Student associations throughout the Netherlands saw a sharp increase in their new members this year, according to figures from the National Chamber of Associations, which represents 48 student associations. Last year student associations got just over 10 thousand new members, this year there have been 15,200 new registrations so far. A number of associations are still open for registration, NOS reports.
The associations were surprise by the increase in new registrations, Yorick van der Heiden of the National Chamber of Associations said to the broadcaster. “Due to the lack of many activities during the introduction weeks, we thought that students would not find their way to the association. Some associations were preparing for the worst: what if only a few students applied?” Due to the coronavirus pandemic, initiation weeks were limited this year.
But new registrations soared, especially in Eindhoven, Utrecht and Groningen, according to the Chamber. In Eindhoven, for example, the number of registrations increased by 79 percent compared to last year. Some associations even had to introduce a member limit for the first time.
Van der Heiden think this is because new students are craving social contacts, after so long stuck inside. “Student are looking for a connection, want to find their place in the city. And now that there are few physical lectures, you hardly meet people from outside your studies,” Van der Heiden said. “Prospective students crave networking, meeting new people.”