The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


The term varsity derives from the word university. The rowing regatta is annually organised at the beginning of April. Around a thousand students take part. For the Varsity several disciplines are rowed over a distance of 1.5 mile: ladies and gentlemen and various boat types. There is, however, one key race: the finals of the Old Four, a race of almost two miles. Every student rowing club in the Netherlands contributes four of its best rowers and a coxswain for this purpose. The winners of the Old Four get a wreath and medals. Within the world of rowing the finals of the Old Four is a unique match, because top rowers fight for their own club and university. A special part of the area for the public is arranged for VIPs, like mayors, rectors and management members of companies that act as sponsors. There is much attention for tradition in the competition. The more than 2500 visitors, young and old, dress according to old dress codes. The debauching and frolicking with a student of another club by grabbing each other’s jackets, belongs to the culture as well. Student-like is also the custom that after the finish of the winning Old Four all the club members jump into the water, as good as naked. The tie can usually stay on.



The Varsity has around a thousand participants each year. They are all students and associated with a student rowing club. About 2500 people are watching. The organisation is done by a committee of ten (ex-)students from the Utrecht Student Rowing Club Triton. The committee operates under the flag of the Royal Dutch Rowing Federation. The Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management and the municipality of Houten are closely involved in the event because of the location.



The Varsity started in 1878 as a duel between the student rowing clubs Njord from Leiden and Laga from Delft. As of 1882 the Utrecht club Triton has been participating as well. From representatives of these three clubs the Nederlandse Studenten Roeibond (Dutch Student Rowing Union) was founded. The first official Varsity was rowed on June 30th 1883, on the Rhine at Oudshoorn. In the following years rowing clubs that could participate were started by student societies in Amsterdam, Groningen, Rotterdam and Wageningen. After World War II the Dutch Student Rowing Union received the predicate Royal, because rowing members had been meritorious in the resistance. During the sixties student rowing clubs were also established in several towns that had no link with the student societies. Only in 1973 these clubs were allowed to participate in the Varsity. The Varsity has long been a men’s matter. As of 1976 women can also join the competitions. The location of the Varsity has regularly changed over the years. From 1915 up to 1936 the Varsity took place on the North Sea Channel. Already from 1972 it is held on the Amsterdam-Rhine Channel at Houten. Since that year the Varsity is organised by Triton. The structure of the competition day has considerably changed in the course of time. At the beginning only a few disciplines were rowed. Today it is a day full of races. These last years in particular much attention has been paid to professionalisation of the rowing course.



Koninklijke Nederlandse Studenten Roeibond
Postbus 1333
3500 BH