5th and 8th Day – Senioren Flat

5th Day

Today no shift for us. We need to also work on our different texts and invitation.

We wrote a letter to the bewoners to introduce ourselves again and to ask if they would like to have a tea with us and talk about what is care for them. One of them already called us. We met her during the zorg shift. She made an appointment with us for monday at 15.30. We are looking forward


Dear Mr, Mrs,

We are Alice and Olivia. You probably have read about our project here at Nijlanstate or saw us working with the Huishoudelijke dienst in the mornings, zorg in the evenings, or taking part in the film club and in the lovely bridge club. We are here for three weeks to take part of the routine of this building. One week has passed already and we are very happy about our experience. Everyone from the staff, and the people living here, including you as well, is very warm and hospitable, thank you for that!

The reason we decided to come here and join the different diensts and activities, is because we are interested in the subject of “care”. How people take care and support each other. This place, in this sense, is very unique because it is based on a cooperative system in which care is one of the fundament: being a community, being there for each other, and along with that, respecting each other's independence. That is why we would be very happy, if you are interested, to have a talk with you next week about what is care for you. For us care can be many things, having a tea together, laughing on a good joke, sharing a story about travel and languages, having a walk or just simply spending time together.

We are here from Monday till Friday. You can reach us directly by phone: 06 - 42178560. Or call the reception and let them know what day and time you would like to meet us. We will also be around, walking through the corridors so you can always approach us. Or find us in the Opkeamer on Wednesday 14th where we will be sharing tea and cookies from 14.00 to 16.00.

In any of these occasions, we will be happy to hear from you.

Alice and Olivia

8th Day

On this day we didn’t work with the kitchen because we had our first meeting as a follow up to the invitations we dropped in the postboxes of the residents on Friday. We asked them to invite us so that we could talk about what is care for them and for us. It was quite surprising to us but our letter was a big success. Through the whole weekend, we received many calls from the residents. We thought it would be an effort for them to call us but apparently not. One of these calls happened while I was running under the rain. I had to stop to pick it up and hear this sweet slow voice of an old man.

Our first meeting was with Atti. She lives on the ground floor and her apartment has a direct access to the field and the canal. It is a soft and relaxing apartment. Quite modern. Atti was very curious about us and about our project. We spent an hour talking about our motivations, what makes us do this type of work. We talked about the world, about each other’s curiosity. We talked about her little improvised inside garden, about her kids. We had a tea and some cookies. We left each other all a little emotional, very happy about our meeting, looking forward seeing each other again.

Besides this, we also designed our “care toolbox” as a way to bring a more personal performative touch to our presence here. We brought from Amsterdam all little elements we always use in our “caring gestures”. Delicious cookies and bonbons, very nice teas, with special cups, fake flowers, colourful fabrics, towels, washing gloves, and of course the beauty box upgraded with biological moisturizing creams. All that placed on one of the trolleys from Nijlanstate.


In the end of the day, we worked on our invitation texts. We made a personal invitation to each of the staff members with whom we worked. The way we invite is a continuation of our presence and of our performance, therefore we put a lot of care into it.

“.....Wij hebben met jij paar dagen gewerkt en wij zagen hoe jij door je werk zoveel zorg deelt. Met jouw hard werk maar altijd vol met humor, geef jij aandacht naar iedereen omheen jij....”

“....Jij werkt hier de langste en nog steeds jij houdt jouw nieuwsgierigheid over deze plek en over de mensen die hier wonen. Voor ons betekent dit wat zorg echt zou moeten zijn. Verder merkten wij dat jij ook zo genereus bent, hoe jij jouw kennis over deze gebouw en over jouw werk met ons deelde….”

“.....We hebben nog niet zoveel met jij gewerkt, maar we merkten, dat hoewel je ons niet kende, gaf jij ons een maaltijd. Jij wist dat wij geen een echte keuken hier hebben, daarom was het een aardige gebaar…”

“….We hebben met je alleen eens gewerkt maar jij hebt ons iets waardevol geleerd. Je zei, dat je deze werk leuk vindt, want het geeft iets naar je terug. Dat heeft ons begrepen dat zorg in beide richting gaat. Dank je wel voor dit….”

We also wrote a letter to care as a poetic gesture. We will keep working on this text and use it for the opening of our event. We also sent it via mail as part of our more general invitation.

“Dear care,

Since I can remember, you have always been there. When someone was born, got sick, needed an encouraging word, touch, but also in the bigger system, in the way everything works, rivers, air, warmth and cold. You were and are a driving force in most of things. You simply act, often unnoticed, generous, no need of reward: hiding in a warm lunch one shares, in a joke to make us laugh when we are in pain, or in a “how is it going” to the one who is never being asked anymore.

Unfortunately you are not everywhere, at every house, by every child, animal, woman or man. Sometimes you are not even close, so we even forget about you. It is also getting harder and harder for you, I noticed, as we are entering an era of increasing and intensifying disasters all around…. I feel like everyone and everything needs you right now.

When I talk to people about you, they often talk about fragments and traditions from the past, like how things used to be, rather than about an imagined future. Turning to the past, somehow makes them hopeless about you. So many things changed… I don’t think you are hopeless. I think the opposite. I think, exactly because we are having difficult times, we can now imagine something new, something different, emerging into the unexpected.

And I count on you in this. I count on you Care.”