As in olde times – Heater on, buy a bottle

Student house BWS 153, on the Buitenwatersloot, is no place for shivery types. The five housemates each heat their rooms with small gas heaters. A sixth gas heater heats their common living room.

To save energy, the residents hold an annual competition: the first guy to turn on his heater because he’s cold must buy a bottle of liquor for the house.  
“We drink the bottle together”, explains Bart Hesdahl. “And that’s always a fun night.” Sometimes though the competition isn’t decided until Christmas time. 
“Perhaps in the past there was a deeper meaning behind it, to save the environment, but for us it’s mostly about saving some money. Sometimes it can get really cold in October, but then you think, ‘well, I‘m cold now but next week it’ll be warmer’. A bottle of liquor doesn’t cost all that much, so if you’re really freezing, you might decide it’s worth it to turn your heater on for the fifteen euro a bottle costs. It’s all part of the game.” A game that also has rules: “You can’t wear more than three layers of clothing. T-shirt, shirt and sweater – but not three sweaters, fleece-clothing or thermal underwear. If you’re caught wearing too many clothes, you’re a cheater. But it’s still a game, so sometimes someone will secretly turn on his heater or otherwise break the rules, but if nobody notices, you got away it.”
And the housemates are also known to try some gamesmanship: “One time the girlfriend of one our housemates was complaining about the cold, so we just told her not to come around here anymore, and to him we said, ‘and then you won’t have sex anymore’. Two days later the guy had to buy the bottle.”

“Zelf merk ik er niets van. Maar ik ben een zuinige student. Ik ben niet zo van de grote uitgaven en met boodschappen doen let ik erop dat ik geen heel dure dingen meeneem. Ik ben iemand die iedere maand net rondkomt. Ik hoor soms wel dingen om me heen over de crisis. De familie van mijn vriend heeft een eigen bedrijf dat het nu moeilijker heeft.”

Redacteur Redactie

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