‘You never get used to all the attention.’
March 2019 – The dance-songs made by Windesheim student Lars Beerda (also known as the artist Laurentius) has had his songs on Spotify streamed for over a million times.
Imagine sending your record to a famous DJ, with the hopes that it will get played. It happened to the first-year student of International Business from Zwolle. Lars (20) sent his record to Don Diablo, coincidentally a (former) Windesheim student as well, who played it at Tomorrowland in Guatemala. “I was jumping for joy.”
After the show, the song popped up on the worldwide top 50 chart, the fifty most played songs at that point. Suddenly, Lars received direct messages from random strangers, asking him for songs. “You never get used to all the attention. On YouTube, there are clips made by fans with my songs in them. Isn’t that just bizarre?” Lars taught himself to make dance music. “Six years ago, I started to mess around with a programme called FL Studio. I have now taught myself all the technical tricks.”
Lars now has fifteen songs on Spotify. His songs called ‘You got Me’, ‘Reminisce’ and ‘Give me a sign’ are doing rather well. Collectively, these songs have surpassed a million streams. In the meantime, Lars managed to get a deal with Sony, which included the release of his new song ‘No Money.’ Every stream on Spotify pays about 0,4 cents. As a DJ and producer, Lars no longer needs his part-time job at the Albert Heijn Supermarket. “But I do want to finish my education. You need to have a plan B”.
‘Hilde only weighed 32 kilos.’
November 2018 – When she was sixteen, Hilde Houweling got anorexia. What followed was a battle against the eating disorder that took years. Now, she is headed for a complete recovery.
The 22-year-old student is a first-year student of Social Work. “After my studies, I would like to help people with anorexia. However, my recovery is my first priority right now. If I really want to kick this, I have to deal with my trauma.”
Since she was eleven, Hilde played hockey at a very high level. “My trainer sexually abused me for years. I was fifteen when I told my parents.” Despite the immense trauma, Hilde wanted to keep playing hockey. “We had to watch what we ate but most girls could just leave that for what it was. I was constantly pushing further. That is where my eating disorder started. I had no control over my trauma, but at least I had control over what I ate.” Hilde went to a high-level club in Barcelona. “I lost a lot of weight there. At some point, I was no longer able to play hockey. I fainted ten times a day and started losing my hair. I couldn’t sleep and was very lonely.”
Her parents came to take her home and she was diagnosed with anorexia. At her lowest point, she weighed only 32 kilos. What followed were years of treatment and therapy. Eventually, she went to a clinic to work on regaining her weight and maintaining it.
Hilde wrote a book about what life is like with an eating disorder. She was also featured on a TV-series called Het Voedselgevecht (The Food fight). Now that Hilde is studying again, she has a somewhat normal life again. “I am starting to see that life can still be enjoyable. I am not yet spontaneous with regards to food but I am headed for a full recovery.”
Read the whole interview with Hilde here
‘Finally, I am becoming a man’
December 2018 – Nica, an 18-year-old student, is transgender. He had known for years. “I am a girl but I don’t feel that way.” That is why he made the final decision a year ago. He is going through the process of officially becoming a man.
Nica Brüggeman, a first-year student of Law, is absolutely certain about it now. Despite the fact that he doesn’t have the gender characteristics, he is a man. The realisation came over the years. “At first, I didn’t know what to do with it but, at some point, I was tired of it. I decided to start wearing boy-ish clothing and I cut off my long hair. People thought I was “just gay”, because I had a girlfriend. However, that wasn’t the case.” Nica didn’t feel at ease with his own body. “Every time I looked into the mirror, I felt it. Something wasn’t right. Nica will first get talks with a psychologist. After that, there will be hormone-therapy and eventually, surgery. “I am having my breasts removed and that’s it. I don’t want to have a penis made for me.”
Nica’s friends now also know that he is transgender and are very supportive. “My classmates were really calm about the whole thing but my parents find it very difficult.” Once Nica will be a man, a lot of practical problems will go away. “My mental problems have not gone away completely. The fact is that I wasn’t born a boy and I still find that difficult. It might take years before I am truly happy again.”
Read the whole interview with hilde here