boozers and that our associations are debauched clubs.”

 

Maurice Timmermans

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