How has the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic affected the lives of students, expats and Dutch inhabitants in the North? The Northern Times asked students at NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden to find out! In this instalment, they have spoken to Tineke de Vries, co-owner of Aquasolar at the ‘Watersportpark ‘t Ges’ in Sneek and also a special-needs teacher for one day per week at a school for special education. “Yes, of course. Being quarantined has had an impact on everyone’s life. All of a sudden I became aware of how rushed our life is, it’s like a train that keeps driving on”
Interviewed and written by Mehelia van der Veer
Tineke de Vries’ has been quarantined in the North, in Sneek (Gemeente Sudwest-Fryslân) to be precise. She is 51 years old, from Sneek itself, and started, Aquasolar twenty years ago with her husband. The company sells autonomous systems, including solar panels and its associated equiptment to generate energy.
Aquasolar’s target audience is quite broad, from people that own a boat or a camper-van, to a football club that needed to power its scoreboard. With the Coronavirus having cancelled all large trade fairs, boat and camper-van shows their main marketing outlet has been called to an abrupt end.
And when it comes to Tineke’s personal life, the Coronavirus pandemic has naturally also been a large change: “Yes, of course. It has had an impact on everyone’s life. All of a sudden I became aware of how rushed our life is, it’s like a train that keeps driving on”, she says. “There was suddenly a lot more time to do things that you never get to do, like spend more time with your family, deep clean the house, etc.”
Aquasolar has come under pressure, too: “In comparison to my job at school, this is much more unsure. For the job at school, we always will get paid, but when it comes to Aquasolar, we just have to wait if there are new customers and orders coming in or not.”
In the first quarter of the year people started to call Tineke and her husband to ask them to send their orders out because they wanted to get some work done on their boats or campers in case of a full lockdown. So in contrast to other branches and companies, their company actually got a boost during the first quarantine period. Not being able to attend trade fairs actually helped in this period as the pair had so many orders to fulfil.
Their own showroom could stay open, but with changes to help with public safety. Visitors started calling to make an appointment and pick up their order. There’s no shaking on a successful deal, and hand sanitiser sits by the door. Tineke had to try hard to keep her spirits up at this time, whilst being wary of the Coronavirus: ”It should not possess your whole life, but you still have to think about it.”
When asking about which adjustments to her life that she would like to keep, Tineke said: “We will look more into which shows we want to attend. This is mainly to have more family time and be not as rushed as we were before.”
Tineke realised how good it was to take life at less pace, and to spend some time at home, with her family. “I also learned that it’s easier to let things go. If one show gets cancelled, okay, bummer, but we will just move on to the next one.”
Trinke’s final advice? “Keep taking the situation seriously, don’t ignore it, but don’t get dragged into it too much.”