Noise pollution increases the more we stay at home. Ten students live next to a young couple with a newborn child in the Oudwijk district of Utrecht. “It’s nice that the boys take us into account, but it doesn’t help.”
The music is on, the disco lamp is running and there is a lot of laughter. In the Utrecht student house of Maurits Sprong (21) housemate Niels Reijns (21) is piecing together a quick pasta bolognese. “Who eats with it?” Asks Niels. It is difficult to keep track of which of the ten residents are at home. Moments later, almost all the housemates are sitting at the kitchen table. The conversation is pleasant, but sometimes loud. The house dog waits for his food, wagging his tail.
The bedroom of Maaike (32) and Joris (34) is located on the other side of the wall. The cradle of their 5 month old baby Guus is in the living room. “The wall is very thin,” says Maaike. “When we are in our bedroom, it sounds like they are standing next to the bed. We literally hear every word they say. ”
Joris picks up Guus and rocks him back and forth. He says they both stick to their work schedule during the week, even though they work from home. “This is of course difficult for the students, I understand that.” Maaike says that she has not been able to catch up on sleep since she has a child. “Especially when I had just given birth, the fatigue made me helpless.”
Noise nuisance in and around the house has increased in recent months due to the corona measures, according to figures from the police. Two trends converge in Maurits ‘student house and his neighbors’ house. Many employees have to work from home. Even if they have children. At the same time, due to the partial closure of cafes, many people, including students, celebrate their party at home.
Friday is the regular ‘house evening’ in the Oudwijk student house. Pieter Dalstra (23) climbs over the table and walks to a large refrigerator filled with beer: “Who wants more?” He shouts. The kitchen table agrees unanimously and loudly. “We used to have this evening on Tuesdays. We moved it to Friday because our drinks on Tuesday caused too much inconvenience, “says resident Jeroen Wiersma (23).
“It is super nice that the boys have moved their house evening to Friday, only we are still bothered by it,” says Maaike.
“Since Maaike and Joris have been living here, they have been bothered by us. We are aware of this and we try to take them into account as much as possible. But since they gave birth to a son, it is simply difficult, “says Folkert Kerckhoffs (22).
Maurits points to a corner in the hallway: “Here we put a standing table and there a box for the music.” A sign above the connecting door hangs: “Café het Halletje”. Still a bit of the pub feeling. “We think it’s a good middle way to continue in the hallway after 10:30. It is a pity that our houses are so noisy, we prefer to sit in the kitchen all evening. We can’t really organize a spontaneous party anymore, “says Jeroen.
The name “Guus” is mentioned, and the students at the table all start to smile broadly. “What an incredibly sweet baby, really sweet”, it sounds. Niels: “When Guus was just born, we stopped by to give a present. That was a zebra robe with his name on it. ”
Maaike would like to emphasize that her new neighbors introduced themselves immediately when they came to live here. “Even if we have to go through the agreements, they come to us,” she says. According to Joris they are very nice guys.
The students are members of a student association. This means that new freshmen come to live with them every year. Jeroen Wiersma (23) says that he has appointed himself as a contact person to maintain contact with the neighbors. This is done via a Whatsapp group.
With the second lockdown in sight, Maaike and Joris hope that the boys will continue to have a good time, but also continue to adhere to the agreed rules: ‘We believe that such a large student house should not be in a residential area, because this causes a lot of nuisance. cares. Especially during the corona crisis, “say Maaike and Joris.
“Fortunately, the dog likes it that we are all home suddenly. He doesn’t understand it, “says Pieter. The boys laugh. “Look, I get a text from the neighbor!” Says Niels. There is a laugh when he reads it: “We think it is nice that you are there too!”
Although Maaike and Joris love their house, they have now been looking for a new home for five months: “No matter how hard the boys try, we will keep hearing them.”