Lars van der Heijden: ‘Cycling clears my head, it’s pleasant not to think about anything for a while’

Lars van der Heijden: ‘Cycling clears my head, it’s pleasant not to think about anything for a while’

Nightmares, daydreams, and unfulfilled wishes: in the section ’13 questions to’ students and scientists show themselves from a different side. This time: Lars van der Heijden, coordinator of the Legal Business Days held last month.

Beeld: Jack Tummers

1. If you were not a law student, what would you do?

“Earlier, becoming a heart surgeon seemed like a lot of fun to me, but of course everyone thinks that. Now I might go a little more in the area of economics or selling products. I might be very good at that.”

2. What do you daydream about?

“Having my own firm. Law firm Van der Heijden. Becoming a partner in a firm seems very cool, but having your own firm seems nicer. For me, that really has to be in Brabant, I discovered. Working in Amsterdam is not really for me.”

3. What makes you lie awake at night?

“I always want everything to be well organized. The night before the Legal Business Days started, I lay awake for hours and went over the script in my head. Then you think of all kinds of bizarre scenarios of things that could go wrong. What would happen if the power went down, for example.”

4. Which book would you recommend to everyone?

Moordenaars en hun motieven (Murderers and Their Motives) by Jeff Vermassen. This is about the fact that in the case of heinous crimes it is sometimes said that people were killed in an animalistic way. But people are, in fact, the only animals who commit murder.”

5. Suppose you had a time machine. To what time period would you travel and with whom would you drink coffee?

“I would like to see myself in thirty years. What will I be like then and what will all my friends be like? I think that’s the most fun, seeing how a select group of people have developed.”

6. What series do you watch to relax?

“I’m not big on Netflix. I watch YouTube sometimes. Cycling I see much more as relaxation. I started doing that two years ago, taking the bike and hit the road. When I’m on my bike, I look around a lot, at what’s going on around me. You just clear your head. Thinking about nothing for a while is actually also just fine. I also like to watch cycling on TV. Classics like Liege-Bastogne-Liege for example, with climbs all day. I have ridden there myself but a lot slower. It’s very confronting to see how fast those guys go up a hill like that.”

7. What gives you a short fuse?

“When people are late. Even if it’s only five minutes. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at noon, I think you should actually be there. If you are only there at five past twelve, I am angry. I hate being late myself. I’d rather catch an earlier train and be twenty minutes early than be four minutes late.”

8. What really needs to change at the university?

“The coffee from the vending machines at the university is still a bit of water with some coffee stuff in it. I would also like to see the prices in the cafeteria a bit lower. That you pay 4.50 euros for a sandwich is too ridiculous for words.”

Offline is better for everyone, I think a lot of people have become lazier because of online education

9. What should you actually be doing (more of)?

“Cycling. I started it when the coronavirus started. Because I no longer had travel time, I had a lot of time for that then. But with the organization of the Business Days, I haven’t had enough time for that in recent months.”

10. What is your favorite place on campus?

“The Esplanade Building, that’s where all the boards reside, and it’s always very convivial. Because of the coronavirus outbreak I became active. For six months I just sat at home. A friend of mine was on Magister’s activities committee, so I started doing that too. After that I wanted to do something more serious, also for my CV, so I became coordinator of the Legal Business Days.”

11. What are your plans for after university?

“Going to work in insolvency law. It may be quite pleasant for others to travel first, but I don’t feel like walking around Asia for six months. I’d rather work and gain experience to one day start my own firm.”

12. Online or offline lectures?

“Offline. Online lectures don’t motivate me much. In the beginning, it was okay, but in the second year my motivation dropped. I think I would have been much further ahead without the lockdown. If you come to campus, you learn a lot more. You’re better prepared. Offline is better for everyone, I think a lot of people have become lazier because of online education. In the library I also study much better. If you sit at home, you are more distracted anyway. For my thesis, I’m now back in the library a lot and I notice that my production is much higher.”

13. Never play sports again or never drink again?

“In the meantime, that has become never drinking. A few years ago, that would have been completely different, but because of the coronavirus, I have had less opportunity to drink and more time to exercise. I still like a beer, and I still go out regularly in Tilburg. But if I had to make that choice, I would choose sports.”

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel

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