The MEX is the short trip abroad organized by Het Waterbouwdispuut annually. The trip takes place in early December and lasts five days. In recent years we visited places like Venice, Dublin and Gibraltar. The trips are a good mix of fun and great excursions to universities or hydraulic engineering projects.
The group consists of approximately 25 students accompanied by one or two professors from the TUDelft. The trip is organized by a committee of four students called the MEX.
It was a late Friday afternoon, when 24 students gathered in front of our Civil Engineering Faculty. They were all in a very good mood, because the MEX (Meerdaagse Excursie, translation: multiple day excursion) was about to begin! This year the MEX was going to Hamburg, the city with the second biggest port in Europe. It took a very enjoying 6-hour bus trip to get there. Once there we met our supervisors, Tiedo Vellinga and Bas Wijdeven, who travelled by plane. After having our first half-liter of beer in the hostel we were ready to explore the city and then go to sleep.
Saturday morning after a short breakfast we went to the port where the Research Vessel Sonne was docked. The ship was built in 1969 and converted in 1977 into a research vessel for marine resources. It was equipped for seismic measurements, and the spacious working deck was adapted to the deployment of marine geology equipment. Today, it is used for all fields of marine research. We had a tour around the boat to see all the equipment and had the possibility to ask questions. After we’d seen the Vessel, we walked through Der Alter Elbtunnel, which is a 1 kilometer long tunnel build in 1911 beneath the Elbe, to have a beautiful view of the city Hamburg. In the afternoon everyone had some spare time. A few were eager to explore some more of the city, while others found the Biergarten interesting because of the typical German culture. Of course we all had a very long and exciting night on the Reeperbahn, Europe’s largest red light district and home to strip clubs, bars and nightclubs.
Early the next morning everyone was getting ready for our visit to Hafencity. The HafenCity is a new large urban development project in Hamburg. A big part of this area is flood proof, which meant that the buildings with closed doors and windows where water-resistant. Saturday afternoon it was time for our most cultural activity on the program: Visiting das Nordderby, Hamburg SV-Werder Bremen. In a packed Imtech Arena we enjoyed a 2-0 victory of HSV led by Rafael van der Vaart over arch rival Werder Bremen.
Sunday was our last day in Hamburg. We had a boat tour in cooperation with Hamburg Port Authority. During the tour Mr. Jahn from HPA showed us the development of the port, the reasons for the success of Hamburg as a universal port and of course the container terminals.
This concluded our fantastic weekend in Hamburg. We would like to thank HPA, our professors Tiedo Vellinga and Bas Wijdeven for joining us and of course all participants for making this an unforgettable trip!
On Thursday the 5th of December 22 students, Tjerk Zitman and Kasper Lendering left Delft behind them to visit Edinburgh! Leaving Delft was very difficult due to the weather. A very heavy storm came over The Netherlands. This caused several cancelled flights and trains. Luckily the flight was delayed, so that the students came on time at the airport.
When the students arrived at Edinburgh the stormed was calmed and the students took the bus to the hostel. After everything was settled in the hostel, the group had to explore the city! This could only be done in the pubs which Edinburgh had to offer.
The next day a bus was waiting in front of the hostel to pick us up. It drove us to the office of Royal HaskoningDHV, where we get a presentation by Mike Ramsay. He told us about the ‘Helix Project’ where they were working on lately. After the presentation we went off to the famous Falkirk Wheel, in which we got a tour. After that everyone had taken pictures of this amazing hydraulic construction, we went to the ‘Helix Project’ which was in the neighborhood, so that we could get vision of what Mike was telling us about in the morning. In the evening we had a good dinner and we were ready to try some whiskeys.
On Saturday we had to get up early, because we had to drive 3 hours to Collieston. This is small village (300 villagers) close to Aberdeen with a serious pier problem. The pier is more than 100 years old and it’s about to break. Huib Attema welcomed us here and gave us a tour around. We saw the pier has a lot of cracks and something has to be done about it. A few old villagers made a delicious lunch for us, so that we had enough energy to brainstorm about new alternatives for the pier. In short, it was a very nice day and everyone was really excited about it. In the evening we ate pizzas and went to some pubs again.
Sunday was given as a free day, although we bought for everyone tickets for the rugby game between Edinburgh – Gloucester. The rest of the day was free, so everyone split up. Some were going to shop and others wanted to do some sightseeing in Edinburgh. At 19:00 we all gathered at a restaurant and finished our day in a salsa bar.
On Monday morning we had to pack our bags and clean up the rooms. However the MEX wasn’t finished yet! We took the train to North Queens Ferry. He gave us a presentation about The Forth Bridge. After the presentation we were going to the top of the bridge by an elevator. The view was amazing and so was the bridge. In the afternoon there was time to buy some souvenirs before we went back to The Netherlands.
At last I want to thank Tjerk Zitman and Kasper Lendering for travelling with us these days. And I would like to thank Harmen Schölvinck, Sjoerd Leenders and Floortje Hofland for helping me to organize the MEX!
On a snowy thursday night 25 Hydraulic Engineering students gathered at Delft trainstation to start the 2012 excursion to London. The trip was long and exhausting, but at arrival at 7 in the morning (almost) everybody was excited to start the first company visit, namely with Royal HaskoningDHV. Mister Whiting led us around urban projects he was the project director of, at Worcester Park and Wandle park. These sites were issued with different kinds of hydraulic problems, it was interesting to see the solutions Royal HaskoningDHV has come up with, in co-operation with the municipality. After returning to the city center we went for our first cultural excursion: to Shakespears Pub, where we had our first real british pint, no foam and half-warm.
On saturday we travelled to the suburbs by tube, to visit the Thames River Barrier, one of the Thames tidal defences. After a very extensive lecture from the local guide, we took a red double decker bus to Greenwich, from where we boarded a boat that brought us all the way up to Westminster abby, which abled us to sail under the Tower bridge and see almost all historic sites of London.
That night we discovered London night life, with great Jazz clubs, not so great taxi drivers and some more of earlier mentioned pints.
On sunday we had a day off, which allowed everyone to do what they want. Some city tours, museum visits, christmas markets and serious shopping were the main activities. That night we met at a Chinese restaurant to have diner, unfortunately for some of us their food contained a large amount of whole red chilli peppers, which of course had to be finished before taking off..
Monday we had a pretty busy last day scheduled, in the morning we were welcomed at City University by proffessor Qingwei Ma and his PhD students. We got to see their laboratories and were presented the research they were currently working on. This was mainly on the numeric side of hydraulics. After this we hurried on to the head quarters of EC Harris – partner of Arcadis, where Fred (EC Harris) and Jeffrey (Arcadis) on their latest projects in the London area, e.a. the replacement of an ac system in a very busy street, and preparing the london underground in all imaginable ways for the London 2012 Olympic games. This was also the last visit of our excursion, and after a very tastefull meal at McDonalds we hurried to be in time to board our bus, driving us back to Rotterdam.
This years trip went to Eastern Europe; Belgrade, Serbia. On Saturday the 10th of December 23 students and Mark Voorendt gathered at Delft Central station to begin the study trip to the East. For the first time no students were late, so without any stress we arrived at Eindhoven Airport right on time.
At ten o€˜clock in the evening we arrived at the hostel, where we were warmly welcomed by the owner. And when everyone was finally settled at eleven we were able to have dinner in a restaurant near the hostel. This would be the first of several mixed grills in Belgrade. That evening we discovered that the term Party capital of the world, which some people called Belgrade, was only valid during summer. After a quick look at the H2O bar (closed) and a beer in a typical Serbian disco (irritating music) we ended in the Tube, which was a good spot to dance till five in the morning.
We started our study trip with a day without any hydraulic engineering. Sunday morning was free to fill in for all, but after lunch we met at a fancy shopping mall. Here was the start of a guided walking tour through Belgrade. It was amazing to see the city with those three guides, who lived in Belgrade for many years and knew the ins and outs. Again we had a great Serbian lunch (mixed grill). We ended the day on a boat-bar, where we had pizza’s and rakia’s (Serbian Alcohol).
On Monday we had to get up at five in the morning, because at half past five a bus would be waiting for us. Together with Roberto Zanneti, who often works in Belgrade for Witteveen en Bos, we would be visiting the Djerdap 1. This is the largest hydro electric power plant of Europe. It took us about five hours to get there (and five hours back) but it was worth it. We visited the dam itself as well as the locks and the control centre. A tour given by two engineers brought us everywhere and we were able to ask all kind of questions. After the visit to the dam we were taken to a restaurant for another Serbian meal together with some rakia’s.
Tuesday was our last full day in Belgrade and we got up early to visit the University of Belgrade. After an “interesting” story about the University and the faculty of Civil Engineering we went to the department of hydraulic engineering. We did not have a lot of time here, but it was interesting to see the difference with our faculty in Delft. Then, the woman from the university had arranged a tour for us at the building site of a new bridge over the Danube. It would take another month to finish the bridge, so it was great to see the last stage of the building process.
Our last meeting was be at the Dutch embassy in Belgrade. Here we had a talk with two employees of the embassy about Serbia and Belgrade. Especially the membership of Serbia to the Europian Union is a hot topic and we learned a lot about the admission process (which is still going on). They also had a tip for dinner that evening, and we enjoyed a great meal in a nice restaurant at the riverside.