On Wednesday night last week, Leonard Klaver, a student at the Hoge Hotelschool in Maastricht, fell into a 30-metre deep ravine during an orienteering exercise (‘dropping’). The exercise is a traditional ritual during the initiation period of fraternity Waldolala, part of student association Amphitryon. Klaver is now lying in the hospital with bruising and fractures. “He is recovering and will be back to his usual self within four to six weeks”, says Hans Thomassen, chair of Amphitryon. “And there is no issue of permanent disability, as reported in Dagblad De Limburger.”
Every year, Thomassen explains, a small group of aspiring members of Waldolala are dropped off, separate from one another, in Bassenge in Belgium, not far from a stone quarry. Last week, Klaver and his four fellow pledges had to seek one another out, and then make their way together to Maastricht. Three of them managed to find each other, but Klaver and another student were nowhere to be found. “No alarm bells went off because they thought that the other two had misunderstood the task; that they had to walk to Maastricht on their own”, says Thomassen. But once back in Maastricht, where the fourth student also later turned up, there was no sign of life from Klaver. The police and fire brigade went on the hunt, and Klaver was eventually found unconscious in a ravine.
Earlier in October, things had ended much worse for a student who fell from a roof after a student association party in Groningen. He died a few days after his fall. With two fellow members, he had entered the premises of a vacant shop sometime after the party. They climbed up to the highest level. According to the police press release, “To go towards the roof, the victim stepped onto a roofing sheet. He then fell down this, and landed on the ground several metres below”.