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Coronation Street in the Heart of the Jordaan neighbourhood

In our neighbourhood, the virus seems to be going from door to door.

There’s the couple ten doors down, thirty-somethings. They came back from Tirol right before the ski resorts closed. She came down with a fever, he lost his sense of taste and smell. Then came the neighbour a few doors down the line, a lady in her seventies. High fever for three weeks. No breathing troubles, but sick as a dog. I saw her outside again for the first time yesterday: it was so scary, she said. You just don’t know how the disease is going to develop, you know?

Now another of our neighbours has caught it. An elderly lady, too. Poor darling, all alone in her narrow little house full of old furniture, paintings and cats. The doctor visits every day, and a close neighbour brings her food. All that’s left for me to do is send the occasional chat message. Her responses are mostly in terms of pained-looking faces and heart emojis.

Are we next? No matter how close it gets, it still feels like an abstract thing right up until it happens to you. Right now, we’re mostly just enjoying being together. My partner Sijmen spent the last seven years in Kenya but had to return early because of corona. Going from seven years of a long distance relationship to being together round the clock is a pretty major change!

The neighbours are suffering, but there’s little we can do about it, and we don’t know what the future holds. Might as well slip back under the covers and cosy up.

by Trudeke Sillevis Smitt


What’s going on behind the silent facades of the Jordaan district during lockdown? Verhalenfestival Jordaan – the Jordaan Story Festival – asked residents to submit their stories. What’s going on in their heads and in their lives?

Eight of the stories were read and recorded by local actors and used to create the audio walk Niets te zien (Nothing to See).


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