The Beer Is On Fire

Yesterday morning, after taking Pippo out first thing, G told me about a building made only of beer crates that some students were constructing in Zocherpark, in front of the Biton and Unitas student associations. Curious, and wanting some photos, I went with G and Pippo during the afternoon outing to witness the festivities — and the completed structure — for myself.

You see, yesterday began UIT2011, the week-long event that welcomes old and new students to Universiteit Utrecht and the high schools. There are events all over the city, including parties, concerts, tours and much more. The city’s population felt like it doubled yesterday, with packs of young students everywhere you looked, spurred on by the rare and beautiful weather we were having. The student associations near us were hosting their annual introductory parties, with all sorts of seating set up outdoors, beer stands everywhere, decorations, and even a mechanical bull!
Mechanical Bull


Take a Seat

One of the decorations they had set up was an incredibly long building made up of nothing but plastic beer crates, a tarp and some bungee rope. It was certainly the standout decoration in the park, even more impressive than the large inflatable owl that was there last year and making a return performance this year. I wasn’t clear as to what was actually meant to be going on inside the building, but it was interesting to see, nonetheless.

Imagine my surprise this morning when G came in from taking Pippo out and told me that the whole thing had burned down and that a car had been caught in the inferno! It seems that some time around 5 a.m., a passerby saw the flames. By 8:30 a.m. this morning when G saw it, the fire trucks (brandweer) were gone and all that remained was a small corner of the beer-crate structure. Fortunately, none of the actual buildings on the street were damaged, and it doesn’t sound like any people were injured, although there are suspicions of arson. I suspect idiot arson, rather than truly malicious arson. Hopefully! One car did get caught up in the fire and it’s front end is just a husk.




The area was cordoned off and police and what looked like a fire investigator were there looking over the remains and talking to some of the association’s students. Still, a little fire isn’t going to stop the festivities. As the investigation was going on, set-up for the day’s activities continued. The concert scheduled for this evening will also go on as planned. Lucky us.

Hopefully today is drama-free. Yesterday wasn’t exactly a great start to the introduction period, as three students were injured, one quite seriously, in an accident on an open-top double-decker bus. Added in with the fire, and things have been perhaps not gone quite as smoothly as organizers would want. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured students and hope the rest of UIT2011 is fun, informative and most of all, safe!

Welkom bij Utrecht!

9 thoughts on “The Beer Is On Fire

  1. Wow. Sounds like idiot arson to me. I can’t believe anyone would do that.

    I also wonder who had to drink all those crates empty to make the building before it burnt down.

    • It’s really sad, since they obviously put a lot of work into it.

      Considering the carts of bottle recycling I see the students moving around, I don’t think they’d have too much trouble emptying out those crates. 😉 (Hopefully, Bavaria supplied a few empty crates, though!)

    • I’m particularly afraid of being caught in a fire, so this kind of thing really bothers me, especially when it’s done intentionally. It’s pointless and dangerous.

  2. The empty crates were supplied by Bavaria. Dutch breweries sponsor a lot of activities that way. Here in Enschede there is an anual bridge building dat with Grolsch crates, where they try to beat last years record in the length of the bridge.

    Here, they build a maze for laser shooting. Like they did inside their building last year:

    Arson is indeed suspected. They suspect a competing student association did it.

    • I did figure that Bavaria provided the empty crates. 😉 It’s fun to see what they can do with them, and put a bit of their education to somewhat practical use, especially if they’re engineering students or architects.

      It’s horrendous that anyone would intentionally burn it down, especially considering how close it was to numerous homes/buildings, trees, and cars. I hope they’re found and properly punished.

  3. I am an old member of Biton (the student association that built the thing) It was intended to be used as a laser gaming maze the next day, and then some idiot burned it down in the night… really sad

    • Found your comments! It really is a shame that someone so callously and dangerously destroyed the structure, especially after all the time spent on building it. I’m sure it would have been a lot of fun as a laser maze, as well. Do you know if they ever caught the person responsible?

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