"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"


She had been looking forward to it all year: spring, the moment when she would only have to write her thesis and would be free to explore the Netherlands. But two weeks before her last exam, the country went into lockdown. Now, master’s student of Arts and Heritage Katharina Eiben is exploring her current place of residence: Maastricht. “I wanted to visit various museums around the country. Suddenly, that was no longer possible. But seeing as I only just moved to Maastricht last year, I had not yet been able to fully explore this city, either. That’s what I’m doing right now. I hope to be able to see some more of the country too, though.”

Exploring the Netherlands wasn’t the only plan that fell through. “I’m originally from Slovakia. My family was supposed to come over, but now they can’t. And I was supposed to officially receive my first master’s degree in Management and Leadership in Prague in late March. The graduation ceremony has been moved to September.” The trips she was going to take for her thesis have also been cancelled. “I was going to interview auction houses and art collectors in Scotland, Brussels and Frankfurt, among others.”

Despite everything, Eiben is trying to remain optimistic. “My studies are keeping me distracted. FASoS is offering workshops that help me write my thesis. In February, I began an online internship to help upcoming artists that will continue until the end of the summer. And the streets are becoming busier again, too. Maastricht is no longer a ghost town like it was two months ago.”

Although she is enjoying her time here, she isn’t planning to stay in Maastricht. “I don’t know the language very well,” she says. “A little bit,” she adds, in accented Dutch. “After the summer, I will probably move to Germany, where my boyfriend lives. There are more suitable vacancies for me there. I will definitely be looking for a job, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to find many in the arts and culture sector. It’s sad, but I also have to look at the positive side. I’ve learnt new things about myself, I go out into nature more often and I do yoga exercises. And I won’t postpone anything anymore. If you want to do something, just do it.”

Foto Katharina Eiben.jpeg