There were some serious capers on Monday of last week in front of the KSV building at Stadsbrink. Members of Ceres and KSV were tugging at each other's jacket lapels so fiercely that anxious local residents called the police. In the end, the fifteen officers and one dog who had been called out hardly had to do anything as most of the students left of their own accord.
Following a brief brainstorm about the options - should they have it valued by the Dutch antiques TV programme? - - the lads hired a van and took the painting on a trip to Spain. It was not long before there were photos circulating on Internet of the chaps posing with the painting in front of a hotel in Javier, the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier. They asked the staff there to hang the painting in the lobby, saying they were sure someone would come to pick it up.
KSV called it a good student prank, but Ceres was not amused. Senator Emke van Wijlen called it 'damaging' to her members. What is more, she suspects the KSV students broke in because 'we always make sure the Generaal Foulkesweg building is properly locked'. Time for a revenge action. Five members jumped in a car and drove to Spain to rescue the Goddess, while another delegation went off to the Stadsbrink to give their rivals a show of strength.
Crucify the president
What exactly happened in front of the KSV building remains unclear. But the discussions on Internet do give some idea:
'Well, that's what happens when you get plastered at your own party, you forget to lock up a few important things', 'No way was the door left open, it really was a break-in.'
'The fire door could easily be opened without any force and SSR-W already knew that. We were fleeced and then the police arrived after the local residents had called them.'
'The enemy camp got stripped bare this evening ... literally.'
'We actually wanted to kidnap their president, dress him up as a chick and crucify him above the mantelpiece until we got Ceres back. '
Although KSV and Ceres are rival societies, there have rarely been any public confrontations in the past. It remains to be seen whether peace has returned following the recovery of the painting and the set-to in front of the KSV building.
Linda van der Nat and Nicolette Meerstadt
A rumour started as soon as the theft had taken place that the Ceres senate would have to resign in accordance with the society's traditions if the painting was not back within 24 hours. But president Emke van Wijlen denies that such a custom exists. 'If that were the case then I would have driven to Spain myself, and added on a holiday while I was at it,' she says.