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A very Dutch year at Oxford and Westminster...

Dutch Society Committee Dinner

It keeps surprising me how much happens in an Oxford year. So many experiences, both great, and of the learning kind.

As president of the Oxford Dutch Society I was involved in organising a Dutch BOP (party) in the dining hall of St Cross College. The theme was the Flying Dutchman, and I got myself a hat to match ;)

Flying Dutchman BOP and some Dutch Wings

Besides that we also put on a Saint Niklas celebration (with an uncontroversial white Pete), a Kings Day celebration, and we topped it off with the Oxford World Picnic. An event attended by over 200 people from 8 other Oxford National Societies, including a full-sized Latin American band! It was organised through the Oxford Network of National Societies’ Committees, which I founded this year.

Dutch Society Kings Day and the Oxford World Picnic 2015

Over New Year, I organised the European Mensa Young New Year camp in Bristol. With 75 of us from all over Europe and beyond, we descended on the St Johns on-the-hill boarding school (complete with pool) for a week. It was pure fun with activities such as an Open Mike night, a Superheroes New Year Party, and Mensa Olympic Winter games, and lots and lots of hanging out with drinks till the morning light. Massive thanks to the great team that made it all possible and completelt stress-free; Maaike, Loes, Mikael, Menno, and Saif!

MYNY 2014/15, the New Years dinner

I rowed again this year as well, mostly during Hilary term (the 2nd term). We ‘smurfed’ our boat up one position!

Wolfson/St Cross smurfs after their last race of Torpids

Finally I did an Internship at the House of Lords, the UK’s finest political institution (if not democratic). As a researcher I was attached to the Lords’ Library this spring. It was a great experience being involved with real policy issues. I learned a lot about how politics works in the real world, in addition to at uni and through the Internet. Though foremostly it made me realise how much there is to learn… One can – and perhaps should – call politics many things, but boring it is not!

The House of Lords Library and the Thames Terrace

I’ve also had two papers accepted at the European Social Simulation conference. Interestingly – after being held in Barcelona last year – it will be in Groningen this September; which is where I did my undergrad: Reliving the good times!

Concluding the long year, is a great summer. With 10 days in Brest (France) with Mensa-Young, some time at home, and now a six-week long retreat on the Dutch isle of Vlieland, where I am working on my thesis, reading a few of those great books one normally never gets to, and enjoying nature; forests, the ocean, and plenty of sunshine.

I’m looking forward to the coming year. I will be organising a tad fewer things, and focus on work, my department and friends a bit more…

Hyperlapse of Oxford by Brendal Riley, a college-mate