Graduate School of Social Sciences

U Night: the UvA celebrates 385 years with a festival for the city

18 November 2017

25 October 2017

Don't miss your chance to roam around the UvA's century-old buildings. On Saturday, 18 November, between 20.00 and 22.00, the UvA will open the doors of Oudemanhuispoort and surrounding buildings to the people of Amsterdam. That evening, the Binnengasthuis premises will be the site of U Night: a knowledge festival with a dark edge.

The extensive programme includes everything from a shady Black Market for Knowledge and a scientific Silent Disco to mini lectures and House of Commons-style debates. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Mini lectures

Do you think of lectures as long and dull? Not during U Night. In half-hour sessions, 18 researchers and lecturers from the university will get audiences up to speed on provocative topics. For example, Professor of Electoral Politics Jean Tillie will explain how someone becomes a terrorist, while Professor of Psychiatry Damiaan Denys will tell us why we sometimes feel the urge to jump from a building even though we know it is a bad idea. Every round includes one lecture in English.

Black Market of Knowledge

There is a dark edge to U Night. You can feel it in the hidden corners, dark alcoves and chilly passageways within the Oudemanhuispoort. This place is where experts will trade questionable, lost and forbidden knowledge during 10-minute speed dates at the Black Market for Knowledge. As one specialist shares the latest sexual and reproductive techniques in hushed tones with the audience, another talks about sentimental men; if you walk a little further, you will hear all the details about cover-up operations. Pull up a chair at your own risk. 

Parliamentary-style debates

Gender-neutral toilets: nonsense or emancipation? Those who wish to take the floor will also have the opportunity to do so during U Night. There will be two Parliamentary-style debates in which festival-goers can speak up. Moderator Souad Boumedien, PRIDE ambassador and police sergeant on the Amsterdam force, will lead what is sure to be a lively debate on LGBTQIAP. Chair of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam will play the role of Parliament president during a debate on Amsterdam in 2025: Nanny State or Safe Haven?

And more, much more...

In addition to the activities mentioned above, there will also be pub quizzes, history-focused guided tours of the festival grounds and the opportunity for festival-goers to present potential treasures to an Antiques Roadshow-style panel of experts. There will be a Silent Disco as well, but with a scientific slant. While festival-goers work up a sweat on the dance floor, scientists from the Music Cognition Group will observe them from above.

Finally, a special exhibit will be set up in a corner of the Academic Club for those with a strong stomach or a fascination with sexually transmitted diseases. The night will conclude with a dance party in the Atrium. 

Published by  University of Amsterdam