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In this series we would like to give you a preview behind the scenes of the organisation of the NKIR. From participants to organisers to partners, in this blog you can read more about this event. How does one prepare for the NKIR? How does someone experience the NKIR? The first blog was written by the chairman of the team organising the NKIR.

When was the first time you came in contact with the NKIR? 

That was in 2014, by accident actually. At the time, during the infamous “NKIR drink” at Nereus, a group of first-year competition rowers were gathered to do a 250 meters in the club’s gym. The best four were allowed to start at the NKIR 2014, “pretty cool” I thought. A few days before the relevant drink, I didn’t make the cut for the freshman lightweight team. That was quite a bummer, but that made me see the NKIR as an opportunity to start a cool race that year. Back to the drinks: about 30 other boys were waiting their turn on trembling legs. I was a bit thinner than my fellow participants, but I had already gained some erg experience. I managed to set a pretty good time, I thought. Was it good enough? Probably not. Fortunately, almost everyone else, except for three much larger guests, lost their bench halfway the 250 meters. As you can tell, it was a big success. 

Apart from your participation as a competition rower, have you started NKIR before?

Yes I have. I also started the NKIR as a race rower. My first NKIR as a competition rower was by far the most exciting time, even though as a race rower a lot more is expected of you. The tension I felt before my first NKIR is possibly the greatest tension I have ever felt in my rowing career.

A number of years have passed since then, now you experience the NKIR in a completely different way. How is that?

Indeed! For the second year in a row I am the chairman of the Committee for the Dutch Indoor Rowing Championship, in Dutch called the NKIR. Before that, I also spent a few years at Quaestor. As chairman, I really just check whether the big picture of the event is correct. Experience is useful, but actually my fellow committee members do most of the work.

What is the best thing about organising the NKIR?

First of all, we always have a really nice group to join together. That is one of the most important drivers, especially because you do it voluntarily. In addition, I think it is very cool to see how, normally, we transform the Sporthallen Zuid into the stage for the NKIR in one day. Then the next day more than 1,600 rowers start and we demolish the entire scene the same evening. A kind of guerilla attack on the Sporthallen Zuid, actually.

This year the event will not take place in the Sporthallen Zuid, what keeps you going?

This year we started with the idea that we would have to cancel the NKIR 2020. I am very proud of how we transformed the event. From an event with perhaps the least desirable circumstances at this time: thousands of people screaming, panting and sweating in one room. To an event where everyone can still start, safely from their own living room, sports club or association. All this with a new live stream and even the option to start in connection with each other. As icing on the cake, this year we also are raising money for a huge charity: World Child Cancer Netherlands.


What are your tips for participants of the NKIR?

I actually have several:

  1. Are you reading this and do you live abroad? This year you can participate in the NKIR without coming to Amsterdam, so logically this also applies to international participants!
  2. If you want to participate in a live field, first check carefully whether you can meet all technical requirements. Good ergometer, decent internet, correct cables, etcetera.
  3. Make sure you take pictures of your participation. We will also place images that are submitted of participations in the submit field in the livestream. In addition, it will be possible to live stream yourself during the live fields.
  4. Subscribe! This year may be the easiest year ever to participate in the NKIR. You don’t even have to come to Amsterdam! No excuses, just register!
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