Students
Pepijn and Rutger from Studentenkak at home in their ‘boardroom’. Photo by Zuzana Ľudvikova

The guys behind Studentenkak

Going viral with drunk shenanigans

Pepijn and Rutger from Studentenkak at home in their ‘boardroom’. Photo by Zuzana Ľudvikova
What started as a joke by two roommates from Groningen eighteen months ago has since become the biggest Dutch student account on social media. ‘It’s kind of bizarre that so many people know who we are.’
31 January om 10:35 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 31 January 2024
om 10:37 uur.
January 31 at 10:35 AM.
Last modified on January 31, 2024
at 10:37 AM.
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Door Tim van de Vendel

31 January om 10:35 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 31 January 2024
om 10:37 uur.
Avatar photo

By Tim van de Vendel

January 31 at 10:35 AM.
Last modified on January 31, 2024
at 10:37 AM.

‘To be honest, our first video was a joke’, says Rutger. His roommate, Pepijn, had uploaded a video to TikTok. It showed Rutger’s room, which was extremely dirty. Pepijn can be heard commenting: ‘Rutger, dude, this is insane.’

The room was covered in leftover food, dirty laundry, and other junk. The way the person pronounces ‘Rutger, dude’ completes the stereotypical image of students as slobs.

They didn’t really give it much thought after posting it, but the next day, the video had amassed 70,000 views. ‘I was like, that’s a lot. We should keep this up.’ 

Drunken shenanigans

Today, the pair have 160,000 followers on their Instagram account Studentenkak, nearly all their videos are viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and there isn’t a Dutch student who isn’t familiar with the phrase ‘Rutger, dude’.

We thought we’d keep going and hope for the best

The two business administration students at the UG often post videos of drunk students engaged in shenanigans. It was never their intention to start a whole account, says Rutger, ‘but we smelled success and thought we’d keep going and hope for the best.’

While they started with TikTok, they soon moved Studentenkak to Instagram. ‘TikTok has a much stricter policy on removing videos, because they might encourage dangerous behaviour’, Rutger explains. ‘It’s too bad, because it’s easier to go viral on TikTok.’

Initially the guys, both members at student association Albertus, mainly posted videos of themselves and their friends – ‘never with our faces visible’ – but it wasn’t long before people started sending them videos. Not just of people from Groningen, but from far and wide. 

Million views

Some submissions were spontaneous, but they soon started telling people to send them videos. ‘Our goal was to get as big as possible as quickly as possible’, says Rutger. 

And it worked. These days, Pepijn and Rutger are no longer surprised if a video gets a million views. ‘That dopamine surge you get from going viral has diminishing returns.’

That dopamine surge you get from going viral has diminishing returns

Why are so many people into videos of drunk students throwing up, gross rooms, and fires in the common room? Rutger thinks it’s because of the insular nature of the student community. ‘It’s a look behind the scenes. Not all our followers are students, but people enjoy having a look at what goes on behind the doors of student houses.’

One of their long-time followers was the CEO at a large tech company, so they decided to approach him for a give-away. They didn’t think anything would come of it, but they actually received a message from his secretary. ‘He was a big fan and wanted to help us out!’ The pair got a brand-new barbecue and some headphones out of the deal.

Famous people

Several famous Dutch people are also keeping an eye on their account. They regularly got DMs, for instance from Antoon and Koen with the Bankzitters, and Sander Schimmelpenninck gave them a shout-out in his podcast. ‘That was pretty funny’, says Rutger. ‘It’s one thing to know that you have a lot of followers, but it’s bizarre how many people actually know who we are.’ 

The responses to their videos come in two very distinct categories: while a lot of people think it’s ‘awesome’, others are disgusted by what the students are doing. But at least they hit that follow button. ‘There’s so many things you’re not supposed to be doing these days, so I think people enjoy that we just post whatever we want’, says Rutger.

Sometimes their posts are a hit, sometimes they aren’t. ‘Sometimes a video that we didn’t like all that much goes viral, or one we do like is a total dud.’

No sex

But they don’t post just anything. ‘Sometimes things get taken too far, or make people look really bad.’ They never post sexual content, for instance. ‘Even if we did want to post it, Instagram wouldn’t let us. It’s hard to figure out where the line is.’

It’s hard to figure out where the line is

Besides, the people in the video rarely give permission for it to be posted. ‘Either one of their friends sends it to us, or someone they don’t even know.’ They sometimes get messages from people in the videos. ‘The other day we removed a video of someone lighting a cigarette with a deodorant spray can’, says Rutger. ‘His boss found the video and sent it to him.’

When something like that happens, they almost always remove the videos. ‘It’s kind of a shame, because it means they have the potential to go viral. Then again, I wouldn’t want a video of myself puking to be seen by everyone.’

Web shop

The students aren’t really looking for fame. The people close to them know it’s their account, but other than that, they haven’t come out. They’re much more into having fun, as well as the web shop they started last year. 

As Rutger tells it, they thought it would be ‘a laugh’ to print some t-shirts. These were such a success that they now have a permanent collection and they even sold Christmas sweaters last year. ‘We get around six hundred orders a year.’

As business administration students, it was always their ambition to become entrepreneurs, so why not use Studentenkak to sell some drinking gadgets, custom shirts for year clubs, or products for associations celebrating their anniversary? ‘It would be really cool if this took off.’ 

If it doesn’t, that’s fine too, Rutger says. ‘The experience in social-media marketing and entrepreneurship will just come in handy when I’m looking for a job.’

Studentenkak merchandise.

Dutch