AEGEE members face a tough choice this year: there will be more than ten New Year’s events organised from Las Palmas and Tenerife in the Atlantic Ocean to Tyumen in Asia. One event with a lot of traditions is the New Year’s event by AEGEE-Utrecht, which will take place from 29th of December 2018 until the 3th of January 2019. One of it’s highlights is the New Year’s Dive into the ocean – hence the title “Dutch Dive into the New Year”! You wonder how that feels like? Mireille Voorendt from AEGEE-Utrecht answered this and more questions, together with the team of organisers!

Golden Times: How does it feel to dive into a freezing ocean?
Mireille Voorendt (smiles): To dive into a freezing ocean is just like really, really, really cold! It is the perfect literal fresh start of the new year, the perfect hangover cure. Because you are doing it with so many people it is also just really fun! This Dutch tradition started in 1960 in Zandvoort when a swimclub decided to start the year fresh with a plunge in the sea. The new year’s dive received national attention after a big soup brand decided to sponsor it. From that moment on, the amount of participants and locations has increased every year and now more than 25,000 people do it each year!

GT: Does it take a lot of courage?
Mireille: Nope, everybody can do it! We do a warming up with dancing and moving before, and when you run into the sea with thousands of people, you just get overwhelmed with excitement. You also get a nice, warm orange hat to keep you warm in the cold water and afterwards you also get some “erwtensoep” (split pea soup), which is also very dutch. And be sure, your hangover will be solved after it! The train ride back is always a nice time for a nap, everyone covered in blankets and orange hats…

GT: How many times have you done it?
Mireille: For me it will be my third time, but for a lot of the organisers it will be the first time too!

Unox Nieuwjaarsduik 2018 | Aftermovie

GT: The New Year Dive is a fixed part of every New Year’s event of AEGEE-Utrecht – do all participants take part?
Mireille: In the past years I think maybe maximum one or two of the participants did not participate. Of course it’s your own choice, we will not force anyone! Even for the not so daring amongst us, it is a perfect day out because the sight of all those shivering people in front of the Dutch sea is a entertaining sight to see.

GT: Your event is more than just this show of courage. What are “oliebollen” – how do they taste and how do you cook them?
Mireille: Oliebollen are literally oil balls. To prepare these you cook them in oil to make them nice and fat. It is like a fried donut but different. You mostly eat it with powdered sugar and most of the time there are raisins in it. It is really satisfying and the perfect stomach base for all the alcohol that follows. We also eat something that we call an “appelflap”, this is a apple turnover with, of course, sugar. It’s the last day of the year, so do not worry about your diet!

Check the view from the Domtower, the highest church tower of the Netherlands!

GT: Which other specifically Dutch new year’s customs will the participants learn?
Mireille: For a lot of people having a “gezellig” NYE will mean listening to music and eating fat stuff with their family and friends. We will try to recreate this vibe! Have you ever heard of the Dutch “stamppot”? We will listen to the Top2000 charts, we will look at the fireworks, which is something a lot of Dutch people do themselves. We will do the countdown with the oliebollen and champagne. And then of course we visit a kick-ass New Year’s Eve party with other AEGEE-Utrecht members.

GT: What are the other programme highlights will you offer the participants?
Mireille: We will go to Amsterdam for a day, we will go to a typical Dutch windmill, do some volunteering to start the new year off properly. Then we will show you Utrecht, climb the Domtower, which is the highest church tower of the Netherlands, and we will get to know each other through a lot of things like games, pubcrawls and parties! And did we mention the Dutch cheese tasting yet?

GT: Lodging will be in a hostel – sounds more comfortable than a gym. How did you manage that?
Mireille: Thankfully we have a good connection with this cosy hostel in the city center. It is so close to everything that you can literally crawl home after the parties. The lady who runs the hostel is so happy to receive all these European young people, and because of the good relationship we manage to offer three meals per day, instead of the normal two!

GT: How much the event cost, when does it take place exactly and when I the application deadline?
Mireille: This event by AEGEE-Utrecht costs 180 Euros with an additional fee of 21 Euros for the Amsterdam trip. It takes place from the 29th of December until the 3th of January and our application deadline is the 20th of November – on Intranet and Google form. However: if you write a kick-ass application, we will except you already before the deadline! So apply apply apply!

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AEGEE-Utrecht is waiting for you!