Companion in the Túnkeamer

Leny Siebenga-Popkema

Making coffee in the historic garden room of 'D.E family' De Jong

Making visitors feel comfortable, Leny likes nothing better

Hardly anyone leaves the museum without first having a cup of Douwe Egberts coffee, tea or soft drink. With of course a piece of apple pie, dúmkes or oranjekoek in the cozy Túnkeamer or outside in the garden under the tree. The De Jong family, former owners of D.E, used to drink tea there in their time.

The museum can count on a team of volunteers; every day there are people to make visitors feel comfortable and Leny (66) is the one who coordinates everything. "I am a people person, I love to do something for another person.


How did you join Museum Joure?

'I didn't want to work as an employee anymore, I liked being busy as a volunteer more and more. So when a volunteer was asked for the museum café, the Túnkeamer, I was immediately in place. Nice contact with the visitors, explaining that this was the former home of the De Jong family, serving different kinds of tea and coffee... Yes, that was really something for me.

After a while, I took on the job of coordinator. I make the schedule with another person, help where needed and we develop the sale of products. A volunteer who has catering experience joined us and he came up with the idea of serving soup and sandwiches and tasty sandwiches. We have recently started 'High Tea' with a matching nice service and lunch. It's going very well.
tunkeamer museumcafe

Favorite museum piece

'I like to point visitors to the old photo we have hanging here in the Túnkeamer. On it you can see the whole De Jong family with all the children in the garden, and that old chestnut you see in the picture is still there!'

Always worked with customers

'I was born in Drachten, raised in Kortehemmen on my parents' farm. After high school I had a clear goal in mind: I really wanted to work in the Schweigmann children's fashion store, in Drachten. To my luck, they just needed young staff there and I could start immediately. I had good contact with the customers, I knew which clothes suited them and I helped them make a good choice.'

'Meanwhile, I got married and we had four children. That did mean that I started working fewer days in the beginning, and at one point I was transferred to the Heerenveen branch. That worked out well, because my husband and I had a farm in Oudeschoot.'

'I was with Schweigmann for 42 years and then the crisis came. In 2013, branches were closed and almost all the staff was out on the street. I ended up in a nasty time. Fortunately, I was already doing volunteer work at Theresia care center and I was also already working at Sari (Working Together on Fair Imports), the clothing store.'


'My husband and I leased a farm and land from the Freule Van Harinxma Thoe Slooten in a partnership with my brother-in-law. She was very interested in farming; we had a nice contact with her. When she died childless, her nephew continued the business.'

'At one point, my husband and I decided we would stop farming. Fortunately, we found a successor in our circle of acquaintances.
Now we live in Mildam, in a bungalow with a view of the Tjonger. And very far away is 'our' young livestock. So nice!

'In 2016 I did find a job in a store, at a jewelry store. That was really new for me, I had never done anything with jewelry and watches before. It was also exciting to pay close attention when trying on rings and other jewelry. The days around the holidays like Mother's Day, St. Nicholas and Christmas were the most fun times. Then it was busy and people brought sociability. During the Corona time I stopped.

terrace joure

What many people don't know about me....

"I always did a lot of volunteer work, despite our large family, the farm and my job at Schweigmann. I found satisfaction in helping people who needed it. I now volunteer in group care for the residents of the nursing home in Wolvega. Pouring coffee, distributing tea, preparing lunch and serving dinner, that sort of thing.'

'Much earlier I was a hostess at Bertilla nursing home in Drachten. In that position, I helped visitors and residents find their way to the various clinics located there. I have also been a hostess at hospital Tjongerschans in Heerenveen for 20 years.'

Interview and text: Willeke ten Noever Bakker

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