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Golden walls and high ceilings

Golden walls and high ceilings

Photographer:Fotograaf: Simon Pompé

Home Sweet Home

Sophie van Leeuwen (Dutch, 22), student of Interdisciplinary Art, an autonomous programme of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, pays 550 Euros for a 35m2 room across the street from SBE on the Tongersestraat.  

Sophie van Leeuwen’s room tells a story, and it is intriguing and fun. The walls are cluttered with smaller and bigger paintings, photographs, maps and shelves full of succulents or books. A guitar stands around, flanked by two towering speakers - her grandparents’. An unused fireplace is filled with books. In the middle of the room with the high ceiling and golden paint stands Van Leeuwen, giggling, wearing a quirky pink hat.

“I chose Interdisciplinary Arts, because I was interested in performance, in painting, in cinema”, she says, “But now I found out that film is really what I want to do”. A picture of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is pinned to one wall, “What a man!”, she muses. A huge, enormous black-and-white close-up of Brad Pitt’s face dominates another side of the room. Van Leeuwen does not really strike you as a hysterical fangirl of any celebrity. “He isn’t really my idol, but I just love the poster because it’s so big and extra”, she laughs. Van Leeuwen is a director herself; now, she is shooting and editing a short film that she will use to apply for an arts school in Amsterdam. It is about how a Dutch girl feels powerless in helping her Argentinian friend in the political struggle around a failed 2018 bill, that could have legalised abortion. She edits her films on her desk, where she has two monitors. “It’s not usually this tidy”.

“I like Maastricht … but it’s time to start something else”. Unsatisfied with her programme in Interdisciplinary Arts, she is looking for more creative opportunities and stimuli. For someone who has spent lots of her time in Amsterdam or Paris, Maastricht can be a bit small. Nonetheless, she will miss her current life. Van Leeuwen and her two roommates, one more girl and one guy, are long friends. “We met in Paris, where we went to a language school and also lived together, and then decided to come to Maastricht”.  Maastricht is a wholesome, friendly city, van Leeuwen finds. But she seeks out that big-city vividness and vigour reflected in her room.

Simon Pompé



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