The Side Job: Neeltje plays along

'For us, it’s nice that the players always leave happy.'
From the left: Neeltje Leloux, Hanna van der Gaast and Barris Steenhorst

Who: Neeltje Leloux (22)
What: game facilitator at Escaperoom Wageningen
Why: fun to help the players from the control room
Hourly wage: 11.16 euros

You’ve got to make ends meet somehow. We can all borrow from Uncle Duo, but there are also students who earn money in unusual ways. In this series, we put some interesting side jobs in the spotlight. This time we meet Neeltje Leloux (22), a Master’s student of Governance of Sustainability Transformations. She and her housemates Barris Steenhorst and Hanna van der Gaast work as game facilitators at Escaperoom Wageningen.

‘The former cigar factory in Wageningen has housed an escape room since 2016. We now have three rooms where you can play: Prisoner of War, Final Battle and Crazy Farmer. Crazy Farmer has a Wageningen flavour to it, of course. In Final Battle, two teams play against each other, which is fun for something like a work outing. As the game facilitator, I set up the game rooms, welcome the guests and keep an eye on them during the game. I am watching via cameras throughout and I can hear and see everything the players do. So I am in a kind of control room during the game. I make sure that if the players get the right answers, they can move on to the next level. I start a video or I set up a physical adjustment to facilitate the next task. That’s a bit of a vague description, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers for the readers! The players have one hour to escape from the room. The players are allowed to shout “hint!” and then I give them a clue via a screen in the room. For me, finding the perfect hint is a nice puzzle.

It’s really nice that my housemates are my colleagues. Our house, ‘La Bastida’, is a major source of staff. It is very funny to listen in on the players. Sometimes, because of the stress, they can’t do very simple sums. Or their thinking goes in the wrong direction entirely. The floor is a bit broken in one of the rooms. Sometimes people try to put the pieces of the floor back together, not realizing that it has nothing to do with the game.

For me, finding the perfect hint is a nice puzzle

The different group dynamics are also entertaining: sometimes the person with the smart answers gets ignored by the rest. And things can get quite rough in families, with the little sister being pushed over, for instance. For us, it’s nice that the players always leave happy, and everyone always thinks it’s a really cool thing to do.’

Are you or do you know someone with an unusual side job or summer job? Send an e-mail to

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