Student - 18 maart 2020

A caretaker blogs: no more friendly chats in the Bornesteeg


These are strange times for Idealis caretaker Eugene van Meteren too. The normally so busy Bornsesteeg is quiet and Eugene misses the hustle and bustle.

‘I quite often walk from the office at the Bornsesteeg towards the Nexus building. Normally I have to watch where I walk as hundreds of students race past me on their bikes, heading for the university. Today the sun is shining and I’m walking alone, it is dead quiet and the only ones flitting past are merrily twittering birds. It feels totally unreal and there is none of the usual hustle and bustle. In the distance I can see the Forum, looking abandoned.

I come back to the office a bit later. This is the day I’m usually on duty at the desk, together with my colleague from customer services. And, dozens of residents drop in with all sorts of questions, or just for a friendly chat, while students stand around chatting in the entrance hall, and play table tennis in the common room. Today I work behind closed doors. And it is deserted and quiet outside.

Normally I have to watch where I walk as hundreds of students race past me

No get-togethers
The cabinet has announced new measures for preventing the further spreading of the coronavirus. We are all following the guidelines issued by the RIVM (the National Institute for Public Health and Environment). And that certainly has a big impact on Idealis and our tenants. The desk in the office is closing for the next three weeks. But we can be reached by telephone or by email. At various locations around Wageningen, we have closed the common rooms and bars. My colleague tells me that emails have come in from worried residents, saying that now that most public facilities are closed, there are going to be parties in the shared kitchens in the flats. You can’t get together in the pub for a beer or have a drink in the canteen after sports anymore. I can understand students being creative in finding ways to get together anyway. But now we need everyone to act responsibly.

We are witnessing history

My mother survived World War II, and she often tells me heart-rending, but also beautiful stories about that period. She witnessed a major historical event. We are witnessing history now… later we’ll tell heart-rending, but also beautiful stories about the collective battle against the coronavirus.’