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The Ubbo Emmius Culinary Exchange

This article has been written in cooperation with GHD Ubbo Emmius.

GHD Ubbo Emmius is a study association for over one hundred history students at the RUG, offering both study assistance and organization of events to unite Groninger history students. On the 10th of June, Ubbo Emmius will hold its annual conference. This year’s theme is “A Culinary Exchange: Food History through Time and Space”

“The most important thing for organizing the conference is finding a theme,” says Rens Huisman, the Chair of the Conference Committee. “In the first couple of meetings, we had a brainstorming session with everybody bringing their ideas to the table. We saw that in previous years there were a lot of conferences on political history and we thought the history of food would make for a nice topic, a little bit different than the previous years.” Rens has been writing his thesis on the history of food and is very enthusiastic about the topic. “To narrow it down we thought of the history of food as a culinary and cultural exchange.”

The event will consist of three lectures featuring experts in the history of food history, as well as other related fields. The lectures will touch upon a variety of topics, from the Gastrodiplomacy of Japan and Korea, to food practices of Europe of the 1920s to 1960, as well as culinary experiences on the Grand Tour in Naples. The lectures will be intertwined with three workshops, one of which will be a food-tasting workshop presenting Dutch recipes and ingredients throughout history (Who knows? Maybe Dutch cuisine is more than just stamppot and bitterballen!).

“I’m most excited about the workshop on the gin distilling, as my Bachelor’s thesis was about the history of distilling in the Netherlands in the 20th century, so I’m very happy that we found someone who would like to share a bit more about that.” says Rens. 

The Conference Commission

The organisers hope to spark interest in the topic and show the importance of cultural exchange and how it influences local cuisines, as well as how food culture transcends throughout history. “The main goal is to get them (participants) enthusiastic about the topic and show them the different ways it can be approached.” The conference will also include talks about the political implications of culinary exchange, historical practices and the cultural importance of foods through the ages. “We want to show our participants that you can do a lot with food history. There are a lot of topics that you might not even think about.”  

The event is not only aimed at history students. Organisers believe that anyone who is even vaguely interested in history or in the culture around food will find something they enjoy at the conference. Rens hopes that even students in other fields will enjoy the conference and hopefully broaden their perspective and interests, as well as finding a new way of interacting with their personal interests based on these new perspectives.

The tickets for the conference cost 12,50 euros for Ubbo members and 15 euros  for non-members and can be found at