News - June 9, 2015

Former students start escape room

Rob Ramaker

Two former students opened an escape room in Wageningen this week. In such a game, participants have to liberate themselves from a locked room by solving puzzles under time pressure.

Photo: Joeri Versteegen (l) and Rutger Kroes

Since yesterday you can be locked up in an abandoned factory building in the Nude, in a rebuilt bunker. Voluntary. For a fee. You step into the shoes of an allied prisoner of war who gets a chance to escape when all the guards abandon their posts. This so-called escape room is an initiative of former students Joeri Versteegen and Rutger Kroes. To escape, teams search for objects, identify codes and solve logic puzzles. And they have one hour to do so.

The idea to start an escape room arose when Versteegen and Kroes could not find full-time work after graduation. ‘We had played it a few times’, says Versteegen, ‘and we always wondered how to make such a room yourself’. Last January, they started to work with their daydream. It was hard work, but also gave a kick. ‘You try to come up with original games and you're busy with your own business.’ Next year should show how many visitors the room attracts and whether it is profitable. Meanwhile, a successor is already thought about. Because you can only play a room once.

We had played it a few times and we always wondered how to make such a room yourselfje zelf zo'n kamer zou maken.
Joeri Versteegen

The idea of escape rooms is derived from computer games. The first room would have started in 2006 already, in Silicon Valley. The phenomenon became popular in the Netherlands in 2014 and meanwhile there are almost 120 rooms, differing in themes and quality, in our country. Moreover you find the real Mekka of escape rooms in Boedapest.

The Resource-editors were the first to start in the escape room yesterday. We quickly discovered that Versteegen and Kroes created a challenging room with a few surprises. Ultimately, a few suggestions were necessary but we reached the exit safely with 3,5 minutes remaining on the clock. A time that, we suspect, possible to defeat by a group of smart students.

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