Minerva for life 2014
Contribution to the Lustrum XL (40th Lustrum 200 years Minerva) ‘Minerva for life 2014’, a photography project by Jeronimus van Pelt.
Concept and photography: Jeronimus van Pelt • advisor to the photography project: Peter Sigmond (director collections, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) • situation sketches: Eric Stofmeel • Digital Retouching: Monique Smets
‘Minerva for life’ is the metaphoric base for this staged photography series. The portrayed members and alumni ‘are’ themselves and/or play a role on the stage of the student sociëteit Minerva in Leiden.
Young people flock to Leiden University to study at world renowned Faculties such as Law, Psychology, Medicine, Archeology and Theology. Leiden is the oldest University in the Netherlands, founded in 1575 as a reward for Leiden’s brave tenacity during the Spanish siege under king Philips II. This ordeal ended in 1574 and is still commemorated each year on 3rd of October. The thankful, generous founder was Dutch ruler William of Orange, ancestor of today’s king William, who – not exactly coincidentally – studied History in Leiden and is also a Minerva alumnus.
Student societies; corpora
One’s time at uni lasts approximately 4 years. Typically, Dutch students in their free time gather in independent student societies, rather than faculty-related clubs. Minerva is the oldest student society in the Netherlands, this ‘body of students’ is known as the ‘corps’, derived from the Latin word corpus. Other corpora followed Leiden’s example and nowadays most Dutch universities have a corps student society in their town.
Omnia mea mecum porto
It may come as no surprise that the Leiden years are a very important period in one’s life time. Student life is rich in experience and knowledge, usually not in money. (This comes later, in the civilian life) The famous quote by Bias of Priene, as written by Cicero, goes: “all I have, I carry with me” namely in the heart and in the mind. In Leiden, at Minerva, one fills heart and mind for the rest of one’s life.
Minerva for life 2014
The corps celebrates Lustrum every five years, with activities throughout the year leading up to two-weeks-Lustrum-festival in June. Minerva turning 200 years, the bi-centenary calls for eXtra Large festivities, XL being the Latin number for 40, the fortieth Lustrum (40×5=200). XL is certainly the right word to describe the photo project Minerva for life 2014 by The Hague based photographer Jeronimus van Pelt. Selected for his carefully staged compositions, Jeronimus was granted access to the student world that normally remains closed to non-members. He got free reign and full cooperation to recreate Minerva’s student society in his own artistic vision.
›› 1 The tale of the fireplace
brought to life
Acquiring knowledge and gaining one’s position in the world is what the scene at the fireplace is about. Goddess Minerva shoves stupidity aside. The fresh men are like human donkeys, blazing pink piglets in the worn awayness of times passed, sternly sent away under the watchful eye of the seniors. New alliances are being forged, brotherhoods created, the fundament lain for friendships for life.
Alumnus: Hans van Baalen • styling: Ton of Holland • production: Peter Reijn, Mette Visser and Lavinia Lurvink • lighting: Eric Stofmeel and Thomas Heere • make up: Milla Kramenstetter • clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
›› 2 Amazonia
‘about female supremacy’
The ladies gather in an exclusive female meeting. They’re a sight for sore eyes, showing their magnificent beauty wearing their fine evening dresses and precious jewelry. Combativeness and sexuality. The homogeneity of the group emphasizes the power of female superiority. These civilised women, wearing their impractical footwear, look like they’ll gracefully stride away to actually take matters in hand.
Alumna: Nelleke Noordervliet • styling: Ton of Holland, Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn, Lavinia Lurvink, Mette Visser, and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Ilya van Marle and Eric Stofmeel • make up: Milla Kramenstetter • clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
later that night…
›› 3 Vanitas
, a large accumulation of stuff
Minerva’s society building is used in every nook and crevice. Old and new traditions introduced by many generations of members find their significance in the Mores and the more tangible attributes. The members grow up to become Alumni, they’ll return to the building every now and then, but the introduced stuff remains behind. The Members are here only for a short while, Minerva is forever!
Lilies: sponsored by QUALILY www.qualily.nl • Motorcycles and clothing sponsored by: Marcel Brunsveld of trialschool.nl in conjunction with Kamphuis Trading and Jopa racing • product styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn, Lavinia Lurvink and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Ilya van Marle and Eric Stofmeel • make up: Milla Kramenstetter • textediting: Jitske Zitman
›› 4 Hey now baby, let’s do the romp
At the basis of this massive romp there might well have been a serious difference of opinion. The truth, that ship has sailed: the dispute must be settled at all costs! Reluctantly the loser shares a beer with the victor. Constantly looking for an opportunity to settle the disagreement for good, in their own favour.
Let’s romp around!
Styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn, Gijs van Gent, and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Eric Stofmeel • clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
›› 5 The merger 1973
‘a mating dance’
The merger portrayed: the conformation of the Leiden based students corps ‘Virtus Concordia Fides’ (1839) with the Association of Female students in Leiden (1900) into student society ‘Minerva’. It is always mating season in the ‘Hifi’ disco. As in any disco, the girls invite the guys to ‘come hither’. They will.
Styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Eric Stofmeel • make up: Chistel Mijers • clothing dancing couple: Maison de Bonneterie • the rest of the clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
›› 6 Pan Provincial Congres 2014, LOL at Sociëteit Mien Erve
‘a funny scene’
A stage within a stage. Beautifully polished actors depict the Mores, the special rules that are the cement of Minerva life. Not to be taken too seriously, laugh out loud at them. But never TOO loud.
Alumnus: Paul van Vliet • garden tools sponsored by: Husqvarna Nederland B.V. • tandem and bicycle clothing: Pieter Sipkes • Falabella small horse and three Nandoe’s: Bert’s animalverhuur.nl • clothing Paul van Vliet and the scarecrow: Oger Den Haag • boater Paul van Vliet: Maarten de Klerk • styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn, Mette Visser and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Joris van Ophuizen and Eric Stofmeel • make up: Christel Mijers and Tineke van der Donk • the rest of the clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
›› 7 Sapere aude! –Horatius
‘Dare to know’
Goddess Minerva carries an owl, the symbol of Wisdom. And what better place to feed the hungry young mind with knowledge than the library? This is the perfect place to emphasize the bond between the University and its oldest student society. The University’s Rector celebrates this strong connection by crowdsurfing through the Minerva Library.
Guest appearance: Carel Stolker (Leiden, june 23th 1954) Rector Magnificus and chairman to the governing body of Leiden University (UiL) •styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn and Josephine Cleyndert • lighting: Eric Stofmeel • clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman
›› 8 Tremendous forces
‘Pressing bravely ahead!’
“I feel tremendous forces in this room” spoke the Right Honourable Winston Churchill when visiting Minerva on the 10th of May in 1946. Just an hour earlier he was rewarded by the University with an honorary degree in Law for his brave role in ending WW II. The room Churchill spoke in is nowadays known as the Great Hall. It still contains these ‘tremendous forces’, guiding along young people into their future.
Styling: Eric Stofmeel and Jeronimus van Pelt • production: Peter Reijn • lighting: Eric Stofmeel • clothing: Minerva • text editing: Jitske Zitman