From first kiss at McDonalds to Italian proposal: Machiel and Chloë found love at the university
Many loves have their origins on campus, though not all of them last. Some campus couples are still together to this day. Towards the university's 100th anniversary, we collect their love stories. Machiel Hermans (29) and Chloe van Beek (28) first met at the Student for a Day program for Public Administration. They became an item in 2012 and tied the knot exactly ten years later.
“That’s a really nice girl, just my type,” Machiel remembers thinking when he first laid eyes on Chloe when they were students for a day. Prospective students who are interested in a particular degree program can become students for a day to see if that degree program speaks to them. In Machiel’s and Chloe’s case, the Student for a Day program consisted of a taster class and a campus tour. They did not connect that day, but they did see each other again a few months later, when they turned out to have been placed in the same Top Week group.
Blossoming love and lasagna
They made their first real connection when they visited student boat club Vidar in TOP Week. Machiel: “I was being a bit churlish; it had rained and as we were standing in tents, I started shaking one of the tent poles, and a big splash of water fell down. All over Chloe.” Chloe laughs. “The clothes on my back were soaked. I remember everyone got one modest helping of lasagna. Machiel managed to get seconds which he then gave to me. He won some brownie points there.”
After TOP Week, student life began in earnest. Machiel: “I used to hang out with Lisa, a classmate of ours. We’re still in touch with her and she was master of ceremonies at our wedding. I had confided in her that I fancied Chloe and she encouraged me to text her.” Chloe remembers it well: “His message read ‘Hey Chloe, what’s up?’ We had a midnight deadline that day and I hadn’t finished my assignment, so I only replied the next day.”
When we went to McDonald’s after our first proper date, we kissed for the first time
First kiss at McDonald’s
When shortly afterwards Chloe broke up with her boyfriend, they quickly became closer. “We first went on a double date at Esplanade. Our first proper date, just the two of us, was at the Brandpunt bar. When we went to McDonald’s after, we kissed for the first time.” Machiel and Chloe laugh. “When we got married, we were given lots of McDonald’s packages and vouchers.”
They went on several dates and met each other’s parents. Machiel vividly recalls the occasion when he first stayed over at Chloe’s parents’ place: “I had to sleep in the attic!” After a few of these sleepovers, he was allowed to spend the night in Chloe’s bedroom. “To me, that felt like her parents approved of me, so on December 6, the evening after we had celebrated Sinterklaas, I asked her to go out with me.”
Machiel and Chloe took classes together for three years, and then Machiel joined the University Council. That took some getting used to, Chloe recalls. “I had a side job with the City, so I’d get the seven o’clock bus, round about which time Machiel would typically come home, so to speak.” As a University Council member, Machiel represented students and their interests. The University Council has heft in discussions with the Tilburg University Executive Board as well as real influence on university policy and affairs. “What I really liked was Chloe being by my side to canvass for votes in the University Council elections,” Machiel relates. “Besides achieving personal growth, I wanted to contribute to student well-being. Chloe and I have that in common; we’re both keen to engage with societal themes. That’s why we both studied Public Administration and now both work for government agencies.”
While on vacation in Italy in September 2021 Machiel proposed to Chloe
Home in Tilburg
Once she had finished her Bachelor’s, Chloe did the Master’s program Public Administration at Tilburg and subsequently the Master’s HR and Change Management at Rotterdam. She was a trainee with the City of Tilburg and now works there as an HR policy advisor. Machiel, too, took a Master’s at Tilburg: Public Governance. Following a traineeship at KPMG, he has been a consultant with PA Consulting for several years now.
Sitting at their kitchen table in Tilburg, the couple look back on the past decade with big smiles. While on vacation in Italy in September 2021 Machiel proposed to Chloe, and in 2022 they took their vows, ten years after they had started dating. Having celebrated a delightful winter wedding at Maurick Castle in the company of many of their classmates, they went on a seven-week honeymoon to the Maldives, Thailand, and Vietnam. By now, they have settled into their working lives and in Tilburg, the place they hope to call home for many more years to come.
Date of publication: 26 June 2023