News - April 21, 2011

Student house full of nature-loving foodies

Animal House Irene in Velp has reached the semi-final of the Best Student House of the Year competition. The lifestyle of the green VHL students who live here is typified by their herb garden and walks on the Veluwe.

In the hall hang heavy streamers made of beer bottletops, but the toilet in Animal House Irene looks clean. This week a film crew from is recording how many crates of beer there are, whether food is crawling out of the fridge and how grubby the loos are. But the Velp student house is not a pigsty. 'The cleaning rota works well. We all want to sit on a clean loo ourselves', says Martijn Zijlemans, who recently graduated from Van Hall Larenstein. The tidiest room, which is also an unofficial living room, is his. But at least the enormous collection of beer glasses and the large Playboy poster of a naked Patricia Paay from 1987 confirm a few clich├ęs.

Along with ten other houses, this former farmhouse in Velp is competing for the title 'best student house of the year'. And for a washing machine and drier, bedding and a holiday at an Italian campsite for the whole house. 'It is a popular house. It is friendly and cheap to live in', explains second year student Lieke Jager. The 17 VHL students of Forest and Nature Management or Garden and Landscape Design who live here are all members of Arboricultura student society. The house spawns a good number of board and committee members. Internally, the residents also organize a fair few activities such as parties and games evenings. Martijn: 'We often hold men's evenings, watching football with other student houses. Women are allowed too, but not wearing bras.' Does anyone check? No, we don't, laugh the students.
The residents of this house are keen on good food too. Tapas, or stuffed mushrooms at a barbecue. 'We have to show new people the ropes and teach them how to cook', says Martijn. After a meal, they often go for a walk on the Veluwe together. Or they go mushroom-picking on a Sunday afternoon. They even keep a herb garden. 'We are all outdoor types. Maybe we are slightly cleaner, greener and more environment-conscious than the average student', says Lieke.
Martijn entered the house for the competition on just for a joke. Of 28 entrants, the 11 semi-finalists were chosen on the basis of online votes. On 10 may, the finalists will be announced and on 19 May the winner. Until then, people can vote every day at