Amsterdam and beer

Started by Figleaf, September 30, 2023, 12:51:52 PM

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Most anglophone tourists believe tulips grow in Amsterdam. Not so. What does grow up (sort of) in Amsterdam are students. Students are easily bored, in which case they resort to student company and beer. This used to be organised in student associations. The associations in turn established student watering holes (societies).

Their rules were easy. Cash only. Drinking of beer was a race between your body and your money. The objective was to get drunk, preferably very drunk before your money ran out and your friends stopped giving you free beer.

In Amsterdam, the student beer lurking shop of choice was NIA, which stood for Nos Iungit Amicitia - friendship unites us. Latin was university-speak, though only medical and history students actually understood it in 1841, when NIA was established by ASC, the Amsterdam Student Corps. Its history is a list of changes of address, as in 1893, when their money ran out and they had to sell the shop or in 1905, when the shop was destroyed by fire caused by a member of its governing board.


In 1902, NIA's parent, ASC merged with Amsterdamsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging, A.V.S.V, the Amsterdam female students association. Other student societies were seething with anger. Shamefully, ASC eventually caved in and annulled the marriage in 1912.

When the nazis demanded in 1941 that Jewish students be excluded from membership, NIA's reaction was moe typical. On 28th October 1941, they organised their greatest party ever, finished their stock to the last drop (what a feat!) and liquidated itself.

NIA was revived in 1945, but as the student corps modernised and study financing became available, it attracted les and less members, forcing the lads to join the ladies 1971, creating ASC/AVSV and even admitting students of lower schools *gasp*.


My tokens are undoubtedly post second world war (presumably around 1975-1985). They are in plastic and occur in other colours. The ASC/AVSV token occurs with cosimilar sides. The one advertising Amstel beer probably indicates that Amstel financed the inventory. This is all the more surprising for an old hand as students often claimed a preference for Amstel or Heineken, though it is highly likely that they could not distinguish the two brands in a blind tasting. There were six different tokens included in the same lot.

That lot also had a token of Leidsche Studenten Vereeniging Minerva, that has a similar history: established in 1839, its parent merged with their female counterpart in 1973, it went through two fires, in 1959 and 2012. Nevertheless, there was a great mental distance between the students of Amsterdam (the largest student body) and that of Leiden (the oldest university).



An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.