Second-year history student Steven Bensdorp (19) sits in a chair reading in the University Library while he waits for me. As we walk to Kralingse Zoom to take the underground to Alexander station, he tells me about why he chose to study history. “A lot of people assume that you can only become a history teacher with a degree in history. The same way they always assume you’re living in student housing.”

In reality, he’s perfectly willing to teach for a few years once he has completed his studies, so during his minor he plans to obtain his teaching qualification. “Everyone’s had a teacher who made a difference in their life and I would like to be that person for a student.” But this isn’t his ultimate goal. “I don’t think a career in teaching alone would be satisfying enough. I have too much ambition for that.”

Switched from D66 to Forum voor Democratie

Another part of his ‘life blueprint’ – ‘Living aimlessly would be too stressful’ – is to write a book of poetry or a collection of poems and spend some time living and working abroad. You can only really get to know a country by living and working there for a time. I feel that would be a valuable experience.” His interest in people is also apparent in his desire to be politically active, something he aspired to since he was eleven. “When I was still a member of D66, I handed out flyers at the market. You strike up conversations with all kinds of people that you normally wouldn’t speak to. That’s something I enjoy.”

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These days, he has turned his back on D66 and joined up with the Forum voor Democratie. He frequently bursts into passionate arguments on legalising hard drugs, the referendum and trade interests with Russia. Bensdorp confirms that he has a propensity for delivering speeches. “I always have something to say during tutorials. Actually, that’s true in any situation, it’s a Bensdorp trait. Both my grandmother and my father have it as well. My girlfriend is a bit more reserved and when things get quiet she always jokes, ‘let’s hear from you for once.’”

Good impression

She is actually the biggest reason that he’s still living at home. “I don’t want a weekend relationship. She also lives in Zeist and we met each other when we were both leaving the local cafe De Schavuit. I cycled alongside her and tried to make a good impression and when she spoke about it later, she said I had all the subtlety of a hand grenade.”

Aside from his relationship, Steven isn’t looking forward to living in student housing anyway. “I like convenience and comfort, so in reality I would end up paying just to give up a lot of luxuries. I already went through my adolescent phase between the age of fourteen and sixteen, so now there isn’t a push factor to leave home.”

At the Zeist city limits, we exit the bus. By way of parting, we’ve had a lively discussion about whether Thierry Baudet is a fascist or not. Steven is still chattering away as he gets on his bike and cycles in the direction of his parental home.

Are you also living at home outside of Rotterdam? Then I’d like to join you! Email me at post@taralewis.nl

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