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October 2017
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Erasmus Paviljoen – More than a simple place for a quick lunch


The Erasmus University is known for its vibrant and sociable campus life with its wide range of places offering different kinds of food, from coffee and cake over kebabs and fries to sate and Asian noodle soups. Opposite the food court the Paviljoen is located in the middle of the university campus in a cube-like building with glass fronts on all four sides offering a beautiful view on the fountains of the Erasmus University. The huge terrace makes a great spot to relax outside with a cup of coffee between classes or to celebrate the end of a long day with dinner and some beers. However, besides being a very convenient and nice location, I found three more aspects that make the Erasmus Paviljoen more than another place for food on campus:

First of all, the Erasmus Paviljoen is sustainability driven and not profit oriented, which allows student-friendly prices for food from high quality. The Erasmus Paviljoen is the place to go to for balanced meals and healthy food, which has recently become an increasingly important topic for students as well. Their unique menu offers different specials every week and all meals are prepared with organic ingredients retrieved from mostly local suppliers. The chef of the Erasmus Paviljoen, Ilja Freeling-Duke, said in an interview with “Erasmus University and you” that he likes to keep surprising people and as a regular customer I can tell that he succeeds very well: Let it be the goose special during the pre-Christmas season, the weekly soups or salads changing according to available seasonal products, or the various vegetarian and vegan meals and gluten-free options. From vegetarians to food-lovers and picky eaters – everyone will be able to find a suitable dish for oneself. Does this make you curious to find out about the three highlights of the regular menu? I personally consider the number one dish the burger, which is also offered as a delicious veggie-version made from lentils and comes with garlic-rosemary spiced fries. Another must-try is the Pizza Prosciutto served with rocket salad by request and of course the classic salad from lentils and beets with a tasty balsamico-dressing. In a nutshell the Paviljoen is a place on campus where nutrition, quality and taste as much as fair prices are regarded as essentials of the culinary culture.
Another reason, why the Paviljoen is far more than a canteen or a fast food restaurant is the great environment it offers. The lively, vibrant atmosphere during the day changes into a rather relaxed (or how the Dutchies would say “gezellig”) vibe with candlelight and pleasant music in the evenings. Although the self-service provides the possibility or a quick lunch break from the all-day-every-day-study-flow it is also a great spot for a date with your crush from your new seminar or for a long catch-up with friends to exchange all the gossip over coffee and some treats. Furthermore it is also the perfect location to study: The slight background music in the café stimulates creativity and productivity in order to write assignments and the study area provides complete silence when full focus is required. It feels more comfortable and maybe not as isolated to spend your days there as for example in the library building. Moreover it serves as a convenient place for group work and meetings. Thus serious topics can be discussed in a pleasant and cozy environment. Dominika Tess, who has been working in service at the Paviljoen for almost one and a half years now summarizes it well:

“The Paviljoen is just a place for everyone: We get a lot of diversity within our customers. Not just students but also the university’s personnel and professors come here as much as visitors do to enjoy the atmosphere and culinary highlights we offer.”


Furthermore, what is often unknown by many students, is the wide range of events at Paviljoen being organized by SG Erasmus. As quoted on their website they create “social and cultural programs throughout the year for students of the Erasmus University Rotterdam“. Erasmus SG state on their website that they have three goals hosting such events: They wish to “provide insight into the coherence of sciences, contribute to a social sense of responsibility“ and „to cultural and social development/growth“. The Paviljoen offering their stage, foyer, theater and of course the café and study area for a broad scale of subjects and events are hoping to create a location where “students, employees and visitors can meet each other through an inspiring program”, as stated on their concept. Great examples for events, which have been taken place at the Paviljoen, are lectures on controversial topics such as the increasingly popular application tinder or the Syria conflict. The floor manager Esa de Vries says:

“In my opinion what is so special about the Paviljoen are diverse, private and public events combined with great hospitality service. The depth of events and the educated audience make the Paviljoen a place to exchange viewpoints, to spread knowledge and to bring different cultures together since the university is so internationally oriented. Despite the Italian-based kitchen we still enhance the Dutch culture by offering certain Dutch dishes and the core concepts we live upon to in our working culture. It is very important to us that we use sustainable working methods, which are beneficial to our employees and our environment as much as to animal welfare. Last year we even earned the price for the most sustainable hospitality business.”

Hence the Paviljoen is indeed more than just one place for a quick lunch on campus. A very suitable description used in their concept is the statement that the Erasmus Paviljoen is “a vibrant meeting point and the heart of Erasmus University”.

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