Mariaberg has its own local chickens

For Arthur Bribosia, the highlight of 2021 already happened on Saturday 30 January. Ten chickens were at last moved into the chicken coop that he, his fellow Match students and a number of Mariaberg residents spent a year building.


They had actually planned a chicken festival to celebrate the arrival of the first chickens, but that had to be cancelled due to the corona measures. Instead, the local residents selected their chickens one by one and placed them in the coop. The ten participants will take turns caring for the chickens for a week each, cleaning the coop and collecting the eggs. They can take a few eggs home for themselves; the rest will be divided among the other participants. Thanks to sponsorship from Match Maastricht (the organisation that encourages students to play an active role in society), participation in the project is free. 

Meyke Houben


The idea for the chicken coop originated from the three students who share a Match house in Mariaberg. They entered Code043’s ‘We Build this City’ competition—and won. With the €4,000 prize, they have been able to turn their plan into a reality.

“We had several reasons for wanting to build a chicken coop,” Bribosia says. “It’s a way of reconnecting local residents—parents and children alike—with nature. Of course, it’s also wonderful to be able to eat a fresh egg every day. And the chicken coop brings residents closer together, including those who may not have met yet.”

Yorick, a local resident and participant, is enthusiastic about the project. “It seems like an oh-so-simple idea, but this is exactly what we need in a neighbourhood like Mariaberg. In these difficult times, it creates contact, connection, daytime activities and togetherness.”



Over the past year, Bribosia and his fellow students found it heart-warming to witness the involvement of the people around them. “Neighbours showed up spontaneously to help with the construction, or to lend us tools. I’m hopeful it may have helped to change the image that the people of Mariaberg have of students. They saw us hard at work early in the mornings, even in the rain. And they could see that we were serious and organised, and really wanted to make a positive contribution to the neighbourhood. In any case, the people who are participating are very enthusiastic. Especially in these strange times, with loneliness just around the corner, the chickens and the idea that we’re looking after them together bring a daily ray of hope. I think this project will bring us closer together as local residents.”

Which is not to say it was all plain sailing. For starters, the corona situation delayed the construction of the coop. “Also, we misjudged how hard it would be to build the fence around the coop to keep the foxes away,” Bribosia says. “The ground turned out to be full of stones from houses that once stood on the field. The digging cost us a lot of sweat and wrecked hands, but we managed it in the end.”



The Belgian student is proud of the result. “This was all new to us too. It was the first time we’d built a chicken coop, the first time we laid a roof, the first time we put up a fence. We’ve learned a lot.”

The most important lesson, however, is that you can make the most far-fetched idea a reality—as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons and you stand behind it one hundred percent. “And that there are always people and organisations in Maastricht that are willing to help if you want to make a positive contribution to the city.”

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