CLMN | National Days26 April 2016
“We all need symbols in life. Whether animals we venerate, monuments we admire, or real or fictive characters we worship”, I wrote in a previous column when I was trying to identify the Dutch symbol par excellence: the fiets.
Other symbols we also need in life are those created around National Days. All around the world, a National Day is held on a designated date and various celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or of a non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming a republic, or a significant date for a patron saint (Ireland) or the birthday, accession to power or removal from it of a ruler.
As a result, most national days can be categorized in two large blocks: newer countries that commemorate their independence day (India, Indonesia, USA, Ukraine, etc. - and in general just about all former colonies in Latin America, Africa, and Asia). And older countries that celebrate events with a special significance: a revolution (France’s Bastille Day), a reunification (Germany), or a state foundation (China).
Finally, the particular cases, including kingdoms with a mobile date that is often the regent’s birthday or day of accession to the throne. Thailand, Monaco and Oman are example countries, but of course our own Netherlands is too, where Queen’s Day first on Augustus 31, then on April 30, recently turned into Koningsdag (King’s Day) on April 27 (provided it’s not a Sunday, otherwise celebrations take place on the 26th in order not to offend the Protestant minority).
Still following me? This is the day of the Orange madness with activities such as the Free Market (on that day only people are allowed to sell their junk on the street without a permit), the King’s Night the evening before, the King’s Games and the King’s Breakfast for school children which takes place days before.
Although this may all seem like medieval nostalgia, we’re talking modern times! But it’s all about creating a sense of belonging and community. For one day, everybody in Holland is the same: orange, equal and crazy. What about a day like this at the TU/e? Perhaps with just a few more colors - diversity oblige…
For a while now, TU/e student Guido Buntinx and his friend Christophe Westerveld (student of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences) have been attracting a lot of attention with their 'electric beer crates'. Limburg's regional TV station and the TV news program Editie NL also got wind of their creative initiative. The short internet videos showing them riding along on the public highways have been watched multiple times.
The Department of Applied Physics needs to make significant savings: one million euros on a total annual budget of nine million. This was announced last week Wednesday by Departmental Dean Gerrit Kroesen at a staff meeting. The draft reorganization plan must be ready by the end of November and, says Kroesen, compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out. The Departmental Council is holding talks today with the Departmental Office.
The fourth day of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia has come to an end and Solar Team Eindhoven is clearly leading the Cruiser Class. Despite earlier transport problems and the limited window for testing on site, TU/e solar car Stella Vie is performing in the outback “far beyond expectations”. With some 900 kilometers to go, a third world title seems almost a dead cert for the team from Eindhoven - but this is no time for complacency.
At this university there are students who are not taking any classes, but they are still forced to pay the full sum of their tuition fee. How is that? When you take a look at what they are doing instead of following courses, their reasons become clear. They form one of the most important cornerstones of the TU/e, they are the student board members and part of student teams.
TU/e has made a considerable leap in the prestigious international Times Higher Education World University Rankings that focus on the subject areas Engineering & Technology and Computer Science. TU/e belongs to the fifteen and eighteen best European universities on these subjects respectively. The THE ranking forms an important yardstick for government departments, policymakers and international students.