Hubble honored with AOR's original inauguration plaque

Hubble Community Café has gained an heirloom. Beside the bar on Thursday afternoon Joep Huiskamp, policy officer and custodian of TU/e's academic heritage, unveiled a bronze plaque. A special gesture on a special day; it is 56 years to the day that the plaque was given a spot in a, now long gone, common room for all students.

photo Bart van Overbeeke

“Let me give you a crash course in the history of student life here,” says Joep Huiskamp, capable of doing this like no other, with his background as compiler of the volume entitled, ‘De kleine TU/e encyclopedie 1956-2006’. His audience includes the full board of community cafe Hubble and a handful of interested individuals.

His pace is indeed fast: “In the 1950s there were calls for a technical college in Brabant. Philips was involved, and DAF Trucks, too. Student life at the college was sponsored by founder Hub van Doorne, and it was minimal. It started with a single student association, the Eindhoven Student Corps. Later, SSRE and Demos were added. Van Doorne gave the E.S.C. funds to buy its own building on the Parklaan, but a month later that burned to the ground. There was a wish to find something where students, whether or not they belonged to a student association, could go. A temporary premises for a general common room (abbreviated in Dutch to AOR) and a refectory (the Mensa) were found in the Dommelstraat and Van Doorne attended the opening ceremony, bringing along with him this plaque.”

In 1969 the AOR and the Mensa relocated to a new concrete building on the Kennedylaan: De Bunker. In 2001 the kitchen was closed and four years later the AOR shut up shop. Huiskamp takes a moment in his short speech to stress the importance of the student bar. “In 1994 the AOR had the largest turnover generated by beer of any cafe in Brabant; we are talking more than a million Dutch guilders in beer turnover.” 

In 2007 the Bunker bar opened for students. Before this, the cultural associations were housed in the Scala building at Mariënhage, where Domusdela is now housed. Back then, Nic van Kooten, founder of Hubble, was treasurer of the Bunker bar. When the Bunker was retired in 2017, the bronze plaque, the centre of attention this afternoon, was saved in the nick of time from the trash and given to Huiskamp for safekeeping. Once co-founder of Hubble Community Cafe Chantal Boom has removed the curtain from the plate, Van Kooten tells how proud he is at this moment. “It feels like an incredible honor to be able to display the plaque in this bar. When we decided to found the bar, our first motivation was to provide all students with somewhere they can drink beer cheaply.”

Van Kooten is a modest man, “Hubble is the light version of what the AOR once was,” but now he can say that Hubble is more than just a place to drink beer. “We now have 57 associations that have signed a user's agreement and twenty are actively involved. Their members serve beer on tap, they share in the profits and help come up with ideas for activities. We are proud of how well the bar is running. Even now that we have only 20 percent of TU/e employees on the campus and one-third of the students, our outdoor terrace and indoor bar have plenty of people.”

Hubble would like to hold an AOR reunion. Nic van Kooten makes this appeal: "Anyone who would like to help us organize this event is more than welcome. Mail the board if you would like to lend us a hand."

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