The Flemishisation of Ghent's State University caused many Flemish students studying in Leuven to continue their studies in Ghent. In 1930-1931, some 150 students from Leuven had answered the call to study in Ghent. The AVHV, the overarching Flemish Students' Organisation in which the KVHV played an important role, distributed posters "Studeer in Gent" (Study in Ghent) in Leuven to prevent the university from becoming too depopulated by the departure of the foreign and French-speaking students. Among them were therefore many Flemishists.
Among those who came to Ghent were, among others, Dries VAN HOUWE, Gerard STAELENS, Leon VUYLSTEKE , Roland CATRYSSE and others. In the previous academic years in Leuven, they had been members of "'Moeder Mandel" , a society of which Gerard STAELENS was president in 1929-1930. R. CATRYSSE had still been a writer for the Veurnsche club in his Leuven period.
There was then also a "Roeselaarse" in Leuven, which however had a bad name due to excessive drinking. There was also a fierce battle in Leuven between the " flatten" (the Flemings) and the " tokken" (the Walloons). This struggle was a sign of rising Flemish sentiment. Coming over to Ghent can therefore be seen as a step out of principle, out of Flemish self-consciousness.
On 13 NOVEMBER 1930 the "Rodenbachsvrienden" were founded under the motto: "A loyal guild band binds us", with black, white and red as club colours. Founder and first president was Andries VAN HOUWE.
The origin of the colours is said to be found in the black and white of Roeselare and the red and white of Menen.
The TANGHE brothers, also brought over from Leuven and from Menen, preferred to join the Rodenbach friends rather than Moeder Kortrijk, whose members were regarded as "pretentious little fellows brought up in French". The club's first presidency and purpose can also be found in the appendix. At that time, a student had two caps, the so-called "flat", which he wore at the faculty, and the beer cap he wore during club evenings.
The statutes were drafted by Dries VAN HOUWE , though unfortunately these have been lost. Curiously enough from what we would expect today, women were not forbidden from entering the club. There were just very few of them. As a result, it may have grown historically not to include women in the club.
However, the number of activities then was limited to ?one a month. This was usually a students' group night, but there was also a brewery visit, a wine cellar visit. There were also a few activities that would recur annually: a velocross through ST. Martens-Latem and the Leievaart (now replaced by the Leie Walk).
The foremen of the Rodenbach Friends were very active . Thus we find Dries VAN HOUWE and R.TANGHE as members of the board of the Algemeen Vlaamsch Hoogstudentenverbond. Dries VAN HOUWE was also chairman of the committee to organise festivities. De Gentsche Fanfaren was led by R. Tanghe as president and J.Tanghe as vice-presse.
A club pub did not actually exist. Meetings were usually held at the quarters of one or the other. The activities themselves usually took place in the "Mac Leod House" (at 98 Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, (now 186), located next to the current pub "De Hoeve"), named after a former student leader. The never-full Mac Leod had ensured that a Nature and Medicine Congress was held every year since 1897. The first to be held through home language in Flanders.
The number of clubs in Ghent was even earlier limited: den AB, Wase Club, Domper, Oudenaerse Club, Meetjesland, the Limburgsche Gilde, the West-Vlaamsche Gilde, Het Steen, Rugcam and the Rodenbachsvrienden.
The club soon acquired the name worthy of the very best.
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