Casa de Oranjeboom: Bible readings, compulsory prayer and lots of beer

Image by Casa de Oranjeboom/Sanne van der Most
Image by Casa de Oranjeboom/Sanne van der Most

In student house Casa de Oranjeboom heavy drinking is allowed and praying is compulsory. Meet some of its residents.

There’s lots of alcohol on the table in the VGSR building, the Association of Dutch Reformed Students in Rotterdam. But no Oranjeboom beer, although the brewery did send caps and shirts on request of the house residents. Only a week ago Frans, 21, called Albert Heijn to ask whether they could come to collect the empty beer crates. 'That earned us around €250 in deposits.'

Beer and bible
All this is in sharp contrast to the hymnbook next to the PlayStation games on the bookshelf. And the reading of the Bible that takes place every two weeks, or the compulsory prayer before dinner. During parties, the house members remind each other of norms and values, if necessary.

A group of males
In other houses the residents often live their separate lives, but not in Casa de Oranjeboom. The group has a communal meal every day and coffee breaks are also collective. As soon as anyone starts making coffee, he posts a photo of Louis van Gaal with a mug on the group app.


The household is a male one. Take the ‘feeling cold competition’: one winter, it was the rule that the first housemate to turn up the thermostat had to treat everyone to a beer. That rule was imposed after a sky-high gas bill the year before. Only when the ice crystals start to form on the windows and girlfriends find it too cold to visit is the heating is turned on without a penalty.

Bottoms and satay sauce
In times of culinary need, the door of the living room brings relief. It’s covered with the menu from snackbar De Kroon, opposite the house. A new feature is the little bottom icons by the meals, inspired by the ‘bottom rating’, or ‘reeting’, of the Dumpert website. The more bottoms, the better the meal. So far, only the satay sauce has earned four of the five bottoms.

This is an abridged version of the article that was published in Erasmus Magazine. You can read the whole article here