Cheese on the wall, teabags on the ceiling, a brown toilet: welcome to the student house a former resident calls ‘the dirtiest student house in Rotterdam’.
‘It just might be,’ says Gijs, 19. For instance, a piece of cheese sticks to a wall. It was glued there ages ago. Seven teabags that were thrown into the air and never removed dangle above the dinner table. (‘Before we painted the place, there were sixty of them.’) The water in the toilet always looks brown due to scale in the bowl. The building at Van Citterstraat ‘leaks like a sieve’ and ‘is ready for demolition’.
Lady of the house
The ‘Van Citters Residence’ has five residents, three floors, and at least three broken windows. Monthly rent: €800. The students have many stories about illustrious predecessors and house traditions, such as smoking tobacco with a different herb once a month. Wietze, 21, jumps up. He simply must show us the smallest room in the house. ‘This is Annie.’ He is referring to two mannequin legs, made of plastic, which stick out at either side of the bowl. It looks like the toilet has been placed in front of a woman’s crotch. ‘And the last person to join the household has the lovely task of getting Annie cleaned once a week.’ The kitchen, where the shower is situated right opposite the sink, can be found in the next room.
Popular in the neighbourhood
As far as 22-year-old Floris is concerned, the highlights are two branches of the water pipe, which have been installed in such a way that the kettle and coffee maker each have their own direct taps. Some handy former flatmates came up with that idea.
The students say they’re popular in the neighbourhood. Take Faris, their downstairs neighbour, a barber ‘with a huge Mercedes’. He always cuts and shaves the inhabitants of the house for free. ‘He sympathises with students,’ says Gijs. He proved as much one night when a former flatmate – a member of a student society – was “kidnapped” by fellow society members. ‘Faris thought it was for real. He went outside with a baseball bat and stopped the kidnapping from happening.’ This happened after an infamous game of bowling in the house. ‘The blows were so hard, Faris’ tiles fell from the walls. We did fix up his place afterwards.’
The Van Citters Residence has been around for 17 years and is still popular with its former residents. The annual house dinner generally attracts some thirty former flatmates, who all still own keys to the place. ‘So you may find a complete stranger standing behind you in your kitchen. Good times,’ says Gerard, 19. But no matter how legendary the memories dished up at the dinners are, it is a fact that no one wants to return to the house. The five residents do understand that, says Floris. ‘It’s a brilliant house, but at some point in your life, you simply have to move on.’
Text: Erasmus Magazine/Eric Oostrom