The SPIL was founded in 1981 and already has a rich history. The association has already organized many trips, readings and debates.
It all started in 1981, when students from Leiden discussed the possibility of founding an association of political science students. In 1980 Political Science wasn't its own study but a specialization within Law. During the first meeting in café ‘De Uyl van Hoogland’ the name of the association was agreed upon: Gapende Hoogten (Gaping Heights). The name was chosen for the simple fact that one of the attendees was reading Gapende Hoogten by Aleksander Zinovjev. The name was agreed upon by all attendees and was registered in the local Chamber of Commerce. Gapende Hoogten was now officially founded.
Despite the fact that Political Science was a rather minor part of the Law Faculty its activities were well visited. The first activity of Gapende Hoogten was a showing of a video: All the President’s men. Guest speakers who spoke at readings always got the same gift: Zinovjev's book. The first international trip, to Bonn this time, was organized in the association's second year. In 1983 the University of Leiden decided that there should be a separate study for Political Science. Because of this another two Political Science associations were founded. One with an international orientation, the Leidse Political Science Association (LePSA) and one that released a magazine, and thus was called, Debat.
Merger into the SPIL
The then chairman of the department of Political Science, Hans Daalder, decided that three associations was two too many. All three had good intentions but they would only get subsidised when the three associations would merger. And that's how it happened. Since 1988 the activities that before were provided by Gapende Hoogten, LePSA and Debat were now provided by the SPIL.
The committee of foreign activities came out of LePSA, the committee of internal activities came out of Gapende Hoogten and out of Debat came Debat (the magazine of the study association). To finance the expensive Debat the SPIL founded a book-fond: the SPIL decided to work with book store Kooyker so that its members could get their books cheaper.
Since the years 1995/1996 the tasks of the SPIL were expanded to include the job opportunity seminar Political scientists in Perspective (PiP). This seminar still takes place every year with help from the political science associations of the Free University (EOS), the University of Amsterdam (Machiavelli) and the University of Nijmegen (Ismus).
During the trip to Rome in 1996 the SPIL got into contact with Italian political science students. It was decided then to found an international student association for political science. Because of the information and connections exchanged a lot of other associations in Europe got interested. In 1998 after a seminar in Leiden it was decided to found the International Association of Political Science Students (IAPSS).
These days the SPIL is still a flourishing association which, since its founding, has only managed to be successful thanks to people who believe in the SPIL and who think that it is a fun association.