‘By nature we are just hard workers’

Maria: “Rik and I have quite a busy life. I work forty hours a week at a tax consultancy firm, and we also have a 14-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter who is graduating this year. The whole family is active at BV Hoofddorp, the basketball club. Rik as treasurer, me as competition secretary, coach and trainer and the children as players. All in all quite intensive.”

Rik: “I have my own company, Finsulate, an innovative scale-up with which I develop products to combat algae growth on everything in the water. Without poison, that’s what’s innovative. If algae grow on a ship, the surface becomes rougher, resistance increases when sailing and that costs speed and fuel.”

Maria: “At my work we just finished the year-end. This is always followed by a very busy period with all the reports.”

Rik: “Even on weekends I am often busy with my company. I estimate that I spend about sixty hours a week on it. That’s okay, because my work is also my hobby. I have a mission, I want to make the world a bit more beautiful, free of toxic paint. I feel like an inventor and was named Inventor of the Year in 2019 by the European Patent Office. That feels a bit like European Footballer of the Year, haha.”

Maria: “We still have a good balance between work and private life. And if not, we’ll try to take a day off. We are reasonably flexible in this regard, because I partly work from home and Rik is my own boss.”

Rik: “I am on the road a lot, for example to clients and research agencies. I am happy if I spend a day at the office. I work a lot with flexible workers, so that I can focus on innovation myself.”

Maria: “I would love to have some more free time somewhere, but it is still too busy at work to work less. In my opinion, it is still too early, although my direct colleagues both work part-time.”

Rik: “I think we are the tail end of a generation in which working full-time was quite normal. Younger colleagues are much more likely to work part-time. I wouldn’t necessarily want to work less, although I do have the feeling that I do a lot at the same time. But it’s also hard to drop things. You want both the company and the basketball club to run smoothly.”

Maria: “By nature we are just hard workers. And I really enjoy my work, which may also make it difficult to take a step back.”

It gave peace

Maria: „Rik and I met each other in 1999 at basketball. He had moved to Den Helder, where I lived, for his work at TNO. A colleague of Rik was president of the basketball club. That’s how it happened.”

Rik: “I then went to work for Corus, now Tata Steel. I also started my own company in antifouling, combating the growth of algae, seaweed and barnacles. After a good start, it went bankrupt almost seven years ago. There was an assignment that did not go well and an investor then pulled out. I have made a restart. It was an unpleasant period, but it also gave peace, such a new start. After the bankruptcy I started smaller and did a lot myself. The growth has now really started and I mainly work for pleasure craft. Large shipping is now also slowly becoming more sustainable and we are therefore doing more and more there.”

Maria: „My work mainly consists of making analyses, drawing up reports and preparing presentations for the board. I just like numbers.”

Rik: “I sometimes dive to inspect boats, although that is actually more like snorkeling, so shallow. My son now also has his diving certificate and during the holidays we sometimes go diving for a day. When I became Inventor of the Year, it was said in the accompanying video that a sea urchin I saw while diving gave me the idea of ​​how to prevent algae growth on a ship. But that’s only part of the idea. Above all, it is a fun story.”

Good conversations

Maria: „In our spare time we regularly meet up with friends to cook and eat. And we regularly go to watch a basketball game, of the children and nieces and nephews.”

Rik: “Or we go out for dinner, together or with the children.”

Maria: “They can really enjoy good food.”

Rik: “For example, they like lamb. Then we tell them that they are eating a young sheep.”

Maria: “Although sometimes they also want pizza for three days. But it is nice that they want to eat with us when we cook extensively.”

Rik: “Then we start at five o’clock with a drink and are still at the table at eleven.”

Maria: “We often have good conversations, which makes it very nice and cozy. But that also depends on their (adolescent) mood.”

Rik: “We try to raise them sustainably: don’t shower too long, close doors. Our daughter has sometimes taken part in a climate strike.”

Maria: “They are sustainable when it suits them, that’s what teenagers are for.”

Rik: “We don’t really have plans for the future, we live pretty much by the day. You should be able to die every day and not regret anything, that is our attitude to life.”

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