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Foto: Laura ter Steege

Every year several thousand items are lost at the UvA. What happens to them?

Laura ter Steege,
18 oktober 2019 - 15:59

iLost, the ‘Google of lost & found’, is an online archive of all objects found at the UvA listed by location. At the time Folia checked, it found 171 listings at REC, 1 at Science Park and 0 for the University Quarter. Clearly the service is not actively used at all locations.

A phone call to the UvA Facility Services did not provide much clarity. ‘I think some of the objects are placed on that website [iLost, ed.], but to be honest it’s not entirely clear,’ an employee confesses. Fortunately, reception staff at other UvA locations could offer more insight.

‘I don’t understand how someone can forget their laptop or a full sports bag, but it happens’

From keys to laptops

People regularly hand in objects at all faculty receptions, from 10 items a week at HC Hoofthuis and up to 15 objects a day at REC. IDs, keys, chargers, clothes and water bottles are the usual suspects. ‘I don’t understand how someone can forget their laptop or a full sports bag, but it happens,’ says a reception staff member.


Reception then tries to find the owners. ‘It’s easy with cards or IDs-we just send an email. Unfortunately it’s not always this easy with other things.’



At Science Park, unique to the other locations, only valuables can be handed in at reception. All other items go to the lost and found bookcase, which is accessible to everyone. Folia found items ranging from keys, glasses, a yoga mat, to a single shoe, a baking tray, sportswear and even a laptop.


REC appears to be the only location that actively uses iLost. In fact, reception staff at the other locations have never even heard of it. At the Roeterseiland Campus, it isn’t the reception but the Service desk in REC-A that’s responsible for lost and found. ‘We try to put all items on iLost every day, but lately we’re understaffed and this isn’t always possible.’


Never collected

Inevitably there will always be items that are never collected, and space needs to be freed in the storage cabinets. ‘Here at REC we store items for three months, after which they’re donated to the thrift store Rataplan.’ It’s not clear what happens with the items at other locations: ‘I don’t know whether items are donated or just thrown away.’