We are Family!


According to an old Dutch saying, ‘It is a good child who takes after his father.’ In other words, children who do things the way their father does. Such a nice sentiment. The saying applies to certain Aartsen employees, too, since there are a number of men working here who are not only colleagues but also father and son. We would like to introduce you to eight of them in this issue.




Aartsen fruit-0001295.jpg

Mart Vergouwen, 65 years old, truck driver since 1978

Maikel Vergouwen, 35 years old, truck driver since 2007


Maikel, what brought you to Aartsen?

Maikel: ‘That would be my father, of course. I was driving for a different

company when I heard that Aartsen was looking for a new driver. I was keen on a new job, so that worked out well.’


Did you encourage your son to join the team here?

Mart: ‘I tipped off Maikel about the vacancy. Of course, I told him to have a good think about it. At the same time, however, I would never encourage my son to work here if I was not happy here.’


What is it like working with your dad?

Maikel: ‘Although we do the same job, we seldom run into each other. Sometimes we start at the same time in the morning, but on those days we see each other for a few minutes and then we both hit the road.’


What is it like to be colleagues with your son?

Mart: ‘I am thrilled how it all worked out; still, after a while you do get used to it. And, as Maikel already mentioned, we do not see each other every day, which perhaps is a good thing. On the other hand, we never have any problems with each other, neither here nor at home.’


Do you ever talk about work?

Mart: ‘We see each other every weekend – the kids always visit me – and sure, when we are gathered around the table we will talk about work, too. But not at great lengths or anything; my other two sons are there, too.’


Why did you want to work for Aartsen, Maikel?

Mart: ‘He saw that I came home each night with a smile on my face; that is a good reason.’

Maikel: ‘The conditions are good and everything is well-organised. It is a decent company, the hours are good, the equipment is in working order and that suits me.’





Youp Meeuwissen, 54 years old, sales staff Breda since 1990

Joep Meeuwissen, 22 years old, stall sales Breda since 2012 as a holiday worker, since 2014 permanent employee


Joep, what is it like working with your dad?

Joep: ‘We work together from time to time. There are moments when I need to look up a price and then I just tell the customers that I need to ring my dad. When they hear who that is, their response is that everything will work out fine. I like working with him because I can ask him for advice and he is always there for me, of course.’


What is it like to be colleagues with your son?

Youp: ‘It is brilliant being able to experience his development up close. He started out as a holiday worker and when vacancies appeared Joep applied for them. He told Jack that he would like to be a truck driver. As it turned out, that was not for Joep; he is much too active and cannot sit still for long. When someone in sales left, Jack said that perhaps that might be something for Joep. That proved to be the case: he is enjoying himself and he is developing well. I am truly proud of him.’


Why Aartsen?

Joep: ‘I started coming here when I was a little kid. Sometimes during holidays I got to ride on the trucks with the drivers when I was 8 or 9 years old. I always liked the vibe here. I saw that everyone had a lot of fun and worked hard. That appealed to me, and it works great for me, too.’


Youp and Joep – does that cause confusion?

Youp: ‘Actually, having two Joeps or Youps here is fun. The beauty of it is that my real name is John and my son’s given name is Youp. But when I started working here, there already was a John. I told everyone to call me Youp; I thought – and still think – it’s a nice name. A little while later, I had a son, and we named him Youp. My wife said that it was bound to cause confusion since I was already known as Youp at work. But I said that it did not matter; after all, what were the odds of our son coming to work for Aartsen in the future?’






Kees van de Bemd, 57 years old, warehouse employee Breda since 2007

Dennis van de Bemd, 30 years old, assistent warehouse manager Breda

since 2008 as a holiday worker, since 2010 permanent employee


Dennis, what brought you to Aartsen?

Dennis: ‘My dad was already employed here and the manager at the time was a friend of him. I asked him whether I could get a holiday job. That was indeed possible, and within two years I joined as a permanent employee.’


What is it like to be colleagues with your son? 

Kees: ‘It is quite special because essentially he is my boss.’


Working with your father: is that all right?

Dennis: ‘Although we work at the same location, we have hardly really worked together since I have been here. Indirectly I am his boss, but he knows exactly what he has to do and he does not actually need any supervising. That is important. We do see each other of course, but both of us are busy doing our jobs.’


What do your colleagues think about it?

Dennis: ‘It is fine with them. A half a year ago, my dad fell and everyone was very concerned. In that type of situation it’s fine to acknowledge that we are related.’

Kees: ‘As long as you keep your personal lives and your work lives separate, nobody will raise an eyebrow. I simply do my job and that way I never get the feeling that I am getting special treatment. Solid agreements were made to that effect.’


Do you ever talk about work?

Kees: ‘It is a large part of our lives. If something happens we share it with each other.’

Dennis: ‘Everyone talks about their work. That’s very usual. So yes, I talk with my dad; since it is trickier to share with your partner. Work inevitably always comes up in conversation when we meet up for a drink or are on holiday.’ Kees: ‘But it is not like we spend the entire time talking about Aartsen, of course.’




Frans Jongerius, 57 years old, branch manager Venlo since 1996

Wayne Jongerius, 27 years old, sales employee Hong Kong

since 2009 as a holiday worker Venlo, since 2016 permanent employee Hong Kong


Can we call you an Aartsen family?

Frans: ‘Yes, as a matter of fact. Wayne and I work at Aartsen, and my wife works for AKF. And our other son, Dylan, had a holiday job here a few years ago. There is a lot of chemistry and connection with the company.’ 


Wayne, what brought you to Hong Kong?

Wayne: ‘Thanks to my parents I was aware of the fact that Aartsen had opened an office in Hong Kong and I was very curious about the operations over there. Jack gave me the opportunity to do a work placement in 2015 for six months to see what life is like here. Within a couple of weeks I knew that I would love to work here and that I wanted to move to Hong Kong after graduation.’


All the way in Hong Kong 

Frans: ‘From a parental perspective, Hong Kong was a big step. We knew that he would go out into the world. Wayne has always been a free spirit. If those are his ambitions, well, then as parents we can only be happy that it is with Aartsen. Because there is trust; we know that it is right. The organization likewise has a lot of confidence in him, which is also nice for a parent.’


Why did you want to work here?

Wayne: ‘I was eager to work abroad and during my work placement in Hong Kong I realised that there were more or less countless opportunities in Asia still awaiting Aartsen. Furthermore, it is clearly a family business with close connections where issues are resolved quickly and that is always open to good ideas and their implementation. Taking initiative is appreciated.’


Do you ever talk about work?

Wayne: ‘We tend to communicate through Skype or WhatsApp. We see each other

for a few days about three times a year. We talk a lot about things not related to work, but we always chat a bit about work, too, of course. Especially if they achieve a good turnover in the Netherlands; I will definitely hear about that. With a reminder that we need to crank it up a notch over here...’

Frans: ‘Of course we talk about our work, but we keep that separate.’


What is it like to be colleagues with your son?

Frans: ‘It is wonderful that he works for Aartsen and to see him develop. My wife Caroline is involved in Aartsen Kids Foundation and this creates a strong bond with the family; as a result, Aartsen is often topic of conversation at the dinner table.’