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Lustrum: making connections
Lustrum: making connections Making connections

Lustrum 410 behind the scenes

The academic year has started, and the preparations for the university’s anniversary are in full swing! The University of Groningen will celebrate its 410th anniversary in May 2024. In this monthly blog, we will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the organization of the lustrum.

Gerhard Taatgen
Photo: Gerhard Taatgen
A celebration is not complete without… cake!

As the University of Groningen prepares for its 410th anniversary, one important element should not be missed: (eating) cake!

A Bake Off will take place on Tuesday, May 21st at 3PM at the Academy Square (Broerstraat 5). Students, employees and Groningers will present their tastiest and most beautifully decorated baking for the jury to judge.This will happen right after the opening of the Lustrum which takes place on the same square!  

The winner of the previous edition in 2019, during the 405th anniversary, was Jasper Hidding.

He decorated his cake with red marzipan and the lustrum logo. The inside showed all the colors of the rainbow. “The ultimate anniversary cake,” said jury chairman Sarena Solari, who was very enthusiastic about the taste and appearance of the cake. “A light and creamy butter cake, which is difficult to get just right”

Will you be Jasper's successor? Register via the link!

We challenge you to bake a cake that is not only delicious, but also tells the story of this year's theme: 'Making Connections'. Get inspired by the different cultures and people who give the university her unique character!

A jury of experts

The creations are judged by a panel of expert jury members: Inge Sikkens-Derks (participant tv-programme ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ 2022), Lenka Duongova (student and chef at Premealing), Remco Kouwenhoven (Head of Alumni Relations), Jacquelien Scherpen (Rector Magnificus) and Ruben Wagenvoort (Student assessor).

They will judge the cakes for taste, presentation and of course the most ingenious interpretation of the theme.

The Grand Prize: A pink KitchenAid

The Bake Off winner won't go home empty-handed. The grand prize is a beautiful pink KitchenAid mixer - every home baker's dream and a colorful addition to any kitchen, provided by one of our sponsors. 

Drop by!

Are you not a great baker of cakes, but would you rather taste them? Come by to visit the Bake-Off. Visitors can come and taste the cakes or other delicacies such as petit fours and macarons for free.

Previous blog entries

Making (International) Connections

Making (International) Connections

International connections and diversity are invaluable. During the lustrum celebration, we embrace this with the theme 'Making connections.' But what is there to do during the celebration as an (international) student? And what is it like to be an international student at the University of Groningen? Read about it in this month's blog.

At the beginning of each semester, the University of Groningen welcomes new international bachelor's and master's students in Groningen and Leeuwarden. This year, the Welcoming Ceremony took place at the MartiniPlaza, and the Lustrum Bureau was also present!

activity 'making connections'

The presence of international students contributes to enriching intellectual and cultural diversity. Additionally, international students serve as cultural ambassadors who build bridges between different countries and cultures, thereby strengthening the university's international connections.

Event: The Making Connections Lunch

Event: The Making Connections Lunch

During the lustrum, all events are open to everyone, so you will be able to attend every event. In addition, a cultural lunch will be organized. What better way to bring people together than with a delicious meal and a nice drink? The cultural lunch will take place in the garden of the academy building and will celebrate diversity through food culture. Each participant will bring a meal that is meaningful to them. In groups of 6, each person will present the meal they prepared and explain its significance. This lunch is the perfect opportunity to explore new cuisines and meet people from different countries!


Meeting new people in a different country can be challenging. One of the ways to participate in the community and meet others along the way is by volunteering! For the lustrum we’re looking for volunteers. Can you spare a few hours in the week between 21st and 25th of May? Sign up as a Student Volunteer through this link:

Our student-assistant Johanna will tell you more about life in Groningen as an international student:

Can you tell us something about yourself?
I am a recently graduated Bachelor student in International Relations from France, where I grew up very internationally with my German-American parents. In September I am starting my Masters in Human Rights Law here in Groningen, and am currently working as a student assistant for the Lustrum!

What is it like to study and work in Groningen as an international student?
Groningen is a very international city, so I have felt very at home from the start. Everyone speaks English, there are no communication issues and that is so enjoyable as an international student. I did decide to learn Dutch eventually, but I have never felt as though it was a necessity both for my studies as for my work - whether here or at previous employments - everyone was always able to adapt to English! So it’s a very nice experience to study here in Groningen, even as an international student.

What is your task within the lustrum bureau?
I am mainly working with Yasmin on the Vintage Markt, specifically focusing on the Plant Swap. I also help out with translation a lot - which I’ve always enjoyed doing. Other than that, I support the rest of the team where help is needed.

What does a day at the lustrum bureau look like for you?
I usually work Tuesdays and Fridays, and those days are really fun. Either we have meetings, or I work on refining the plans, getting outside collaborations to participate and have their own market stand. I usually end up also spending at least 30 minutes on our puzzle that we have on our conference table together with my colleague Anne. We are still not done, but there are just some details we can’t get right!

Which activities of the lustrum programme are you most excited for and why?
I am definitely most excited for the Vintage Markt. It’s been such a fun process to start from scratch and now start finalizing ideas and putting them into action. I think a Vintage Markt speaks to many different people and I am looking forward to seeing that interest in person. But overall I truly think that there are so many fun events coming up, that I am just excited for the whole week!

Making Connections - Looking back

Making connections during Sports and Games

The new (lustrum) year has begun! On behalf of the Lustrum Office, we would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2024.

During the transition to the new year we often take a moment to reflect on the past year, but also set resolutions and goals for the coming year. "Exercise more", "Dry January", "Improve my health" are goals we hear often. Sports, in any form, is a ritual in the daily lives of many Groningse residents and students. Therefore, a sports event can’t be excluded from the Lustrum program.

In fact, sports and games activities fit perfectly within the lustrum theme "Making Connections”. After all, sports and games are not only good for your health and mood, but also for your social contacts and cultural awareness. By playing sports together you get to know new people, you learn to cooperate, communicate and respect each other. Sport is thus an excellent way to make connections between different people and cultures.

On Wednesday, May 22nd, a sports event will be held at the ACLO. Throughout the day, you have the opportunity to sign up for workshops on unique sports. You can register both as a group and as an individual, making this an ideal moment to try out a new sport!

In collaboration with the Groningen Student Cycling Association 'Tandje Hoger,' students and staff of the University of Groningen will complete a cycling route on Saturday, May 25th. The 80 km route will take you from Zernike through the provincial landscape and unique historical locations, including the birthplace of Aletta Jacobs.

Our student assistant Jorrit can tell you more about these events:

What is your role within the lustrum committee?
As a student assistant within the lustrum, I primarily focus on fundraising and the cycling tour. In addition to these activities, I provide support to the rest of the team as needed.

Can you tell us about the bike route?
The idea to organize a cycling tour originated from the bike tours held during previous lustra. It's always good to showcase the athletic side of the university, and we do that by organizing the cycling tour and sports day. In collaboration with G.S.W.V., we plan an approximately 80-kilometer route that starts at the Aletta Jacobshal, passes through the Drenthe village of Norg, and goes to the birthplace of Aletta Jacobs in Sappemeer. There will be a break here before the cyclists return to Groningen. With this tour, we aim to honor Aletta Jacobs, an important figure for the RUG.

Who are Tandje Hoger?
G.S.W.V. is the student cycling association of the city of Groningen. Enthusiastic cyclists can join Tandje Hoger for weekly cycling training, clinics, and other bike-related activities. Under the theme of the lustrum, "Making Connections," we thought it would be fun to collaborate with Tandje Hoger, combining the knowledge of both organizations to organize a fantastic cycling tour.

Where does your passion for cycling come from?
I used to go cycling often with my father, exploring the forests of Norg. Sometimes we participated in cycling tours in the Netherlands. When I was in high school, I cycled 13 km every day from my house to Groningen. I often turned it into a sport to get home as quickly as possible. Now, during my student days, I am more of a fair-weather cyclist, and the bike stays in the closet during the cold winter. Based on my experiences with other cycling tours, it seemed like a lot of fun to organize one myself.

Who can participate in the bike route?
Everyone! We hope to attract as many students, staff, and residents of the city as possible for the cycling tour. The approximately 80 km route is manageable for novice cyclists but still challenging for more experienced riders. So, I would say, sign up!

Which lustrum event are you looking forward to the most?
I'm, of course, looking forward to all the events of the lustrum week, but my favorite activities are the cycling tour and the Open House of the RUG. In these last two activities, my passions as a cyclist and history student come together beautifully.


Making Connections - Looking back

Making Connections - Looking back

This year, we celebrate the 410th anniversary of the University of Groningen, marking the 82nd Lustrum. Many celebrations have preceded us. In this blog post, we look back on previous lustra and share insights into the special connections with individuals and other organizations that we have built over our 410-year history.

Lustrum 80 & 81 (400 & 405 years)
The theme 'Making Connections' has surfaced in previous lustra. During the 400th anniversary, the University of Groningen (RUG) collaborated with the Groningen City Club on a photo exhibition. Under the direction of photographer Sacha de Boer, the exhibition showcased the interconnection between the university, the city, and the region. Ten art photos and fifteen documentary photos were on display, covering themes such as healthy aging, energy, and sustainability. The exhibition, held in the city center, depicted both societal issues and RUG400 events organized in collaboration with regional partners. This strengthened the university's commitment to establishing meaningful connections within the community.

In the 405th year of the University of Groningen, an international scientific conference titled 'Growing together: celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion' was organized. The event strongly aligned with the theme 'Making Connections' and emphasized the importance of unity in bringing about societal change. It celebrated the richness diversity brings and encouraged active appreciation for it. With speakers from around the world, the conference provided an exciting platform for connecting different perspectives. By discussing topics such as social inclusion, diverse societies, ethics, intersectionality, and inclusive education, the conference actively promoted connections, mutual understanding, and a shared commitment to creating an interconnected and inclusive academic community and society.

The University of Groningen awards various prizes and honors to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to society, science, and academia. During the lustrum, the Ben Feringa Impact Award will be presented, and the Ceremony of Merits will take place on Tuesday, May 21. On Friday, May 24, honorary doctorates will be awarded, and on Saturday, May 25, we will celebrate Alumni Day!

Honorary Doctorates
Honorary doctorates are conferred upon individuals who have made a remarkable contribution to society, science, or politics. The tradition of awarding honorary doctorates dates back to 1615, when the university was known as the Provincial University (1614 - 1815). The Album Studiosorum Academiae Groninganae, published in 1915 by the Historical Society in Groningen, lists all honorary doctorates from the early years of the university.

Many notable names appear on this list, including Jantina 'Tine' Tammes. In 1911, Jantina Tammes became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen. She was the first female professor of genetics in Groningen and the second female professor in the Netherlands. Today, her name lives on within the university under the Jantina Tammes School of Digital Society, Technology & AI—a community where academics, researchers, and students from around the world collaborate on solving complex issues related to digitization and technological innovations.

Alumni are former students and graduates of the University of Groningen. The Alumnus of the Year award is presented annually. The award serves as both an expression of appreciation and encouragement. This year (2023), Takudzwa S. (Taku) Mutezo is the Alumnus of the Year. After completing a degree in Environmental Law at the University of Groningen, Taku works as an environmental lawyer, advocating for nature conservation, combating international wildlife crime, and practicing sustainable agriculture with her own urban farm in Zimbabwe. A deserving winner of the Alumnus of the Year award!

On Saturday, May 25, during the lustrum week, Alumni Day will be celebrated. We encourage alumni from around the world to return to Groningen on this day. Visit your old favorite pub, student house, and association. Connect with your former classmates and professors. On this day, the Alumnus of the Year 2024 will also be announced.

Ceremony of Merits
During the Ceremony of Merits, the University of Groningen annually awards prizes to students and researchers who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements. It also recognizes individuals who have made valuable contributions to the university in the past year. The first Ceremony of Merits took place in 2022, but the awards have a longer history. The event is a merger of two previous events—the Summer Ceremony and the December Dinner. The December Dinner was intended as a token of appreciation and gratitude for efforts throughout the year, while the Summer Ceremony was when the awards were presented. These two events are now combined into the Ceremony of Merits. Our Event Manager, Samantha Janssen, is a key member of our team and has comprehensive knowledge of the Ceremony of Merits.

What does a day at the Lustrum Bureau look like for you?
Every day is different; as an Event Manager, I work on various events simultaneously. One day, I may be on the road for a site visit, and the next day, I could be having an enjoyable conversation at the office with someone contributing to one of the events, such as the hosts of the pub quiz or an international student who wants to be on the jury for the baking competition.

Can you tell us more about the Ceremony of Merits?
The Ceremony of Merits is relatively new. It is essentially a fusion of two different events—the Summer Ceremony and the December Dinner. The Summer Ceremony was primarily intended for awarding prizes and awards, while the December Dinner aimed to highlight and thank people for their contributions over the past year. These two events have been merged into the Ceremony of Merits.

What is your role in this event?
During the last edition, I organized almost everything. In the previous year, a colleague organized the ceremonial part in the auditorium, and I, along with Judith, was responsible for soliciting nominations, sending out invitations, overseeing the welcome, dinner, and entertainment. When you, as an invitee, enter the academic building, you should feel special, get a 'wow' feeling. You are welcomed with a glass of bubbles, walk over the red carpet into the venue, and have your photo taken by the photographer in front of a large welcome board with your name on it.

How are the nominations determined?
Depending on the size of the department or faculty, 12 to 20 people are nominated. It is up to the board or the head of the department to decide whom they want to nominate—not only scientific staff but also education-supporting colleagues, students, and, for example, the GUF100 winners, are invited.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am also looking forward to the Baking Competition; I have fond memories of the edition five years ago! There are so many enthusiasts baking cakes; I can't wait to see (and taste ;-) ) what will be submitted to this edition.

What is your favorite cake?
I am a true cheesecake fan, especially with red fruit. Unfortunately, I am not part of the jury.

What is your current favorite song?
Currently, I really like Burna Boy & Ed Sheeran with "For My Hand."

Making Connections - a student perspective

Making Connections - a student perspective

On average a lustrum is an event that students experience only once during their studies. But what can they expect from it?

Of course, the theme, Making Connections, is nothing new for students. As a student in a new city, you are always making new contacts. You build a new social life, join a sports, cultural and/or social club and also try to build a professional network. The lustrum can therefore be a great time for many students to reflect on these connections and celebrate them together.

In addition, the lustrum also offers the opportunity to step out of your "student bubble." You can meet students from other faculties or members of other associations, as well as make contacts with professors and other employees of the RUG and, of course, Stadjers. It gives students a chance to gain new knowledge, share their own knowledge, but perhaps more importantly, it gives them a chance to have new experiences and make new memories.

Lustrum student-assistant: Yasmin

Who are you and what is your role in the team?

My name is Yasmin, I'm a 24 year old law student at the University of Groningen. My main task consists of assisting the Lustrum coördinator and event managers. For example, right now I'm working on setting up a Pre-event with USVA and a Vintage Market on the Tuesday of the Lustrumweek. I also assist the communication advisor with writing stories for the blog. During the lustrum itself you can probably find me at all the events assisting anywhere I can.

How does a day at the Lustrum office look like for you?

My days vary from meetings with co-workers or other organizations to hours behind my computer, doing online research or fine tuning the plan of approach for the event. There’s never a dull moment at the Lustrum Office, I love being creative and brainstorm with my co-workers.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I may be biased… but I'm looking forward to the Pre-Event at USVA (on Saturday 18th of May) and the Vintage Market (on Tuesday 21st of May) the most. Knowing all the fun stands, stores and organizations that will attend the Vintage Market I'm confident it will be an enjoyable afternoon. The Pre-Event is in collaboration with USVA, they have a beautiful cultural community center at Munnekeholm. Together we will organize a clothes swap, host professionals to teach about upcycling and pimp damaged clothes and there’s also a donation corner. Attendees can hangout at the café as well and enjoy the tunes mixed by a DJ. We want Students and Stadjers to come by and give their clothes a Second Life in any way possible. In my spare time I myself like to be busy with clothing and trends. I think a Clothes Swap, upcycling old clothes or donating items that don’t fit me anymore is a good sustainable way to give old clothes a new life.

What is your favorite song at the moment?

Such a difficult question, I can’t choose a favorite song at the moment! My taste in music varies a lot, I listen to pretty much every different genre based on how I am feeling that day. However, I recently got a sneak preview of our Lustrum song, it has a very catchy tune to it. It’s stuck in my mind.

Frederika - lustrum coordinator
Who are you and what is your role in the team?

My name is Frederika and I fulfill the role of lustrum coordinator. This basically means that I am responsible for planning the content, but I also manage the implementation and execution of all aspects of the programme and I have to keep an eye on the budget of course. The board has put aside a sum of money over the course of five years to organize this 410 year celebration. The lustrum committee already started planning the programme in 2022, and now it is up to our team to ensure that everything runs smoothly. My tasks mainly include the tactical aspects, it is a challenging but fascinating role that I thoroughly enjoy.

How did you put together the lustrum office?

I had an idea beforehand about a division of different tasks and what needed to be done. Based on that framework, we started looking for the right people. Communication was important, but also creativity and looking at which people could complement each other. You need people with a lot of ideas but also people who are good at organizing and planning, for example, you also need an event manager and input from (international) students. The lustrum is for everyone! Students, staff, citizens, alumni and our business relations. Diversity was therefore very important, our team consists of men and women of different ages and from varied backgrounds.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I am really looking forward to the entire week, to see the result of all of our combined efforts. The entire programme is packed with fun things, and it is hard to choose a specific highlight. But if you make me choose, I think the vintage market on Tuesday wil be a good combination of sustainability and is attractive for students as well as staff. In addition, every day promises to bring something special whether it’s honorary doctorates, music performances, or, for example,the Open House on Saturday where music, food, dance, cabaret, spoken word and some academic talks will showcase all aspects of University Life! We invite all staff, studentsand Groningers to be present and enjoy the atmosphere. It will be a varied and fun week and I myself can not wait to experience it all!

What is your favorite song at the moment?

Abba - Super Trouper

Last modified:09 April 2024 09.37 a.m.
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