It’s as nice and dirty as it used to be (4): Eerste Oude Heselaan

12 Mar 2019

Your old student room. Hard to think about it without getting a bit nostalgic. This was the place where you first lived on your own. Where you made new friends. But revisiting your old room may also be risky. What if it’s a lot smaller than you remember or if someone’s repainted what used to be your walls? Five VOX editors dare to go back in time. Today: Annemarie Haverkamp at Eerste Oude Heselaan.

‘That old rug?’ I shout from the bathroom, ‘You must be kidding!’ In front of the toilet (seat up) lies the squalid purple item I bought at Xenos twenty years ago. I’m afraid it hasn’t seen the inside of a washing machine since.

Steven, HAN University of Applied Sciences student and current tenant of my old room, grimaces. It’s not his fault, he’s only been here a month. I look up. There’s still mould on the ceiling. Looking at the washing machine reminds me of my long-haired housemate, the one who used to do his laundry with conditioner because it made his clothes so soft. He didn’t use the toilet very often, though: he preferred to urinate from his window straight into the gutter, his piss running down the drainpipe, past my room, straight into the garden.

‘The room isn’t really soundproof,’ says Steven. I know. I used to sleep in a bunk bed, right under the floor of the very same long-haired housemate, a band singer with lots of female fans. There are few sounds I didn’t get to hear.

The room is smaller than I remember. The same white worn floorboards, the same three beautiful high windows. The house belongs to a residents’ association, which means it’s co-owned by the residents. As a result the rooms were and still are relatively cheap. Steven only pays € 250 a month.

I loved living in this house so close to the station. There were five of us in those days, and we used to eat dinner together from time to time. With some of the guys, we also drank beer every weekend in the Gonzo (now renamed NDRGRND).

From the window I can see the neighbour’s bright green Fiat 131, which was already an old-timer in my day. Apparently, it’s still running. I sometimes see her chugging past, her hair grey now.

Steven informs me that the back garden is due for some serious remodelling. ‘My rabbit is buried in that garden,’ I tell him, as my heart suddenly fills with forgotten sorrow. ‘My rabbit.’

Annemarie Haverkamp (43) lived on the Eerste Oude Heselaan 306 from 1993 until 1998

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