Good story about pipe smoking

Last Sunday saw the Dutch Pipe Smoking Championship, with a respectable delegation from Wageningen.
The Toebacksuyghers in training. Photo Guy Ackermans

The gentlemen of the Toebacksuyghers fraternity, part of student society SSR-W, are enthusiastic pipe smokers. Friday 8 September was the final training session in the living room of the house shared by the Toebacksuyghers.

Text Felix Landsman

The room has been converted into a traditional Dutch pub complete with ancient leather armchairs. How did the lads get into pipe smoking? ‘That’s a good story,’ says Spatial Planning student Martijn Smakman. ‘We started smoking pipes to help us get the debate going. When the room is thick with smoke, you can only judge someone by what they say, not what they look like. We also smoke pipes to keep the pipe-smoking culture alive.’ 

What actually happens at these championships? Biology student David Jacobs: ‘You get three grams of tobacco (which they measure out more carefully than Pablo Escobar ever did) and one minute to light the pipe. The trick is to keep the pipe going as long as possible. So don’t smoke too slowly and let it go out, or too fast and use up the tobacco. In the meantime, you can chill out and shoot the breeze.’ The winner is the person who keeps their pipe going for longest. ‘A good smoker can manage over an hour,’ says Jacobs.

The Wageningen contingent did well at the championship in Oirschot. Smakman: ‘One of our members got first place with an impressive time of one hour and three minutes for just three grams of tobacco. This is our contribution to the preservation of our intangible cultural heritage!’

The Toebacksuyghers are starting a pipe smoking guild in Wageningen. Interested? Mail to

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