Nieuws - 27 mei 2010

Like a king at number 2c

The Hoevestein student flats have been around for forty years. Reason enough for a week of celebrations under the slogan King-size: Live like a king at Hoevestein. Editor Roelof Kleis (47) went in search of his King-size feeling

Geeske and Roelof in Hoevestein room 2c-7 (now 6).
The first surprise: Hoevestein 239-2c, room 7 is not my room! Room 7 is now called room 6 as a result of internal renovations. What used to be room 5 has been sacrificed to create a new kitchen. Hence the renumbering. My former kitchen is now a laundry room. But where's the telephone?  That gets a laugh from Geeske Heringa, the current occupant of room 6. 'There are still flats in Wageningen with a shared telephone, but not here.'
Heringa (22) lives in 'my' room. And has done so for more than a year. She graduated as a nurse from the Christian University of Applied Sciences in Ede. That's possible these days, she explains. 'Idealis accommodation is also available to the CHE students in Ede.' She is a supply nurse at the Gelderse Vallei hospital, making her the only working person in the flats. The other members of the club are four Wageningen University students and two VHL students. Three boys and four girls in total.

The room itself has changed beyond recognition. My bright green walls are now cream. My blue armchair (second-hand from Emmaus for 25 guilders) has become a tea-rose pink sofa. My blue carpet has become parquet flooring, which if you look closely turns out to be just printed canvas. There is also a small table and a bed.
Geeske Heringa pays 245 euros and 53 cents a month for this room. That's about the same as I used to pay, although in my day it was in Dutch guilders. I also had to pay for 'general shopping' on top of that. A big difference to now, it turns out. 'We rarely eat together. Everyone has their own programme. You do talk to each other in the kitchen if you both happen to be cooking at the same time. I think we've eaten together three times since I've been living here. Yes, we do live fairly independent lives in these flats', says Heringa. She would really like them to do more as a group. But that's the way things are.
I realize now that we did nearly everything together. Eating, drinking, playing Risk. Even sleeping. The woman in room 4 still shares my bed, though it's now in Bennekom. We were really one big family, with the kitchen as our living room. I think back to the practical jokes we played. To Marc, who was constantly kept awake at night by an LP playing bird song under his window. It was only after the third night that he became suspicious. And Kees, whose surprise present at the Sinterklaas party was an enormous liver, a subtle reference to his alcohol consumption. King-size? Yes, we lived like kings.
But Geeske Heringa is also happy with her life at number 2c. 'I lived in a private house in Wageningen-Hoog before this. Here, you have more people to talk to. And it's great that you can get to Ede and the centre of Wageningen so easily. The number 80 and 88 buses stop outside the front door. I think I'll stay here for another year or so. I am registered with Huiswaarts. What I would really like is a small house with a garden, a bit like the ones around here. And a nice permanent job, of course.'