It was 1985. Four students of law, namely Sjieuwe Borger, Bart Bosch, Wybe Douma and Niek Knol, met up regularly. They talked about their common interest: literature. With some cheap red wine within reach, the Dutch, Russian, French or any other arts were discussed. The four read a lot. They borrowed each other’s books and gave recommendations.
It is said that in passing, the idea sometimes surfaced to open this community for other people as well. Each member knew at least a couple of bookish friends. However, it remained a vague suggestion.
Some time later, the idea resurfaced with Wybe Douma and Niek Knol. Niek had visited evening events at Literary Society AaBC before, and both had already spoken to people from existing reading groups. Wybe thought it would be good to organise something similar for students, but slightly different. Suddenly, they made haste.
Decision of foundation
After it was established that there were hardly any literary activities available for students as of yet, plans and discussions about the possibility of founding an association quickly came into play. Support was needed; two people did not seem like enough. Lydia Schot and Gerda Uyen, also students of law, were enthusiastic and did not hesitate.
One Friday evening, the decision was made beneath the bed on poles in Lydia’s room. The setup for the association was determined, board positions were distributed and agreements were made. In cafe ‘De drie Uiltjes’, they raised their glasses to this new association and their leap of literary faith.
That Friday evening, no consensus was reached yet about the name of this association. There were ideas aplenty, but none of them received unanimous support. Wybe and Niek were therefore tasked with finding a solution within a set amount of time. After trying to find a needle in a haystack for a long time, the two arrived in the library of the Nederlands instituut (Dutch institute). The name had to be found here. ‘Schuim en Asch’ (Foam and Ash), ‘De donkere kamer’ (The dark room), ‘Woutertje Pieterse’, ‘Omnibus’: all very lovely, but not appropriate.
Right before closing time, the book Studenten-Typen (Student Types) was taken from the shelves, as by chance. Neither knew the book. Their eye was immediately drawn to the name ‘Flanor’. This, as they noticed immediately, sounded good: a bit posh, but also very jolly. Although they decided to read the story first, the association’s name was more or less written in stone. Only in hindsight, it appeared that ‘Flanor’ was a good choice: it was a name with a history.
What came next
The association flourished and grew. From about 25 members during its first year to about 110 today. Those who want to know more about Flanor’s history, can read about the story mentioned above and much more in Flanor’s lustrum books: Sakkerloot! about the first five years, Vlietend vuur about the second five years and Studenten, leest! about the third five years. These books are available at the University Library Groningen.