Last november, I graduated my Master of Science at Leiden University, however there was one last bit missing.

At Leiden University, there's an old, old tradition. Everybody who graduates gets to put their name in the famous "zweetkamertje" in the academy building. "Zweetkamertje" literally translates as "sweating room", and it is so called because it used to be the place where students would have to wait for the final exam results before graduation (so they'd be sweating because of the tension). Who exactly the first person was who wrote their name on the wall no one knows, nor why this form of graffiti became a tradition. But it's been going on for more than a century, so the wall of the "zweetkamertje" is filled with many names. Many of the old ones have worn off by now of course, but there's still a lot. Some famous names are kept specially preserved behind glass, including the names of almost the entire Dutch royal family, but also for instance Nelson\ Mandela. Many will agree that you've not really graduated until your name is on that wall.

Normally, putting your name there is done on the day of graduation. But unfortunately, the building is undergoing massive renovation so it's normally closed. But on appointment, graduates can still write their name on the wall.

This afternoon, I added my name to that famous wall.

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Categories: University
Posted on: 2007-02-19 18:03 UTC.


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