It Started in Amsterdam: Happy 30th Anniversary, Summer University!

The current SU logo doesn't reflect the aspect of tuition.

The 2nd of July 1988 marked a turn­ing point in AEGEE’s his­to­ry. At this day, the very first Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty took place – it was a Dutch lan­guage course orga­nized by AEGEE-Ams­ter­dam. The title of the event: “Ams­ter­dam, cul­tur­al melt­ing pot of Europe”.

Alto­geth­er ten cours­es took place in the pre­mier year of AEGEE’s sig­na­ture project. These were the cours­es at one glance:

  • 3–16 July 1988, Orleans: French lan­guage
  • 3–17 July 1988, Barcelona: Span­ish and Cata­lan lan­guage
  • 4–15 July 1988, Milan: Ital­ian lan­guage
  • 4–15 July 1988, Hei­del­berg: Ger­man lan­guage
  • 8–21 July 1988, Kiel: Ger­man lan­guage
  • 10–24 July 1988, Paris: French lan­guage
  • 17–31 July 1988, Sevil­la: Span­ish lan­guage
  • 18 July – 2 August 1988, Madrid: Span­ish lan­guage
  • 1–15 August 1988, Toulouse: French lan­guage

The Gold­en Times asked Jeroen Hooger­w­erf, Hon­orary Mem­ber of AEGEE-Europe and in 1988 Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Ams­ter­dam, about his mem­o­ries of the very first Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty.

Jeroen Hooger­w­erf in 1990.

GT: Jeroen, how impor­tant was organ­is­ing one of the first SUs for your anten­na?
Jeroen Hooger­w­erf: We were asked by the first coor­di­na­tor of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project, Daisy Kop­mels, to have a Dutch lan­guage course. She came from AEGEE-Ams­ter­dam, and we thought it was a very good idea.

GT: Mak­ing an SU was quite dif­fer­ent from the clas­sic short con­fer­ence, a new direc­tion for AEGEE. Did every­one in your anten­na like the idea?
Jeroen: We did not see it as a leisure-ori­ent­ed event, but more in line with exchange of cul­ture and lan­guages, fit­ting the goals and idea of AEGEE.

GT: You offered 35 places. But only 15 peo­ple came. was the top­ic Dutch lan­guage not attrac­tive? Or did you reject many peo­ple?
Jeroen: No peo­ple were reject­ed. But it was the first course. So I think we only had 15 appli­cants. In any case we were hap­py: 15 stu­dents came to get some knowl­edge of Dutch, which is not an easy lan­guage to learn.

The cov­er of the SU book­let of 1988.

GT: You offered a Dutch lan­guage course for begin­ner and inter­me­di­ate. Did both lev­els take place?
Jeroen: As far as I know only the begin­ner lev­el took place.

GT: Was it hard to find accom­mo­da­tion or to make a pro­gramme?
Jeroen: All peo­ple were accom­mo­dat­ed at stu­dent hous­es. As it was sum­mer hol­i­days, local orga­niz­ers had the keys to stu­dent rooms from oth­er mem­bers. Also the pro­gramme was made eas­i­ly. There is a lot of Dutch cul­ture in Ams­ter­dam.

GT: Who were the lan­guage teach­ers?
Jeroen: We worked with NT2-teach­ers, mean­ing “Ned­er­lands als tweede taal” — Dutch as sec­ond lan­guage. They were pro­fes­sion­al teach­ers from the Uni­ver­si­ty.

GT: What about the social part? How were the par­ties?
Jeroen: Of course we had a big social part. For exam­ple, we had BBQs, par­ties and went to famous dis­cos.

You can down­load the first SU book­let here.