Milene van Arendonk


“Cappuccino with oat milk?” asks Laura Blomberg () smiling as we enter. She knows exactly what we want, because this isn’t the first time she’s poured us a nice coffee. If not at coffee shop Fleur, then at Haags Hoog.

Rolled in coffee

This time Laura takes a cup of coffee herself and we plop on the couch. We’re talking about Laura’s coffee adventure and how she got into it. “Like some kind of accident actually”. Laura worked in a lunchroom on the Fred five years ago and had to take over ‘the bar’ for a while. “The owner had an important phone call and just called out ‘good luck Lau. Can you!” before he walked away with the telephone to his ear”.

One thing led to another and Laura has now attended various trade fairs, attended courses and even participated in competitions. The Amsterdam Coffee Festival was ultimately the deciding factor. During the festival, she met many people who wanted to accompany her in the coffee adventure. She received training, was able to show her skills in different places and she grew into a true barista.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

“After 203136 cappuccinos I knew there was more than just making coffee. But what?” Laura wanted to try something new again, but with a link to coffee. And so she decided to go to South and Central America, the continent of delicious coffee beans. At about the same time, a friend of Laura sent a message that Roast Factory was looking for was to a coffee lover. And since Corona threw a spanner in the works in the Latin American adventure, Laura came back to the Netherlands and is at Roast Factory and afterwards also at coffee bar Fleur got started.

The traveling barista

Travel and coffee is the perfect combination for Laura. While we drink our cappuccino, made of beans from Colombia, we scroll through the beautiful and cheerful travel pictures on Laura’s Instagram account. From Europe to Asia and thus Latin America. Laura does not have a most beautiful trip, “all trips had and have something beautiful and special in their own way”. Laura feels at home in Europe, in Asia she finds the people and culture extremely instructive and interesting and the culture and language of Latin America continues to attract her.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

When we ask for a nice anecdote, we get a very special answer. Laura gets a nice feeling of turbulence. “I like that floating falling feeling,” she says, half hiding behind the cup of pleuâh. We’ve never heard that before.

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Coffee contests

We’ll go on and on about coffee because we naturally want to know more about coffee contests. Laura’s coffee mentor insisted on entering competitions. No sooner said than done. Laura took part in a latte art competition in Bleyenberg with all the ‘coffee nerds’ from The Hague. The most beautiful hearts, tulips and swans appeared in coffee cups. “It wasn’t very serious but it was super fun”. Laura would rather take latte art and barista courses than participate in competitions. And does she ever want her own coffee shop? New. She wants to learn everything about roasting coffee and tasting it, but above all follows her feeling, intuition and does what makes her happy.

We are glad that making coffee makes Laura happy because yum! what a nice cup of coffee she makes, with beautiful latte art! Before we leave, we take a nice cup of to-go and delicious cake with us.

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After the door has been cracked open and we have made our way through the many piles of books, we see Kim Heijdenrijk squatting between the reading material. She has some books in her hands and judging by the titles, they are books from The Hague. That is not very surprising since Kim is specialized in the history of The Hague.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

Co-owner of a bookshop in the Reinkenstraat

The location where we meet Kim is Colette antiquarian bookshop on Reinkenstraat, which she recently became the owner of with a motley crew. The owner of the store wanted to stop and the special store would close if someone wouldn’t be willing to take it over soon. Kim, with six other people, responded to the call and since then they have teamed up and devised a plan to save the store. The successful crowdfunding campaign helped with this and in January they were able to officially take over the store.

In addition to running a bookstore, Kim writes for Haagse Historie Magazine and the historical column Haagse Sagen every other Friday. in The Telegraph. She is also number nine on the list of candidates of the Hague City Party and mother of two children.

While we continue our conversation, we unpack a box full of gems from The Hague. About the landscape of The Hague, the history and The Hague blood of Sjaak Bral. Kim also writes books herself, always with a link to The Hague.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Near

Writing life stories of unknown Dutch people

On her 19 Kim started writing professionally. She did this for a newspaper and she liked it so much that she went on to study journalism and started working for different media. But she always wanted to write books and if Kim wants something, she makes sure she gets it. She doesn’t look very far ahead, Kim lives as if every day is the last. And yet she manages to write fantastic books that make you look a little further into the future. And also in the past.

“The subjects of my books find me. It’s always stories that happen to me. For example, for my second book ‘Mrs Breek‘ I did research to a Weimar Street bookseller’s murder for a column I wrote. Mrs. Breek was married to him and while investigating she turned out to have so much on her plate that it had to become a book.”

Kim’s books are entrances to the life story of an unknown Dutchman and she always starts with family research. “On the basis of the biography I hang up a history or image of the time. I can find a lot online and sometimes I have to go to an archive institution such as the Hague Municipal Archives or the National Archives”. She also calls it puzzles for advanced students. “That puzzle is wonderful. You never know when the puzzle will be finished and which piece will complete the puzzle”.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

61.01 booking in Colette & Co

During our conversation we are regularly distracted by the nice books we see or come across. Kim is looking for the Hague part of Antiquariaat Colette and we come across nice things there, such as a comic book from The Hague. Kim also gives us a look behind the bookshelves. The building has an old kitchen and even a storage room, but also a cellar. Everything was full of books, now only the basement. Much is being sorted out and organized. “The charm of Colette is those huge stacks of books. The megalomaniac character of the store with those large mountains and meandering paths will of course be preserved, because that is what Colette makes.” But to find out exactly what’s in the store, those piles are searched. Colette & Co estimates that there are between 70 .000 and 70. books are present in the property. Not only the store but also the books are looking for new owners. The gems are entered on

They are still busy figuring that out, but the doors of Colette & Co are open and the books are screaming to be (re)discovered. We leave the store after some wonderful digging with a large pile of our own antiquarian Colette gems.

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When we enter the JUNO block at de Binckhorst Rik van Coolwijk (36) at his doorstep. We step inside while he hands us a nice cup of coffee. And with coffee in hand, Rik shows us around his beautiful home where he lives with girlfriend Geertje and dog.

In 1024 the municipality sold handy buildings and lots in various places in The Hague. “I got the opportunity to buy an old office building together with a group of people, which would be the first housing project on the Binckhorst in fifty years”.


It was a bit of a gamble, Rik admits. “Either I would have a house in a boring industrial area or the Binckhorst would slowly change into a new hip residential area. I took that gamble and have not regretted it for a moment.” And we understand that, the house is a beautiful collection of industrial, history and warmth. Rik likes to gamble, but not if it’s his hobby that got out of hand.

Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

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    It is cold when we enter the ambulance post of the GGD. Fortunately, Robert Ooijen soon arrives with a nice hot cup of coffee. We drink it in the ambulance where Robert has been working every two months since this year.

    Robert works in both the Intensive Care Unit and the ambulance. But that’s not something he dreamed of as a little boy. “I dreamed of becoming a pilot. But because of the subject package, I eventually chose nursing. I still have a private lesson to fly myself. With an instructor, of course.” Despite the fact that aviation has always interested him, Robert is at his place at the HMC Westeinde.

    In the IC

    He completed the HBO nursing course at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and has then completed a preparatory course in IC training, after which he was transferred to 1024 on the IC has started working. By now, most people know what work in the ICU in a hospital entails. But, according to Robert, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

    Read more below the photo.

    Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

    Working in the ICU of a hospital

    High workload due to the pandemic

    While we walk around the ambulance and Robert points out and explains things here and there, we talk about the high workload during the pandemic.

    “The work pressure is sometimes very high at both workplaces.” Not only do many staff drop out for various reasons, people also have a clear opinion without knowing much about it. “People don’t always think about what they actually say or how it could come across.” According to Robert, this sometimes leads to discussions that do not benefit anyone. “That is now more often than before and I think it’s a shame. Fortunately, I still meet many people who are grateful for what we do. And believe me, we do our best for everyone.”

    Volunteer at the Hague volleyball club Sovicos

    Besides a busy job, Robert finds it important to exercise. “Mainly to keep moving, but also for fun.” After playing soccer at a nice level for a long time, Robert decided about 5 years ago to try something new. He started playing volleyball with

    Sovicos and still enjoys it . He is also a volunteer at the volleyball club. “I think volunteering is important, in whatever form it takes. It contributes something to society and you do others a favor with it. That is why I not only play volleyball myself, but I also like to do my bit as a volunteer.”

    Our cup of coffee is gone and so is our time because Robert has to go back to work. After all, acute care cannot be delayed.

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    Born in a small Danish village to the large and busy The Hague. We speak with Michael Lund Nielsen about his past as a police officer and the combination of Krav Maga instructor and coach.

    Michael welcomes us to a small gym where he gives classes every Saturday and Sunday Krav Maga. The room is empty and we sit down on a wooden bench against the wall.

    From a small Danish village to the large Dutch city

    In 2000 Michael came to the Netherlands when he came through the newspaper found a room in The Hague. He has never left the city, he is not homesick and he loves the Hague mentality. “Speaking with your heart on your tongue, I love that”. Michael has been married to Brenda for many years now and they have two children, son Mischa and daughter Nina.

    “Ever since I was a little Danish Viking I have always had an interest in martial arts and self-defense” Michael begins when we ask him about Krav Maga.

    Krav Maga is not a sport but a defense art with origins in Israel. In Hebrew it means ‘contact combat’. Unlike martial arts

    such as karate and kickboxing, Krav Maga has no rules, competition or style elements.

    We got up from the couch and Michael shows us some Krav Maga moves.

    Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

    Krav Maga has what Jiu-Jitsu does not have

    “In my youth I did a lot of Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and kickboxing. I’ve even done Kung-Fu and MMA, but I was always missing something. In 2008 I took my first Krav Maga class and knew right away”. The simplicity, effectiveness and philosophy behind the art was what Michael had been missing. According to him, it is contemporary, easy to learn and, above all, super effective.

    The exercises we do with Michael consist of a series of quick and fluid attacks on vulnerable body parts such as head, neck and abdomen. The flowing movements remind us of martial arts. The realistic scenarios from which training takes place provide a standard response. “If someone hits you, what do you do?” Based on that response, we must repel the attack. These are tough exercises, so we settle down on the couch again for a drink of water and talk to Michael about his work as a police officer.

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    A big change because of PTSD

    years he worked in the police, from daycare to juvenile detention, he did it all. Through his work he often had to deal with victims of various violent crimes. Hearing the horrific stories, he often thought that even a little knowledge of self-defense could have spelled another end to the event. “This motivated me to 1024 to follow the Krav Maga Instructor training that I have in 2021 with good results”.

    Krav Maga is taught worldwide to armed forces, special forces, police, security guards and civilians. The primary goals of Krav Maga are to prevent physical injury, neutralize danger and enable a quick safe exit.

    As a police officer Michael went through a lot and due to the many violent incidents he developed PTSD. He could no longer continue his police work and ended up in a deep valley. During this period, he talked a lot with a coach, who pulled him out of the valley through the way of talking and hands-on mentality. “It gave me a lot of strength and the way he did this really appealed to me” Michael says as he takes another sip.

    Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Indebuurt

    Coaching with lesson in self-defense

    Michael has now linked coaching to Krav Maga. “Krav Maga, or self-defense in its entirety, means being able to say no”. Yet he often sees in his lessons that students who have had a bad experience, do not say no. Some of them experience exactly what happened to them before with the drill, afterwards the students say that they found it very difficult to participate. “But, so as not to be thought crazy or weird by the others, they did it anyway. Reluctantly. That is a moment for me to act as a coach.”

    According to Michael Krav Maga is more than teaching tricks and as an instructor you have to address all aspects of resilience. “Mental resilience is of course also part of that,” he says. For Michael that is the best thing about his profession as a Krav Maga instructor and coach. “Seeing that students develop more self-confidence and become more resilient is why I do what I do”.

    To be able to help even more people with both coaching and Krav Maga classes, he would like to have his own space to combine this. A coaching practice with a Krav Maga space. “I am also developing a training in which Krav Maga, coaching and mindfulness come together. I want to offer this training to people with PTSD. I know what it is and hope to get others out of that deep valley.”

    We do some more exercises and even though it is serious business, Michael also knows how to make it a very nice training.

    We’re ready!


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    Photographer, mother & co-owner of a beer brewery. We visit Louise Boonstoppel and talk about entrepreneurship, photography and beers.

    From criminologist to bridal & lifestyle photographer

    Besides enjoying, Louise works hard and a lot. She graduated as a criminologist and, after her master’s degree, worked in the legal department of Victim Support Netherlands. “I have been interested in being creative all my life. Because I had a VWO diploma, I thought a university education was a logical next step”. Still, Louise kept being creative and when she finally picked up the camera she knew ‘this is it!’

    “I noticed that this gave me so much energy and so I quit my job and I went for my dream”. Louise photographs weddings and pregnancies, babies and young families. She loves the non-standard weddings and likes to do this in a natural and lifestyle way. “I notice that this branch of photography really suits me, because I really want to capture memories for my customers and because of this I can also photograph some customers more often, I am a kind of ‘home photographer’ for some”.

    The best thing about her job, Louise thinks, is that she captures memories that only become more valuable over time. On the other hand, as an entrepreneur she is always ‘on’ and the balance between work and private life is sometimes difficult.

    Photo: Milene van Arendonk / Near

    A beer brewing photographer

    This time Louise is not behind but in front of the camera. Now that the light is still good, we shoot a few pictures. In addition, we are talking about the beer brand that she has with her boyfriend. Jasper, her boyfriend, is the owner of the beer brand Eiber. “I always think along about the image of our company, the names of the beers, the design, texts and of course I take the photos”.

    While Jasper is busy in the brewery below us, we are now tapping a Hofblond from Eiber. “I take care of the marketing of our beer brand, I also maintain the website and our Instagram page. We share an office together at the brewery so I am sufficiently involved in the process and here we also occasionally have a nice brainstorm about new beers or cool collaborations”. Keep all the balls up, or not?

    The Hofblond tastes very good on this somewhat dark Friday afternoon. Entrepreneurship and motherhood, that asks what of a person, how does she do it? “I sometimes ask myself that too. Well, you just do it and sometimes you don’t. Keeping the balls up all the time just doesn’t work, so I’m learning to accept that more and more”. Sending an email later, being flexible and communicating well with each other is key, Louise tells us. “By the way, Sunday is sacred and we really want to keep it free for the family. Of course we are both entrepreneurs and therefore work a lot, but of course our daughter comes first”.

    The other visitors to Haags Hoog (open every Friday until 12: 000 hour) exchanged the coffee for beer. We chat a bit off-the-record and while enjoying a delicious Eiber beer, we continue with a beautiful view over the city.

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