Going to classes on an estate you helped design. This can be a dream come true for third- and fourth-year students at Van Hall Larenstein and Helicon in Velp.
In November last year, the old monastery located on the VHL campus was pulled down. There was a desire to develop the estate into a 'green knowledge campus', not just for teaching but also for research and other activities. But there was no concrete plan for the bare sandy area then. That has changed now.
'The students know the estate; they come here every day to learn about their plants. They now have a really good opportunity to play a more creative role in it,' says Marianne van Lidth de Jeude, chairperson of the jury which will judge the entries. The students can unleash their creativity, adds this ex-lecturer at the applied sciences university, as long as their designs fit the context of the present park and relate to a social theme (such as urban agriculture or nature). 'The starting point is cooperation - that is the basis. Each group must have a student of Garden and Landscape Design, a student of Forest and Nature Management and/or a student from Helicon. We want them to inspire one another.'
The students have until Friday 23 November to submit their designs. Besides Van Lidth de Jeude, the jury comprises the commissioner Rien Komen and lecturers Marius Christaans, Brechtje Horsten and Jan van Merriënboer. Van Lidth de Jeude: 'I have been asked because I have often set and supervised competitions in the past. I was always involved in getting students interested in challenges of this kind because I feel it is important to widen your horizons. I don't know how popular this competition will be among the students. We'll just wait and see.'
Until 1973 the demolished monastery building housed a monastery and a reformatory. Afterwards, it was occupied by a vocational secondary school (VMBO). The property was empty for one and a half years before it was finally pulled down.