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On Thursday May 31st, Vrije Universiteit Brussel will hold its traditional staff barbecue, turning the lawns around building M into an exuberant summer party with over 2000 attendees. Every year the barbecue becomes bigger with colleagues coming up with new ideas to add an extra dimension to the event. But there are fixtures too obviously, such as Thierry Fiermans’ amazing tjap, a VUB barbecue special sauce will haunt you long after the event.


Thierry, colleague at the Marketing, Communications & Events department, was there in 2001, when the very first staff barbecue was held. At that time no one knew whether there would be a second edition, let alone an eighteenth! He had a proverbial front row seat to almost all editions. Only once did he miss an edition.


Thierry: “The size of the barbecue keeps growing year after year in a very organic way. Every year, still more departments, faculties and research groups join the ranks. At first, everyone would prepare their own salads, grill their own meat. Gradually the organisation become a bit more professional though: canopy tents were rented, some departments hired professional caterers to prepare their food - so that all staff members could fully enjoy the barbecue and the staff moment didn’t feel like ‘work’.” Although it should be noted that the majority of participants still like to get behind the barbecue themselves. [Story continues under images]

One constant throughout all these editions is Thierry’s ‘amazing tjap’. This barbecue sauce, based on aioli and intensified with loads of garlic, chives and parsley, is one in a million. To give you an idea of just how strong Thierry’s ‘amazing tjap’ is: “I promise you that after eating my sauce you will secrete strong bodily odours for weeks, if not months to come. I guarantee you a summer vacations without pesky mosquitoes. And don’t worry about breathalyser tests anymore either. Delicious!” Have you got what it takes to try Thierry’s ‘amazing tjap’? Visit the Marcom tent during the staff barbecue and get yours. Everyone is welcome!

Thierry Fiermans' barbecue sauce is every year a must.

The animation around the staff barbecue also grows every year. DJ White, the alter ego of colleague Dries Peeters, knows how to kick off the party right from the get-go. Will you dance along? [Story continues under image]

DJ White Knows how to make VUB'ers dance (staff party 2016).

Last year the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences & Solvay Business School launched the EScobar. Back again this year, the crew of dean Joel Branson is welcome at the EScobar for a refreshing cocktail. [Story continues under image]

Also introduced last year: Scholar! The very first and only true VUB beer. A new recipe awaits approval of the VUB community. So make sure to come taste it! Marcom, another round please, thank you! [Story continues under image]

New this year is the foosball tournament organised by the colleagues of Mens & Organisatie (M&0). [Story continues under image]

The rectoral building is the gorgeous backdrop for the staff barbecue. Beginning in the fall, the building will be renovated. The Cigar, Caprice des Dieux, the rectorate, building M, the BraeM building… It goes by many names. VUB is looking for a new name to go along with the new vibe. Which name do you prefer? Let us know at the barbecue! [Story continues under image]

They’re here! The new VUB merchandise. From sunglasses to umbrellas. From pens to thumb drives. From coffee mugs to water bottles. Available in limited edition at the barbecue. [Story continues under image]

About the VUB staff barbecue

The staff barbecue at VUB has become a veritable tradition. The first edition took place in 2001, on the initiative of pro-rector Ben van Camp. It was Norbert Van Ypersele, at the time responsible for the Logistics & Events department, who put his shoulder to the wheel of the project and thought up the format of the staff barbecue as we know it today. Some twenty departments and about 300 staff members registered for the very first edition.


Today it is still the Logistics department, with Sven Goetkint of AV Services who takes the lead. This year more than 50 departments and 2000 colleagues will join in on the fun. In total, 90 grills and 450 kg of charcoal will be provided.


To avoid as much disposable plastic as possible, VUB recommends all faculties and departments to use the cutlery and plates of the student restaurant. VUB will donate the leftover vegetables and meat to the Brussels’ NGO Poverello.


With special thanks to CAVA, the university’s archive, for information on the very first barbecue in 2001.