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When increasing numbers of international students were making their way to Tilburg in the eighties and nineties, Tilburg, already brimful with student associations, also saw the rise of organizations for exchange students and degree-seeking students. Students in the former category were gathered together in the Exchange Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the latter in International CONNection (ICONN). These two then merged into I*ESN, which also welcomed internationally minded Dutch students, in 2011.

At home in Tilburg

The aim of I*ESN is to make students feel at home in Tilburg, starting with their association’s venue, called Carpe Noctem (“seize the night”) on Heuvelstraat 45, which has been the I*ESN seat since 2016. They moved into these premises when I*ESN outgrew the building across the road, which was vacated in 2011 when student social association D’Artagnan ceased to exist. At present, the society has about 800 members, largely divided into year clubs. In its entire gamut of activities, it is Dutch literature programs that stand out, as does its annual international cantus, with participants turning up in costume that is typical of their home country. So the Germans will be wearing Lederhosen and the French berets; the Dutch now do not wear clogs but deck themselves out in orange, a modern tradition if ever there was one. Every year, a visit to the Keukenhof is still on the agenda for the I*ESN members as an introduction to the Netherlands.