This year’s Orientation Festival will take place at the Honigcomplex
The upcoming Orientation will most probably once again include a live festival, at the Honigcomplex. According to Orientation Coordinator Dionne Aldus all that’s needed is getting the required permits in order. Due to COVID-19, the festival will be spread over a number of days.
Good news for upcoming students: there will be an Orientation Festival this year, following a forced pause due to COVID-19. Following two successful editions across the border at the Graefenthal Monastery in Goch, this year the organisers opted for a location closer to home: the Honigcomplex.
However, the festival will not form a concluding activity like in previous years. To anticipate potential COVID-19 measures, the organisers decided to spread the festival over four days: from Wednesday 25 August to Saturday 28 August. The idea is to open the festival grounds to a new student group every day. The Orientation week starts on Sunday 22 August and ends on Sunday 29 August. ‘It really looks like the festival will take place this year,’ explains Aldus. ‘We just have to get the required permits from the municipality.’
‘It really looks like the festival will take place this year’
In March, there was still too much uncertainty about both the location and the plans for Orientation week. ‘Apart from the Honigcomplex, we also considered the Goffertpark,’ explains Aldus. In the end, the organisers opted for the iconic former factory site on the Waal. ‘We wanted to have a number of outdoor locations where activities were allowed after 11 p.m. And we don’t need to build much ourselves at the Honigcomplex. The infrastructure is already there.’
As things stand, the Orientation Festival will not be using entry tests. This may change, depending on the requirements the Dutch government sets for events in August. Aldus: ‘We may have to use rapid tests, but we can’t formulate a water-tight policy yet. We are too dependent on COVID-19 measures to be able to say anything with certainty.’
The organisers are also taking into account the 2020 student cohort, who didn’t get a chance to attend an Orientation Festival last year. ‘If the COVID-19 measures allow it, we will also invite last year’s first-year students to the Honigcomplex. That way, they also get a chance to experience the Orientation Festival,’ says Aldus.
The full preliminary programme can be found on the Orientation website.
Monastic order of Graefenthal gets bad press
The Graefenthal Monastery in Goch, which housed the Orientation Festival in 2018 and 2019, seems to have fallen out of favour with the university. The fact that students have to travel across the border makes the location less suitable during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to that, the monastic order governing Graefenthal has been the subject of negative media reports this past year. The ‘Order of Transformants’ is seen by many as a sect.
In late 2020, the German police conducted a raid on the grounds in Goch, freeing a 25-year-old woman who had been kept at the monastery against her will for some time. During the raid, a 58-year old Dutchman was arrested. He is accused of child molestation and raping a number of women. In December 2020, the police conducted a second raid, confiscating computers and other digital equipment.
A Radboud University spokesperson indicated at the time that there were no new agreements with the Monastery about the 2021 Orientation. It is as yet unclear whether the university will ever use the monastery as a location again.