AEGEE oldie Fabian Vendrig may be Dutch by origin, but his heart belongs to the Balkans. Especially Serbia and Macedonia became a second home to him. The Golden Times asked Fabian about his passion for the region, his task as Les Anciens activities coordinator and the New Year event in Belgrade, which he is currently co-organizing.

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Fabian on top of Korab mountain

Golden Times: Fabian, where are you right now? Macedonia, Serbia or the Netherlands?
Fabian Vendrig: I am in Macedonia, in the bus from Ohrid to Skopje at the moment. With working Wifi – I love it!

Golden Times: You are a huge fan of Serbia and Macedonia. Why?
Fabian: I am indeed a huge fan of Serbia and Macedonia, but also of Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, actuallly I like the whole former Yugoslavia. The people are very hospitable and the nature is beautiful. The region has a very interesting history and not everything seems what it is like on first sight. If you talk with the people and read about the region then you discover that the image which most people from Western Europe have about this region is not the right image.

Golden Times: Was there one big event or moment that made you fell in love with the region?
Fabian: First time I visited the region in 2004 on a private trip. Then I visited Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and UNMIK-Kosovo. I felt immediately in love with the region and it’s people, nature, culture and customs. Serbia and Macedonia are both my favourite countries.

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Fabian’s taste in music is very wide.

Golden Times: You also learnt Serbian. How well do you speak?
Fabian: Govorim malo srpski, mislim moj srpski nije los nije dobar. I speak indeed Serbian, I think it is neither bad nor good. I can help myself and have a little conversation. I am still learning the language.

Golden Times: And now you are organising a New Year’s event for AEGEE oldies in Belgrade. What are the dates and the programme highlights?
Fabian: We will start on 28th of December and it ends on 2nd of January. Highlight will be of course New Year’s eve which we will celebrate in a traditional Serbian kafana – sort of restaurant. Very interesting will be the excursion to a winery annex rakija winery. Dimitrije Stamenkovic, our newest Les Anciens member, is the main organiser. He has a lot of contacts in the tourist sector and a lot of experience in organising AEGEE events, so we cannot have it better than him being main organiser. I came up with the idea, but I am happy Dimitrije is now the main organiser. We will have a great event!

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No, this is not the Balkans, it’s Bratislava

Golden Times: Are there still places for the event available?
Fabian: We have sent an e-mail over the Les Anciens mailing list with all the information. Of course there are places free. In order to apply, go to members.anciens.org/community and click on New Years Event Belgrade.

Golden Times: You also love mountain climbing, a sport that you cannot really do in the Netherlands. Which was the last mountain you climbed?
Fabian: Lako signoj was the last mountain I climbed and it is situated in the Galicica National Park. It is around 1975 meters high and you have a beautiful view to Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, Greece, Albania and Macedonia of course. Last Sunday I climbed the highest mountain of Macedonia and Albania, which is mount Korab, altitude 2754 meters.

Golden Times: And which was your favourite?
Fabian: My favourite is Korab, I climbed it three times already.

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Fabian was virtually everywhere, also in Ukraine.

Golden Times: What do you think about some mountain hiking event for AEGEE oldies? Is that on your to-do list?
Fabian: Yes it is already a long-time idea and I have friends in Ohrid, who are professional mountain guides. They organise such trips so it makes it much easier to arrange something. Of course such an event will be different than the standard Les Anciens events.

Golden Times: You are Les Anciens event coordinator since June. What plans do you have for your two-year term?
Fabian: I like my task to coordinate and to stimulate the members to come with fresh ideas for new events and to organize them themselves. I cannot do that alone, therefore it is fantastic that Dimitrije as our newest member organises a splendid New Years event. We want to attract also our newest members to our events, like what happened in Armenia for example.

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Fabian is a very passionate photographer

Golden Times: How is the cooperation in your board?
Fabian: Simply great.

Golden Times: You recently had a board meeting. What are the plans of your board?
Fabian: We discussed what was discussed on the Les Anciens Agora in Malta this year and we will work out those plans as the Agora decided.

Golden Times: Some words about you: how old are you, where do you live and what do you work?
Fabian: I am 35, living in s’-Hertogenbosch and working for Acer Computers.

Golden Times: When were you active in AEGEE? Which antenna?
Fabian: From 1997 till 2002. My antennae were AEGEE-‘s-Hertogenbosch and during the last year AEGEE-Tilburg.

Golden Times: Do you still follow what AEGEE is doing today?
Fabian: I rarely follow AEGEE. My AEGEE period was finished when I left the association.

Golden Times: Anything you would like to add?
Fabian: I invite all Les Anciens members to come with ideas and proposals to organise an event. It does not cost a lot of time and I am here always for your support.

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