About Us: Klaartje

In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.

Meet Klaartje

Where were you born?
In Maassluis, South Holland, but we moved from there after I was a year old.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
My favorite foods were lemons and spaghetti alla bolognese. I hated brown beans and excessively hot food.

Were you read to as a child?
Yes, by my father before going to bed. I think mother also read to me but I don’t remember. I was read to until I was eight years old. One of my favorite books was Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, my father was a teacher and so we had piles and piles of books. This was always a problem when we moved to a different house.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Books, brown.
Sale: Ship.
Magazines: Colors, shiny.
Piano: Keys, black.
Price gun: Gun.
Cash Register: Basket.
Discount Card: Joker card.
“I’m looking for a book?”: Eye glasses.

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
Well, I’m very into children’s books because I read to my 6-year-old. I also write articles about nature for my website.

What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities in the Amsterdam store?
Local interest (books about The Netherlands) and I’m the back-up for the children’s sections. I’m Lynn’s assistant, her secretary. Lynn’s the Director of ABC. And I’m the go-between for the health services.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is being responsible for the local section, maintaining it and seeing how foreigners see the Netherlands and what we sell. I also like bringing in and opening up the mail. I’m naturally curious.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?), pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
My service is like the ECI (a book club) because I don’t really see the customers. And in terms of quality I’m a Hema girl or Volkswagen.

How long have you worked at ABC?
11 years.

Who is your favorite author?
Romke van der Kaa, a gardening writer. And I’m also reading Chris Ewan, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Watching TV.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
That a lot is possible. We are very open to feedback from customers and each other.