Saturday 13 May 2000 is etched into the memories of many University of Twente staff, students and alumni. On that date, 20 years ago, the fireworks factory of SE Fireworks, located in the middle of the neighbourhood Roombeek, exploded. The explosion is one of the biggest disasters in The Netherlands: twenty-three people pass away and nearly 950 people get (severely) wounded. None of the victims are student or employee at UT, but more than fifty students and seventeen employees lose their home and all of their posessions. The disaster has a strong impact on campus life: all UT activities are cancelled and victims reside in the guest lodges.
On 14 June, a benefit concert to raise money for the victims is organised. Originally, the concert was to be held at the Arke stadium (the residency of FC Twente), but the organisation decided to go for the UT campus. 'The stadium doesn't have the necessary licences to host the concert, and it would be too complicated to arrange that before the date of the concert.', said Tonnie Buitink, UT event manager and coordinator of the concert at that time.
The concert was visited by 25.000 visitors and many famous Dutch musicians perform (free of charge) during the concert: City to City, Kane, Buffoons, Gerda Havertong, Bløf, Van Dik Hout, Volumia, Total Touch, Marco Borsato, Ilse de Lange, Abel, Dutch Divas and Ernst Daniël Smit. Eventually, with the benefit concert 837.980 euro is raised, almost two million guilder at that time. All in all, a very impressive period but also an impressive sign of support for all victims!