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After several years spent in the countryside, Sanne Hop and her tribe (she is the mother of 4 children) are back in Amsterdam. This mum, fan of vintage and crafts, who praise a sustainable way of living, tells us about this new daily life in which everyone had to find their balance.
Hello Sanne, could you introduce yourself ?
Hello, my name is Sanne Hop. I am a mother of four children, currently based in Amsterdam.
I have two sisters, who have children too. We are quite a big family with all together 10 children.
Mum of 4 kids, could you let us know a bit more about your daily life ? How is a day in your life ?
Well at the moment things are calming down after a period of homeschooling the children.
We have been through a period with lots of changes.
Moving back to Amsterdam in January, meant we all needed time to adjust to the city life again and to the new surroundings that came with it. I cannot say it was easy, even though we all knew city life pretty well (the children were all born in Amsterdam). They are now in their third school, and still miss their old friends and our home (which I understand). So I guess our days aren’t as routined around school/ friends/ activities as we were used to.
And when the corona virus came, it meant another big change. I guess in the beginning we all took our time to slow down and just be at home together. This might have been a good thing in the way that we could get more grounded in this home and neighborhood.
After that our days structured itself around schoolwork in the mornings, and play and creative activities in the afternoon. Think we got quiet used to this in a way, living this slow life together as a family.
Since this week, our schools have started again, and this is also taking time to adjust. From being at home full time, to back to school for five days, is a big thing.
But apart from the fact I really miss being at home together, it is giving me the time to work on my own little projects that have been waiting for some time now.
I guess an average day at the moment, since this week, looks like taking the children to school in the mornings. Then either meeting someone for coffee in the city, or a coffee at home with my husband. I then start working on my little webshop, that I hope to be able to get online this summer. I am working on photography and writing at the moment. And together with a friend we are creating the website.
After lunch I pick up Kaatje from school, since she still finishes earlier.
Either we go home to have a quiet hour together or we stay outside to play until the others are finished around three.
After that we go home and have some tea together and talk a little or play a board game. When the children then play I mostly do some household chores, sometimes alone other times together with one of the children. Around five I try to get ready for cooking, and often one of the children is happy to join me.
Around six we come together at the table to have dinner.
This normally takes until 18.45, after that the bigger children often play for an other hour outside and we take the smaller ones to bed.
We read and sing to them and try to create a calm and quiet atmosphere. The others are mostly off to bed around 20/ 20.30 and after this we sit down on the sofa or at the table. To talk, to read or sometimes watch a movie.
Think this is pretty much an average (week)day at the moment.
What is your favorite moment of the day ?
This would be a morning moment in the weekend, when we don’t have to rush or be anywhere early. Just hang around the house in our pajamas, talk, have a coffee, play, read the newspaper and books , have some more coffee and think what that we will do with the day lying ahead of us.
During weekdays I think this will be the moment of reading to them when to go to bed. Having this quiet moment together in their rooms always gives me such a cosy feeling. They tend to be really talkative at that time, and share some of their inner thoughts.
What is the most important for you when it comes to raise your kids ?
I try to raise them as thoughtful human beings, as compassionate people with a big heart and an open mind.
Raising children in the world of today, makes me even more aware how important this is. I hope they will always know they are very loved and cared for, so they will feel safe and hopefully will be able to give love and kindness to others as well.
Few years ago, you decided to move from the city center of Amsterdam to the countryside, what have you decided to move and then to move back ?
We really longed for more space, more green and a less stressful way of living. We hoped our move to the country side would gave us just that. Partly it did.
We had the most amazing home, with lots of space and outside. But it was difficult for us to adjust. We found ourselves being a little bit of an outcast in between the people directly surrounding us in the other five houses (it was a block of six) and it was not so easy to really connect. We missed the creative and artistic vibes.
Apart from that the distances were enormous, that made it necessary to drive everywhere by car. School, shopping, friends, everything was far off, which meant we were in the car half of the day (in stead of in our garden:). With four children there is just always something to do, someone to bring or pick up somewhere, and with my husband still having his work mostly in Amsterdam the logistics became rather complex and a stressful. This stress and also the fact our oldest would go back to Amsterdam for his high school, made us decide to move back.
The good things are we are happily back to cycling through the city again, hardly ever using a car, and being amongst people that make us feel connected. Of course we also miss our old home and the space at the same time. But we realize, we cannot have it all at once :)
What inspire you these days (person, project, trend) ?
Its may sound really simple but it’s mostly people. I don’t really follow trends, but talking to people who are passionate and thoughtful about something can be so inspiring. Other than that books and photography are a great source of inspiration.
I really admire people who can create with their hands. I might have studied for years, and might have learned to think in a certain intellectual kind of way, these days I really long to work with my own hands.
Handmade products are so unique and beautiful to me, and more importantly I think in the world of today it is so important to care for our planet and buy handmade and honest made products where we can.
I am so very happy to bring some of that handmade beauty together in a little shop.
How do you choose the products (fashion, food, beauty) for your children ?
As I said, I find it really important products are made in a way they don’t harm the environment.
Protecting the earth through our own actions, how small they may seem, is really important for me.
And I also really hope my children understand this by heart, so they can make their own choices when they grow older.
I mostly look for well made (handmade) products with honest and pure ingredients, preferably made by small businesses.
I love to support those, because I find it really important they exist.
What are your best adresses in Amsterdam and around ?
There are so many lovely places, parks, shops and coffee corners in the city. I will share a few of our favorite ones.
For sure this will be ‘de Plantage’ a beautiful place next to the Artis zoo, where one can enjoy coffee lunch or diner inside or out. It’s also possible to just sit there bringing your own drinks and food. While the children play in the large fountain and run around, it’s so calming and lovely to sit at this amazing large terrace under beautiful old trees.
My very favorite vintage shop would be ‘Laura Dolls’ located in the nine streets. They really have a unique collection, also for children. And the most amazing vintage accessories too. Buying vintage is the most eco way to shop really.
The city is full of the greenest parks, of course we all know the famous Vondelpark.
But I prefer going to the more quiet ones, like ‘Beatrixpark’ close to our home. Or ‘Oosterpark' in the east of Amsterdam. Lots of quiet places to enjoy greens, flowers and each others company.
A perfect coffee is served at ‘the Scandinavian Embassy', where you can sit in an intimate Scandinavian setting. Or, if you bring your children, drink it across the street in ‘the Sarphatipark’.
When having a lovely summer day we recently discovered ‘het nieuwe meer’, a beautiful lake located at the outskirts of the city. It’s quiet a cycling trip, but totally worth it when being able to swim in nature water.
Then I also really love visiting the orchard 'fruittuinen van west’, located in the west of Amsterdam. The orchard is open to pick fruit, there is a sweet and lovely biological shop and a terrace.
A Go-to destination for a sweet escape ?
We didn’t go anywhere for quiet some time now, but I absolutely love going anywhere close to the sea. The children really love playing at the beach, and can do so for days and days in a row. Hopefully we will get to spend some time at the Dutch coast this summer.
Your favorite Minois’s product ?
Everybody in our household loves the Bubble Bath by Minois.
It’s not so easy to find bubbles made out of natural ingredients, so we were very happy to find them at Minois. It also leaves the skin feeling very soft, which the children really love about it.
You can check out Sanne Hop universe on her Instagram account : @sannehop