WU People: Sebastiaan Loche
Sebastiaan Loche (43) from Zwolle in the Netherlands, is a veteran serving in the Dutch armed forces. He is part of a growing team of Dutch veterans taking part in Waterloo Uncovered. Their involvement reflects the increasing interest in battlefield archaeology in the Netherlands, and a curiosity to find out more about the important Dutch contribution to the battle as part of the Allied forces under Wellington.
He’s enjoying the opportunity to get stuck into the archaeology, but there are other ways too that Sebastiaan’s work connects with Waterloo Uncovered: Sebastiaan’s role in the Dutch military is to act as first point of contact for people experiencing PTSD. On the dig, he’s part of a team of skilled professionals gaining experience of how projects like ‘Waterloo Uncovered can help veterans with their recovery.
One of the highlights of Waterloo Uncovered, for him, is the international environment in which the excavations take place. By the Northern Gate, he has been digging, measuring and drawing a section of building structure that was found earlier this week. In his team are team members varying in nationality, background, and age.
Sebastiaan considers himself a curious person: “I like to keep an open mind and I want to learn from everybody. I have never worked with students before, and I really enjoy talking with different people about different things.” This curiosity covers all aspects of his participation in our project: “I try out as many activities as I can while talking with the veterans about their experiences of the project, and how it helps them,” Sebastiaan explains. “Everybody has a different background, yet they work so well together. That’s really nice to see.”
Waterloo Uncovered has brought Sebastiaan into contact with people he would not usually encounter. “I ask the students how they got here, where they came from, how they are working together with the vets, and what they study”. And he’s been inspired to take up more study himself: he’s signed up for the special opportunity Utrecht University offers, where veterans complete an accredited Summer School programme whilst working on the dig. “That’s really something to have – I am actually planning on attending the UCR Battlefields Uncovered Summer School programme in Middelburg next year,” he says. “For me, the army connection makes the university course in Battlefield Archaeology extra interesting.”