Impossible to find, rock-hard benches
Room 1314.0026 – Harmoniegebouw
Getting to this lecture theatre should be worth five ECTS alone. Hidden in plain sight, the classroom on the left-hand side of the Harmony building’s entrance portal is itself nothing special: high ceilings, space for sixty or so students and a gratuitous whiteboard at the front of the room. The route get there, on the other hand, is labyrinthine.
Contrary to what you might think, you first need to go through the main set of revolving doors in the courtyard. From there, turn right into the reception, and right again until you reach the foyer in front of the Marie Lokezaal, then again another right and up the stairs to the second floor.
From here, proceed through the law study room (shhh!) until you find another set of stairs on the other side of the double doors. Still with me? Good. Down the curiously low-pitched staircase until, you guessed it, the ground floor. A final left and you’ll find yourself at 1314.0026, a bit out of breath and five hundred or so steps better off.
Heymanszaal – Academy building
Okay, this one isn’t that hard to find – it’s just literally a pain in the ass. The lecture hall is adorned with old-timey oak benches and while that gives the place a properly academic vibe and serves as a reminder of the Nobel laureates and luminaries who have come before, it’s also prone to give you a pretty sore ass. Protip: if you have a calendar filled with Heymanszaal lectures, invest in a cushion and spare your cheeks – they’re worth it. Apparently Feringa did the same…
Room 5171.0415 – Linnaeusborg
The jewel in the crown of hard to find classrooms you’ll find in the green zig-zag building, known as the Linnaeusborg. When I arrive on a Monday morning, the receptionist in the booth seems hesitant to tell me which room is the trickiest to locate. ‘None of them are easy to find’, she says with a laugh, before pressing a helpfully colour-coded map into my hands.
5171.0415 is allegedly the toughest of the lot to get to, she reveals eventually. I reckon I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction so I try my luck. Ten minutes later and with plenty of perplexed looks from academics who have seen me traipse past their office several times, I arrive at the room.
It’s pretty counterintuitive – take the lift to the fifth floor, cross the long bridge into the brightly lit corridor, walk all the way to the other end where another lift awaits, take that lift one floor down to the fourth floor and there it is! You’d think a building that houses scientists would be slightly better designed.
This building itself is easy to find – it’s the rather obvious block full of psychologists on the Grote Kruisstraat, but should you really be here? While there are some classrooms amongst the halls of people theorising about frontal lobes, Freud’s five stages and hippocampi, the place you’ll most likely find your lecture is actually elsewhere.
When I arrive and ask the woman at the reception desk if she has any ‘hard-to-find classrooms’ in mind, she grins. I’m not the first person to come looking for them, it seems, and not the first to assume they are even actually here. A veteran colleague calls out from the back room: ‘Is he asking about classrooms? Most of them are actually in the Munting building.’
Once we’ve cleared that up, they both agree that the hardest to find has to be room 74 in the building one over. The room is actually best accessed through the gate to the inner garden of the complex on the street perpendicular – Nieuwe Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat, they tell me.
Don’t worry, you’re not the first to get it wrong – nor will you be the last.