What does a city look like during the corona outbreak? Photographer Annelien Nijland is documenting the daily reality of one-and-a-half metre life. Part 8: Student housing.

Photo by Annelien Nijland

There’s not much they can do about the fact that fifteen of them live on top of each other in the IBB student complex. Add in small rooms, a modest communal area and some brilliant weather, and they obviously want to go outside. Nothing too adventurous, just to sit in the sun in their front garden (or even in the car park).

Nothing wrong with that you’d think, but that’s not how it works in these confusing times. Although they share two bathrooms, three toilets and a kitchen, they are not considered to be one household. The implications are huge. They’re allowed to share toothbrushes indoors if they want, but as soon as they set foot outside together, they risk incurring a fine of € 390 plus an entry on their criminal record.

Photo by Annelien Nijland

They’ve hung posters in their windows: ‘15 people in 1 house #we’re staying at home’. They’re trying to show people that they’re doing their best, but day-to-day life can be a trial. What do you do if go outside and some of your housemates are already sitting there? You pull up a garden chair and lap up a few rays together. And if the hobby bobbies or mounted police appear, you dash back inside. Not everyone makes a run for it: on King’s Day, IBB residents were fined a total of € 6,000.

But they’re making the best of it, these fifteen students. Instead of all going to the supermarket separately, they take it in turns to shop for everyone. They eat together, exercise in the garden and play beer pong on Saturdays. They even organised a mini gala for themselves. They dressed up, poured themselves a drink, played some music and danced, poured another drink… It turned into a wild evening!