DRACHTEN – Circus Renz Berlin’s fleet of blue, red and yellow trucks have had a fresh lick of paint over the winter. But now, as coronavirus measures shut down the entertainment industry across Europe, they have no place to go.
"It's catastrophic for everybody," said Sarina Renz, of the family circus that has been in existence since 1842.
For the foreseeable future, the circus is parked up behind an equestrian center in a northern Dutch town, waiting and hoping for an end to the crisis.
The German circus’ animals, including eight Siberian steppe camels, 15 horses and a llama, are spending their time in sandy fields munching their way through the circus’ supply of food and supplies donated by locals.
"We have food, but not for long. We're already nearly through our reserves. Now other people have helped by bringing things for the coming weeks. We've got supplies from people, that's really fantastic."
There are 18 members of the extended Renz family on hand to look after the animals, other performers have already been sent home, Sarina said.
Children from the family pass the time playing around the trucks and animals and get home schooling -- that’s new for most children in the Netherlands but not for the Renz family, who usually are moving from one show location to the next too often to attend a regular school.
For now, the family has to get used to a more stationary way of life, but one without the lifeblood of the circus: The public.
"We're just used to performing our shows. That's our life,” says Sarina. “We live to make other people happy with our shows, our attractions."