Casa de Oranjeboom

The light from a bright Oranjeboom sign shines through the window. Seems obvious in Casa de Oranjeboom, where heavy drinking is allowed and praying is compulsory.

Beeld: Casa de Oranjeboom

On the traffic sign table of the VGSR building, the Association of Dutch Reformed Students in Rotterdam, there’s alcohol. Not Oranjeboom, incidentally. Although, at the request of the house residents, the beer brewery did send them caps and shirts. Only a week ago, Frans (21) called Albert Heijn to ask whether they could collect the empty beer crates. ‘’That brought in around 250 euro in deposits.’’

Religion in a male household

All this is in sharp contrast with the hymn book standing next to the PlayStation games on the bookshelf. And the Bible reading which takes place every two weeks in the house, or the compulsory prayer before dinner. During parties, the house members remind each other about norms and values, if necessary.

In other houses, housemates often live alongside each other, but not here. The group has a communal meal every day and coffee breaks are also collective. As soon as anyone makes coffee, he posts a photo of Louis van Gaal with a coffee mug on the group app.

'The feeling cold competition'

Above all, it’s a male household. 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. When the ice crystals started to form on the windows and girlfriends found it too cold to visit, the heating was turned on again – without a penalty.

Times of culinary need

Or the running gag about ‘mince tonight’. A former resident came up with the idea of making chicken tonight but using mince. Chicken was too expensive, was the reasoning behind it. The result was ‘ghastly’. Niels (20): ‘’So now if we have a bad meal, we put it in the category mince tonight.’’

In times of culinary need, the back of the living room door brings hope. This is covered with the menu from snack bar De Kroon, opposite the house. A new feature are 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.

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