You might have been approached in the Forum by Master’s student of Landscape Architecture Coos van Ginkel (23). He goes there every other week, together with another member of his student association Navigators Wageningen, to talk to anyone who is interested about the meaning of life and religious beliefs.
Photo Anne van der Heijden
‘I have been pleasantly surprised by how open and honest people are. They often have very different ideas on important themes than me, but that means you can have an interesting discussion.’ It is not Coos’s aim to convert people. ‘I couldn’t even do that if I wanted to,’ he laughs. ‘I just want to show people that there is more than one way of looking at things.’
Coos’s student life largely revolves around NSW, and it has been an important factor in coming to enjoy life in Wageningen. ‘You make friends and then you start to feel at home, and get to like it more.’ Which was just as well, because Coos’s first impression of Wageningen was not very positive. ‘I thought it was horribly provincial. I still do, but now I don’t think it’s so terrible to be provincial.’ In fact, Coos will even be sorry to leave Wageningen soon. ‘I’ve lost my heart to this town.’ But he will be leaving in the summer. ‘I’m getting married in August in Potsdam, one of the most romantic places in Europe.’ Potsdam is in Germany, which is where Coos’s fiancée Elisabeth comes from. ‘I travel to Berlin to see her about once every six weeks. Sometimes I hitch, sometimes I take the train and sometimes I carpool.’ Some people are surprised to hear about his marriage plans. ‘A lot of Christians don’t see anything wrong with our getting married at 23, but non-Christians are more likely to be surprised. For us, marriage belongs at the start. You say yes and then you build your relationship on that basis. I’m happy that Elisabeth and I will have that firm foundation.’