‘We are aiming for the gold’

| Michaela Nesvarova

Twentse Thestrals, the quidditch team based at the UT, are currently in the lead of the national league. They will also participate in the Dutch Quidditch Cup, which will take place at the UT campus on the 26th – 27th of May.

To clarify, quidditch isn’t only a fictional game from Harry Potter books, but an official sport played worldwide. Its popularity keeps growing also in Enschede, home of Twentse Thestrals. This team was founded three years ago by UT students, who still form the majority of its members. We’ve met up with its captain Peter Hooijschuur (UT MSc student of Physics) and coach Alexander Blass (PhD candidate at the UT) to see what the Twentse Thestrals have been up to lately.


Originally referred to as ‘Muggle Quidditch’, this sport was created in 2005 at Middlebury College, Vermont. It has since grown into a real sport with official rules and played at national, European and even world championships. The game has rather complicated rules, but it includes all of the original Harry Potter vocables: it has broomsticks, a quaffle, bludgers, beaters, chasers, the golden snitch and seekers. In short it could be described as a team oriented sport for both genders (women and men play on the same team) that combines aspects of rugby, basketball and dodgeball.

What has changed for the team since the last time we spoke, almost three years ago?

Hooijschuur: ‘We’ve grown quite a bit. When we started, there was four of us. Now we have about fifteen active members and we can finally start playing competitively and start winning. This season we joined the Dutch Quidditch League.’

Blass: ‘And we are in the lead! We are half way through and we are definitely aiming for the gold.’

Who is on the team?

Hooijschuur: ‘Mostly UT students and Saxion students. We don’t have any staff member yet, but we are open to everyone. Anyone older than sixteen can join us. We hold open trainings every Wednesday evening.’

Blass: ‘There aren’t only Harry Potter fans on the team. There are some, but it’s shifting more towards people who appreciate the sport for itself. Me included. I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I was attracted to the sport because it’s very complex. It’s a combination of rugby, handball and dodgeball. It has a lot going on at the same time – that’s why we need seven referees on the pitch. So I’m in it for the sport. I even coach the national team “the Flying Dutchmen”.’

To be honest, that is something else than I expected.

Blass: ‘That is a sentence we hear a lot when it comes to quidditch! “It was something else than I expected.” Because it’s a lot harder than people originally think. They usually think it’s just a bunch of nerds running around, playing Harry Potter. But it’s a lot more challenging than that. And a lot more fun.’

Speaking of fun, I believe you will participate in the national championship in the near future?

Hooijschuur: ‘Yes, Dutch Quidditch Cup is a two day event for all Dutch teams associated with Quidditch Nederland, the national governing body of quidditch. It is “the event” to win if you want to call yourself the best team in the Netherlands.’

Blass: ‘Yes, and we plan to win. We believe we have a pretty good chance. Even though this is the team’s first official season, they have already proven themselves.’

Hooijschuur: ‘We are confident in our abilities. We want to keep growing and qualify for the European championship next year.’

Stay tuned

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