“Surviving” the Netherlands

By Anca Negulescu, Writer 

“Can you survive the Netherlands?”

That was the question asked by the ESN Utrecht Activities Committee kick-off event of the semester last year, and two dozen or so brave souls were eager to rise to the challenge.

Spoiler alert: while it may be a question our friends and families at home jokingly – and not so jokingly – ask us regularly, no, they were not referring to surviving the Dutch weather – which, hey, has not even been that bad so far! I better not jinx it. Instead, the mysterious description was a “survival obstacle course”.

So armed with curiosity, excitement and (what we very much hoped would be) appropriate clothes, we made our way to the meeting place. From there, we took a bus (who doesn’t like a road trip?) to a location near the town of Ede.

Once there, we abandoned our smartphones and were quickly put to work. From simple running to the not-so-simple push-ups, the start of the night was very reminiscent of elementary school gym class.

But the much more fun part followed: navigating an area full of climbing walls, sketchy tunnels (that I’m told were not super easy to get through for the taller of us; can neither confirm nor deny from my height), flying monkey-bars, and slides. Each of these obstacles was combined with an endurance exercise and a strength exercise – and some well-deserved lemonade and stroopwafels breaks.

There were teams too, and the ones that did the best earned themselves chocolate; for what’s life without a little friendly competition, right? The evening culminated with a race between the teams on ropes and car tires hanging over the (not superclean) water – and finally, finally, the suggestion that we bring a spare pair of dry shoes made sense…

Verdict: We were all survivors! As for our clothes and shoes…well, perhaps not all of them were. But it was worth it. Test our powers again soon?

And our challenge to you: if you’re looking for a sporty way to relax after a tough day at uni, try and see if you can find the place. But no worries if you don’t, ask an ESNer and we’ll be happy to provide you with all the details.

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