Sandra de Rooij: she brightens up the room


You can follow all kinds of life coaches and read self-help books to try to find happiness. But you can also trust in the power of your smile. Because when you smile, your body releases more happiness hormones than when you eat chocolate, and when someone smiles at you, this also has a huge effect. And the wonderful thing is that you can just run into a smile like that. At Aartsen, for example. Everyone who walks into our head office in Breda is greeted by the radiant smile of Sandra de Rooij or Corinne de Lijster. And that cheers people up. In this issue of Nonstopfresh Magazine, Sandra talks about her work and happiness.


Best job at Aartsen

‘The atmosphere at Aartsen is pleasant and warm. There is a strong team spirit, and everyone works their socks off. We all take our responsibility, and that really shows in our company. We care about each other. To me, Aartsen is like home; we’re one big family. Working at Aartsen makes me happy. It really does! My husband often asks, “So, Sandra, are you keen to get back to work?” And then I always say, “I sure am, because I have the best job at Aartsen.” Well, we have the best job, I should say, because I work together with Corinne.’


Working day with lots of variety

‘We work from seven to five. Long hours, but time flies, because there is so much to do. I get into the office at around a quarter or ten minutes to seven and say hello to everyone. Then I start up all the programs and start checking the inbox, processing invoices, et cetera. Our job is all about multitasking. It can be really hectic some days. The key thing is that answering the phone always takes priority. We do the other work in between calls in a very pragmatic way. It’s like running a hop-on hop-off tour. We also deal with colleagues who have questions and stories to share. I like to listen to them, and I’m happy that they trust me.’


Positive and optimistic personality

‘I have a positive and optimistic personality. I got those traits from my father. Sadly, he passed away about a year ago. But he was a very optimistic man, and I admired him. I think I resemble him, because people see me as a positive and happy person, too. But that doesn’t mean you never struggle. I went through a difficult period after my father died. But I’m the face of the company, and I didn’t want people to notice. So I sometimes had to dig deep, but I stayed positive. And I’m convinced you can spread positivity by being kind or smiling to someone. That’s a really important part of my life.’


Mood can get ruined

‘You might not expect it, but my mood can get ruined, too. I find it difficult to deal with negativity, people complaining and cruelty to animals. When you’re unhappy about something, whatever it is, you should try to change it or discuss it. I always say, “Look around you at everything we have.” We often don’t fully realise that we have so much to be thankful for. Because money can’t buy you happiness. Health, love for each other and freedom are what really matter.’


Lighting up the room

‘People refer to me as someone who lights up the room, and of course that’s a wonderful compliment. But it’s just who I am. And I also enjoy seeing my colleagues, of course, so I think we feed off each other’s energy. But it’s not always easy to be upbeat and joyful. The recent death of our colleague Dennis, and that of my father not that long ago, have really affected me and have obviously influenced how I feel. But if I can give people a positive vibe, I will certainly do it. Because that makes me happy, too. And when the people around me are happy, first and foremost my family and relatives, but of course also my friends and colleagues, then I’m also happy.’


Happy in the rain

‘The weather never affects my mood. I don’t care if it’s rainy or sunny. I’m always the same person. That’s why I think this photo shoot will be really fun and original. I have really been looking forward to it. I just hope they won’t mess with my hair and my eyes won’t end up looking like a panda bear’s.’



Typically Sandra

Age: 50

Place of residence: Sprundel 

Place of birth: Sprundel

Relationship: married to Coen, with whom she has two children: Iris (23) and Janick (19)

Guilty pleasure: making funny TikTok videos with Iris

Favourite cocktail: I prefer a good glass of red wine

Favourite Netflix series: Outlander

Who we should follow on Instagram or TikTok: Beautiful destinations

Favourite city: I prefer the countryside

Favourite sports: hiking

Favourite dish to make: Singara

Proud of: my family

Favourite fruit: nothing beats golden kiwifruit

Favourite vegetable: all vegetables



Supermarket, till, plant, happiness

Recently, an elderly woman drew Sandra’s attention as she stood in line at the till in the supermarket. She was neatly dressed and smiled warmly. The woman reacted awkwardly when she had to pay, and it turned out she didn’t have enough money with her. The shop assistant wasn’t particularly helpful or friendly. The woman decided to leave out the lovely plant she had wanted to buy so she could pay for the rest of her groceries. The shop assistant told the elderly woman she was creating a lot of extra work for her by not buying the plant. Meanwhile, other people in the queue started to complain. Sandra felt really sorry for the woman. She asked herself, ‘Isn’t there a better way to handle this?’ Sandra intervened and offered to pay for the woman’s plant. The woman looked at her with astonishment, but Sandra insisted. And the shop assistant didn’t care who paid for it. When Sandra stepped outside, the woman was waiting for her. She was in tears and hugged Sandra; she was very grateful. That gave Sandra a great feeling, too, and left her with a great story to tell: a positive, optimistic story about happiness, showing that you get what you give.