No Friends scenario for Huize 108

‘Tuindorp-West feels a bit like a ghost town'

tuindorp-west complex, foto Tara van den Broek

The Red Building in the Tuindorp-West Complex will be renovated, so all 300 residents have been asked to move out by October 15, 2024. DUB is following the saga of student house Huize 108 until everyone moves out. This is the second article in the series and covers the ups and downs felt by Psychology student Wobke. 

When DUB visited Huize 108 in early April, the six roommates were still optimistic about moving out as a group to Baobab, which is now under construction at Kwekerij, which will feature 40-square-metre apartments for four people, with a living room. The roommates of Huizw 108 could already picture themselves relaxing there. Wobke and another roommate hoped to score a studio there to have a Friends scenario in which they'd always be visiting each other.

Wodkatrap, foto Huize 108 Tuindorp-West Complex

New roommates at Huize 108 had to survive the vodka stairs. Photo: Huize 108

But this dream came crashing down when SSH sent an email in April, informing how much the rent would be. "Those rooms are really expensive," says Wobke, who currently pays 280 euros for her room in the Red Building (the rent is actually 376 euros, but she gets a 96-euro rent allowance from the government). In the new building, a room in a four-person apartment costs 525 euros and the residents are not entitled to a rent allowance. Two roommates gave up right away when they heard the news and a third soon followed. Studio prices are not as bad: they cost 790 euros, but one is entitled to rent subsidies in that case. However, most roommates would like to share a home with other students."

Some of them are considering moving to a place in the city centre; they are even planning on applying to join existing student homes. "I would like to move to Mammoet, and Foppe and Floris are considering coming with me. I'm doing my best to persuade them and I think I will probably manage to. If we all live in the same building, we can keep on seeing each other and doing things together."

Flunkyball Tuindorp-Wesst Complex, foto Huize 108

Flunkyball was not so good this year. Photo by Huize 108

Mammoet is another student complex at Kwekerij. The building used to belong to KPN, but SSH acquired it SSH and converted it into student housing a few years ago. There is a shared kitchen on each floor. "It is something in between living alone and having roommates. Considering rent subsidies, it only costs a few dozen euros more than TWC."

Wobke is pondering whether or not to stay in the Red Building until October. "I don't want to wait too long to move. Now that moving together is off the table, the apartment will get empty over the next few months. People will move in, but they will have a temporary contract, which is different. This home where everyone is so close will soon be no more, and that doesn't feel good. Every day, the lifts are full of stuff from all the people moving out."

‘A night to remember’ 

It's not just Huize 108 that is bummed. It is the whole building. No one had the energy to participate in the famous Flunkyball competition on King's Day. "I moved here last summer, so this would be my first time," says Wobke. "I've heard so many stories about teams representing their homes would challenge each other for a match. This year, however, we were practically the only ones who played. TWC feels a bit like a ghost town now. Fortunately, we managed to have fun by ourselves, playing black slope, a game in which each roommate chugs a different drink. But, after that, everyone went their own way. Maybe the other apartments are more lively, I don't know. I went to IBB the other day, which is always a big party and chaos."

Klaar voor de zwarte piste, Tuindorp-West Complex, foto Huize 108

Wobke and a roommate getting read to play black slope. Photo: Huize 108

Nevertheless, the impending end has changed the vibe at Huize 108. "I try to spend as much time as possible with my roommates," says Wobke. "Before I would often choose to engage in another activity over having dinner and relaxing with my roommates. I thought it was okay to miss it now and then, I could always catch up with them later. But now an evening chilling at home suddenly feels special. Since I will be going to a studio after this, this might be the last time I will ever have roommates. I have the impression that my roommates are also making more of an effort to stay home now. Yesterday, we had a barbecue and ten people participated, which was surprising. That seldom happens. It was a warm summer night, everyone was tipsy, and our neighbours were on their balconies as well... Such cosy vibes. A night to remember."

Wobke hopes to experience many such moments in the months to come. "We've planned a date dinner this Thursday and we've managed to find a date for everyone. Ten roommates and ten dates. We can't fit this many people in our living room, as you can imagine, so we made reservations at Kartoffel. I will try to take some nice pictures for DUB's next article, if the dates don't mind it."

Wobke, Huize 108, Tuindorp-West Complex, foto Tara van den Broek

Wobke is one of the ten roommates of Huize 108, an apartment in the Red Building that is part of the Tuindorp-West Complex. She is 22 years old, studies Psychology, and moved to TWC last summer. Previously, she was living in Kanaleneiland in a house managed by Socius, a housing organisation aimed at young people, alongside eight roommates. They were all older than her and a lot quieter. When Socius announced a big renovation to increase the building's fire safety, Wobke decided to look for a new place to live. That's how she ended up at TWC.

"I didn't want my cat to go through all the noise and nuisance of a renovation. Besides, I knew that living at TWC was pretty fun. So, I thought: 'That building has been the same for so long, I'm sure I can stay there for a few years without being bothered.' Ironic, huh? I think I'm cursed! Maybe they will renovate Mammoet as well as soon as I move in," she laughs.

De kat van Wobke Tuindorp, foto Tara van den Broek

Spencer, Wobke's cat. Photo by Tara van den Broek

Wobke has a knack for foreign languages, so she pursued a Bachelor's in English Language & Culture first. But when she started looking into Master's degrees, she didn't find anything she liked. That's why she decided to go for a second Bachelor's, this time in Psychology, because in this case, there were Master's she was interested in. She would like to graduate with both Bachelor's degrees. "It might sound weird to transition from English to Psychology, but I followed the specialisation in Social Linguistics, which covers the biological and psychological aspects of language. I've always enjoyed that very much."

Aside from her studies, she has many hobbies, like painting, drawing, singing and playing the guitar. She makes indie music and even has an artist profile on Spotify, where she uploaded one song. "I love making things. Creating things. Although I haven't done much of that lately because I don't feel super inspired. I don't know why."

Maybe inspiration will show up again later this year when she spends a month backpacking on the southern coast of Australia – one more reason to move out of TWC before summer. She would like to settle in her new place before travelling, if anything for the sake of her cat.

Alle verhalen over Huize 108 in de Rode Flat van het Tuindorp-Westcomplex zijn via deze link te vinden.