Tents and practice rooms. These are the temporary homes of more than a hundred students attending KEI-week. Both in the city centre and a little further away in Stadspark. According to Joost Warmerdam from USVA around seventy students decided to share the USVA-floor in the city centre.
Most of these students sleep on inflatable mattresses brought from home in all male and female rooms. They share a couple of toilets and three showers. “Sometimes we must wait for our turn in the bathroom, but no one really seems to care”, says Hiddo (18), a future physiotherapy student.
Low prices, convenient location
He chose this location for the cheap price and the convenient location. So did his friend Iska (19), whom Hiddo met in the shared ‘bedroom’ that usually serves as a practice room for USVA’s performances.
The unusual surroundings of their temporary home seem to have catalysed bonding and new friendships as the two future students enjoy a cheerful, albeit rather tired breakfast. ‘We usually party until 5 in the morning, so the nights are short. But we sleep well’, explains Iska.
And yes, drunk young men snore, but you are too tired to even notice it, adds Julyan van der Werff (20), a future student of human movement sciences. ‘We come in the room after a long night and just fall on the mattress, often fully dressed. The only problem is the narrow space between the beds. Sometimes we have to step over people.’
The situation is similar in the girls’ bedroom. ‘There is so little space you have to use all your senses to avoid hitting people’, says Anna (18). She immediately befriended her sleeping neighbour and now they’re inseparable.
They don’t mind sharing the bathrooms with the boys, but sometimes they have to shower in cold water as the boiler can’t keep up. ‘And we only have four sockets in our room for more than thirty people.’
USVA’s provisional dormitory closes between one PM and nine in the evening to prevent theft and burglaries. This causes difficulty for those who want to shower during the day or just relax on their mattress. ‘Instead we have to spend the day in cafés which can be quite expensive. But we still like the social environment here’, concludes Anna.
Three large tents house roughly 60 students in the heart of the Stadspark. The wooden-floor creaks in the male, female and mixed tent as shaggy zombie-like creatures slowly emerge from the darkness. The ambiance seems more hungover than back at the USVA.
Water leaks through the ceiling after the rain and some students get cold during the night. ‘But mostly we are just too drunk to feel anything’, says Hugo van Maanen (18) with a tired smile. He only came back from partying at 7 in the morning, which could explain his disarmingly honest hesitance when presented with breakfast.
Food is stored in a large fridge covered in waterproof sheathing. The students move slowly, waiting for their turn in one of the four adjacent toilets and showers. They are in no rush as their accommodation is open all day.
‘We’re only 10-15 minutes biking from the centre, so we don’t mind the distance too much’, explains Danee Rolfes (18). In between the tents chickens hunt for droppings as nearby insects form a ring around the remains of breakfast. ‘We like it out here, it´s fun and cosy. That’s why we chose camping and not rooms in the city. Plus it’s cheaper.’