It all began with the founding of the Dutch Student Association for Federal World Government (NSFW) on October 19th 1947 at the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam. It became a national student association with two departments: Groningen and Leiden. In the wake of World War II, people were concerned with the question of how to prevent another such war in the future, and this was also an important issue to students.
However, in order to found such a student association, the Queen’s approval was needed and since Her Majesty did not approve of the name of the association, it had to be changed. In 1948, it was changed to Dutch Student Association for Legal Order (NSW), since a world government was no longer seen as the only solution to sustainable peace. Instead, federalism on a European level and the United Nations were viewed as alternatives.
Eventually, in 1962, the horrors of WWII were slowly moving towards the background as the world was focused on the rising tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. The NSW again decided to change its name, this time to Student Association for International Relation (SIB) and the primary aim of the association was now to raise students’ interest for international relations.
The following years seemed good for SIB. Its number of members increased and there were many interesting discussions. It is no surprise that according to the archives, ‘SIB was booming’ during the 70’s. However, in less than ten years’ time, SIB would almost cease to exist. Across the country, the departments had died out, and all that was left was a workgroup on Central and Eastern Europe in Groningen, which consisted of 25 people.
It would take until the 80’s for a group of students to attempt to revive the SIB in Groningen. With the help of Mr. Teunissen (an honorary member ever since) they were able to make the SIB thrive once again and to institutionalise its goals in the regulations at the Chamber of Commerce. A few years later, the SIB was once again a flourishing association of more than 200 members. Around this time, a new project was initiated which would eventually become TEIMUN, The European International Model United Nations, which still takes place every year during the first week of July in The Hague.
Between 1990 and 1995 membership counts would fluctuate, but nevertheless the SIB organised a number of notable activities. During this time, the SIB activities took place at ‘Het Paard van Troje’ and the main focus was on integrating the members into the SIB. On of the problem that was identified during this period was the lack of communication between the many Workgroup, which was solved with a regular Workgroup Meeting. This meeting still exists as the ‘Ledenoverleg’.
In 1992, the location for SIB activities moved to ‘De Negende Cirkel’ and the association had 210 members, 18 Theme Groups and was celebrating its tenth Lustrum. The number of members would quickly rise to a peak of 360. During these years, a number of important events took place. For instance, the national assembly of SIB departments was combined into the foundation named SIB-Nederland. At the head of this foundation would be a national Board consisting of representatives from every SIB city.
The increase in members did not only result in more activity, but also in problems. How can you maintain coherence in an association as diverse as the SIB? What is the identity of the SIB? How do you finance the activities of 28 Workgroups? How do you involve new members in the association? How do you balance social and informative activities? These questions are still, or rather again, relevant.
With 264 members and 26 Themegroups, the SIB celebrated its tenth Lustrum in 1997 with the motto ‘Doeltreffend’. The Lustrum took place from the 21st to the 28th of October, and during this week there was a ‘continents game’ at the Academieplein, an excursion to Schiphol Airport, a congress on terrorism, a trip to the Gasunie, an Alumni Day, a gala, an international buffet and a spectacular party at the end.
The number of members decline considerably between 1995 and 1998, but the SIB would not be the SIB if it did recover. In 2000 a new phenomenon was introduced: the new very popular Crisis Forum, which were organised by the Theme Group Actualiteiten. This was the start of a development from small-scale discussion to large-scale events that generate a lot of publicity for the SIB.
In 2014 the SIB Office moved to the Pelsterstraat. We now have more than 400 members and our schedule of activities is packed with small and big activities.
The SIB has always depended on the enthusiasm and commitment of its members. They are the driving force behind our association and their support keeps the SIB growing and thriving.