Six Locals Meeting at the Back of Beyond

On the last weekend of June, six German and Dutch locals met in a small and completely unspectacular town in the Netherlands. There was no hosting local, there were no organizers and, officially, there was not even a program. Although the motivating title of this event was “Six in the Shitty City”, it was still the second time that this event took place. The AEGEEan spoke to Benjamin Feyen, one of the people who came up with the concept, to find out more about the event and all the word plays included in it.

In February 2013, several members of Dutch and German locals met in Eindhoven the day before they flew to EBM Valletta together. These members came from six locals, which were all located close to the German/Dutch border, namely AEGEE-Aachen, AEGEE-Düsseldorf, AEGEE-Eindhoven, AEGEE-Köln, AEGEEE-Maastricht and AEGEE-Nijmegen. Since they got along so well and because the distance between these locals is not actually that big, they decided to organize a non-formal get-together.

The name that this meeting should have was also decided upon during that discussion.”When we discussed where the meeting should take place, somebody came up with the idea to meet just somewhere in the middle between the locals instead of having a hosting local”, Benjamin tells us. ”Looking at a map, we found out that the six locals form kind of a circle, with the small Dutch city of Venlo right in the center”.  After somebody who apparently had already been to Venlo complained that this city was “really shitty” the event’s title was set: “Six [locals] in the Shitty City”. Benjamin claims that it was due to the memorable name that they instantly created a Facebook group and were motivated to organize the event.

And the event of 2013 was a success. People from every single local took part and enjoyed a weekend in Venlo including a City Tour. Due to the fact that the city center “actually wasn’t that shitty after all”, this year’s version of the event (Volume 2: “Shit me baby one more time”) was moved to a suburb of Venlo: Tegelen. Although the location changed, the concept stayed the same. Since organizing an event is a lot of work and mostly quite stressful, the people who came up with the idea of “Six in the Shitty City” decided to have “no organizers or responsible persons, but only participants (or shitticipants, as we call ourselves), who do whatever they feel needs to be done”, explains Benjamin. Mutual trust, reliability and contribution by everyone are of course necessary when an event is planned like this. That this can work, was proven by all the people taking part in the event.

The actual meeting in Tegelen worked out perfectly again. Almost 30 people from six locals (this time including AEGEE-Osnabrück instead of AEGEE-Maastricht) met and enjoyed two nights and a full day together, mostly by playing either soccer, “werewolves” or other gamesor, of course, by just talking and getting to know each other. Although there was not any official program, nobody was ever bored. Benjamin explains: “Basically it is a bunch a friends having fun together based on voluntary contribution by everyone, with the little difference that many of us do not even know each other personally before the event. Having the AEGEE spirit and believing in the concept of the “Shitty City” is what we share”. Still, “having a European Night is a must“, says Benjamin and this European Night in particular ended especially nicely by sitting at a bonfire and enjoying marshmallows and music. The favorite song of the whole group was most definitely “Everybody has a shitty time”, a song composed during the event and sung many times.

All in all, “Six in the Shitty City” is not as “shitty” as the name makes it seem! Benjamin concludes that although there were some people who doubted that this concept could work, it did! “And twice already. It’s for sure a very unique event in the AEGEE world”. People already announced that they will most definitely take part again when it is time for the next volume of “Six in the Shitty City”.

Written by Katja Sontag, AEGEE-Aachen