Geert’s first major trip abroad was a trip to Indonesia as an intern on board of the SS Johan de Witt, where he spent most of his time down below in the engine room. The trip inspired his fantasy to become a teacher in Indonesia “in a technical subject because they (…) need to modernize society“. He decided against it “because you cannot develop another country. The only people who can develop a country are the people of that country.”
In 1947 both Peter and Geert went off to college, and both became member of the “Delftsch Studentencorps”, the student fraternity, or as Geert would later say: “arrogant student fraternity“.. As part of the traditional initiation rites of the fraternity, both were clean shaven. Geert took an active part in the anniversary celebration of the fraternity. He also became a member of the editorial board of the fraternity newspaper where he wrote opinion pieces and fantasies under the pseudoniem Desiderius Villa.
President of VCSB
Geert received a grant (Bataafse studieprijs) from Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corporation for the specific purpose of funding extracurricular activities which the company deemed important for the development of leadership capabilities.
He used the grant to be able to become the president of the VCSB, the Christian Student Society. In “Why I am a Christian” he wrote: I have never believed that the world is without a purpose. This purpose would need to come from an authority that is more than human authority. The word for this is “God”.
Later in life, he terminated his church membership.
Listen to Geert tell about the impact of his experience as chair of the Liberal Christian Student Association.
He became a member of Leeghwater, the student association for mechanical engineers.
As active member of the board of the Leeghwater student association, he helped organise the yearly excursion to Scotland. To prepare the trip, he went to Rotterdam and hitched a passage aboard a freight vessel.