Het Zinkstuk celebrates it's 50th anniversary

Coffee table book relives over 50 years of swimming and water polo association

Commissie Het Zinkstuk
The Zinkstuk commission who wrote the book. From left to right: Meike, Thijs (on screen), Anne, Paul, and Josine. Photo: Het Zinkstuk.

The idea for the book came about in 2020-2021. Het Zinkstuk's secretary at the time, UU student Meike (Education Sciences) found a pile of papers from the 1970s in the association's cupboard at Olympos. Her interest was piqued, but the proposal to write a book was nothing more than a pitch in a meeting because the association's board had a lot of work to do already.

A year and a half ago, the urge to do something about it came back. Alongside fellow association members Josine, Anne, Paul, and Thijs, Meike decided to bring the idea to life as a means to celebrate the association's upcoming 50th anniversary. 

“In the end, we were mostly curious about how we got to where we are now,” Paul explains. “If we were ever going to do something with this, the time was now. Most of those people are still around, which was an important factor contributing to our decision," adds Anne.

Old uniforms and scrapbooks 
What started with a folder filled with old paperwork and some names turned into interviews with around a hundred former members. “We spoke to members from the first few years who were surprised the association still existed,” Paul said. “We told them our story and showed them the website", recollects Meike. "They’d say: ‘Wow, we've built a legacy, haven't we?’”

“Some people had saved entire folders with pictures, posters, and uniforms from their Zinkstuk days,” Meike continues. “One of them even had an elaborate Zinkstuk scrapbook.” Josine adds, jokingly: “I've got to say: If social media didn't exist, I would probably make something similar.”

'Fifty years, really?'
When reading through UBlad's archives (that's DUB’s predecessor in print, Ed.), the committee found a reference to Het Zinkstuk from October 1969. At the time, the magazine wrote that the association was "launched into the water" – an expression that puts a smile on the athletes' faces. At the same time, the finding confused the five students because the association claimed that September 1, 1973, was its starting date. 

A member from the 1980s said that the book's authors shouldn’t worry too much about that. After all, the students had to write down a founding date when registering the association in the Chamber of Commerce. At the time, the students serving on Het Zinstuk's board knew the association had been around for some time, but they didn’t know exactly how long, so they wrote a random date. 

The committee couldn't solve the mystery of Het Zinstuk's true starting date. “Maybe things like that weren’t that important to write down at the time,” Meike concludes. 

Breathing new life into the Alumni Association 
The five authors also discovered that there used to be an alumni association, founded around the turn of the century. “When we contacted the president of this association, he was surprised that he was still registered as a board member with the Chamber of Commerce,” Paul says. 

With Paul as a treasurer, they’re now breathing new life into this alumni association. “So, if any DUB readers were once part of Het Zinkstuk, they should visit zobot.nl.”

commissie leest Ubladen

The committee browses through old Ublad editions in the city centre library. Photo: courtesy of Het Zinkstuk. 

After a year and a half, they finally have it in their hands: a hardcover book with 104 pages filled with stories and photos. “A beautiful coffee table book, showing that many things have basically stayed the same", says Meike. “There’ve always been students who would swim or play water polo and then hang out once back on land.”

If anything has changed, it’s how the association has become a little more formal. “The time of careless or thoughtless administration is long gone. We have to follow so many rules now,” Paul explains. “Sometimes it feels more as though this is a company.”

Asked whether they’re proud of the book, Paul must stop and ponder for a moment. “Proud? Satisfied? It’s simply a beautiful book.”