General assistent I gained courage, and with His help, went and applied for a job. I got accepted and were to become a general assistant at the entrance of the cemetery. A whole challenge that, initially, could be combined with the work in the city. This could not be a coincidence, and there I went, totally committed to work, ready for new experiences; from the city centre's “it's all fun and games” lifestyle, to a place of profound sadness and grieve, the other side of life. Ellen, a very friendly colleague, helped me on my way. What a nice woman.... There are still people who give you the opportunity to get where you need to be. Ellen's life looked very different from mine, but we had a lot to tell each other. The beautiful thing was that, together with another colleague, she had taken Majoor Bosshardt to her last resting place. It had been a great honour to carry the coffin along. Carefully, I got initiated into the world of the dead and, for that reason, I thought about the end of life more than ever. After having paid attention to my inner voice, I understood that my occupations had become incompatible. The combination of both became too heavy. I went back to the tasting house and entirely dedicated myself to this task. In the meanwhile, I felt at home again, I even missed my place in Mokum when I was away for a while. My life was full of appointments; I worked in full force among the living. I have been a hostess for 30 years in my historical house, and I have listened, experienced and shared a lot with the guests. People come from the entire world for tastings and, above all, to exchange experiences or to nourish old friendships. A portion of regulars comes daily. I keep spare home keys from the single ones for in case of need. If I don't see someone for a while, I go and check if everything is alright. Cedar tree I think back to my work at the cemetery with gratitude. When I was still with Bas, I had adopted a tree, an immense cedar tree with three huge branches that make me think of 'our parents' home and Drentse family in Appelscha and their tree there, where we played as kids. They symbolise righteousness, and when I'm under the tree and look up, I feel sheltered as if I were under a warm blanket. An adoption in life is very special, and without trees life is impossible! With this cedar-tree, we honour our parents: papa Willem & mama Jantje.Our dear don't live anymore on this earth. On the tree we placed a memorial nameplate with their names and the names of their children, my sister Janneke, (me) Riny and my brotherWim. The tree becomes blue under sunlight. Blue is the colour of faithfulness. And in the winter, when all trees are bald, its tree needles catch the snow to flaunt as the most beautiful tree in the world. The cedar is a biblical tree. While under it I envisioned a terrific plan - inspired by the power of this sacred tree, perhaps? I wrote my familybook and in the future I would love to write stories about all the adventures of the previous years. All the while I silently hope to inherit the wisdom of this cedar, along the way. Secretly, when I look at the top braches, and I feel like the little girl from the past, sheltered from the outside world. I then hear the melody of the impressive psalm “Lord, you,ll be the glory” (“U zij de glorie”) in my head. “Marijke Verhoeff and Emmy Smit” “Ellen Gerritsen” “Riny with childhood friend Rennie Bonnema” “Riny with childhood friends Nynke de Vries and Betty Wigbout” “Minke van der Akker” The bride's tears by Riny Reiken Lovers can get married in the tasting house. A personal touch gives the day a lot of style and authenticity. It has been a great joy for me to work on it. The cafe welcomes a significant number of guests and members at the bar. I've been guiding groups throughout the city and doing presentations about spirits. To my heart's delight, I teach people about the making of genevers and liqueurs with tasting sets, fragrances and colouring agents. In de Olofspoort is mentioned in so many travelling guides in the whole world. And the best is that we never advertise... It is evident: mouth-to-mouth advertising works the best and the most effective. The best thing is that when guests come back. Many clients proudly introduce their tasting house to family and friends. Sometimes I get shy when I hear how much this place means for so many people. “John + Marieke” “Conny + Joke” “Tanja + Ewout” “Jeroen + Roos” “Stefano + Rene” “Mickey + Wim” Scotish stepmother In de Olofspoort in a pretty shop where there's no music, where there is time for a good conversation and the time stands still. Sometimes there are lovely Olofspoort concerts. That is serious enjoyment. by Arjaan Eilander I have celebrated the evenings of my single life here, and I've regularly been here for drinks with my friends and partners. Riny can find the best beverage for a person just by looking at them. The cafe is quiet during the week. You also get into conversations with people pretty quickly about daily life, concerns, politics, whatever is going on with humankind. I remember Bas, with his smooth voice and full beard, used to follow the conversations without interrupting much nor judging. And Riny, with her lyric operetta voice, could spontaneously start chanting a beautiful melody. You don't find this fantastic serene atmosphere in Amsterdam's cafes so often anymore. I have experienced there a lot of beautiful moments with my step parents from Scotland. Riny managed to bring up to light something very particular in my Scotish stepmother; together they sang old melodies from the Scotish poet Robert Burns on the day after our wedding. Once more, a successful evening. Empty glass but still, we did marry. Three or four years ago we came one evening with a group from the GVB to the Olofspoort where we did a tasting of different genevers and liquors. by Sylvia Saelman Not only did we taste but Riny also knew the origin of the name of each liquor and she shared the knowledge with us amusingly and interestingly. She had liquors with a personal touch for a few of us. For my boyfriend and I, she had Golden Water, because she had seen us getting married in the future! We had no plans when it comes to it, but we were having fun with rehearsing our promises to each other. If the future wife lets a bit of liquid in her glass, the wedding will come true. Despite we drinking our glasses to the bottom, Riny still guessed it right. On September 27, 2012, we walked our way to married life. Since then we often come In de Olofspoort, or we go and buy a bottle of delicious vanilla genever.