The new Vagant will be

The new Vagant will probably come at – or near – the Princetonplein. The idea is that study associations of the two faculties will manage a new, easily accessible place with outdoor space. It’s not yet clear what it’ll look like. 

The Vagant will be fitted into the plans of the redevelopment of the northwest corner of De Uithof, which is happening in the next few years. That means it will take some time before De Vagant 2.0 – which is already being called ‘Extra-Vagant’ by some – will actually open its doors. It’s still a matter of waiting for the demolition of the Earth Sciences building, which is planned for 2019. (See update 2, below)

Beloved lunch location, and more
The university board gave the green light this week for a study on alternatives for the current Vagant. The wooden structure at the Budapestlaan will be taken down this summer. That’s when the permit expires for the building, which was constructed in 2016 as a temporary canteen provision during the renovations of the Minnaert building.

Students and employees tried to delay or call off the demolition because the Vagant’s popularity had grown enormously in the past few years. The study associations of the faculties of Science and Geoscience offered to co-manage the canteen.

The Vagant isn’t just a beloved place to have lunch. It’s also used for drinks, barbecues, sports and music activities. The facility is outside of the university buildings, which is seen as a great advantage by many visitors. When the weather’s nice, for example, it’s easy to sit outdoors on the grass. It’s also possible to plan activities in the evenings and on weekends, without being required of using Sodexo catering. That gives the Vagant the informal and friendly character of a beach bar.

Students in charge
At the time, the university board said it wasn’t possible to keep the current Vagant. They did acknowledge that the Vagant increased the habitability of De Uithof and the sense of community among students and scientists alike. As a result, the board members did want to see the roles filled by the Vagant to return in some way.

With this week’s decision, the road is clear towards a new Vagant, with study associations in charge. The associations will be closely involved in the deveopment of the new plans.

The university board did set the requirement that the new design is to be sustainable, and not too expensive. There also needs to be room for initiatives related to academic education and research. Although the Vagant is primarily meant as a place to let students and employees relax, the university also wants to prevent excessive beer drinking from being encouraged.

The HU already has two student cafés (Het7de and Het Proeflokaal), places where students can have a drink and organise student meetings, but which also act as places where HU activities can take place. These are located within HU buildings, but have their own entrances. Other universities have also had positive experiences with similar initiatives.

Translation: Indra Spronk

*Update 1 25-6-2018*
Nils Warsen, chairman of the students’ council of Physics and Astronomy, welcomes the proposed replacement of the “immensely popular Vagant”. “This decision clearly is in line with the new course of the university, that focuses on an pleasant environment for students and staff. Needless to say, we sincerely hope that the university continues on this new path, in order to engage students and staff in the development of the campus, and to create more space for spontaneous initiatives like a student café."

*Update 2 25-6-2018*
In a meeting with the University Council UU President Anton Pijpers maintained that his board does not want to commit itself to a new location for De Vagant. The information DUB based its story on indicated that the Princetonplein would be the future location. Pijpers does not want to exclude other options at this moment.