A zoo is an exciting organisation. A wide variety of animals and plants need to be well cared for, and a safe and pleasant working environment is important for employees. Not everyone working at the zoo deals with the living collection; we also have the business side and retail and hospitality, for example. Burgers' Zoo's animal and plant collection may be colourful and diverse, but the range of professions at the zoo is just as varied. Introducing Sanne Duwel, a member of staff at the Reception.
When the Tuesday morning rush hour at the ticket office is over, Sanne Duwel (33) has time to talk about her active job "in the central point of the zoo". As she aptly puts it herself: "Everything comes in at Reception: we hear and see everything in passing. Often literally." After her four-year study at the PABO, Sanne worked as a teacher before moving from The Hague to Dieren with her partner Jan-Willem. She has been working at Burgers' Zoo for over six years now.
Sanne was born in Heemstede, while Jan-Willem is from The Hague. By a twist of fate, they met far from where they both lived, volunteering in nature in Gelderland. They are now completely at home in Dieren and the proud parents of their two-and-a-half-year-old son Joshua: "A cheerful, enterprising little boy." Sanne has always been adventurous: she completed her graduation internship and thesis for the PABO in Alaska (USA).
Asked what drives her in her job, Sanne does not have to think for long: "I enjoy working with people. Every day is different here. If you attempt to make a schedule for the day, you will often find yourself jettisoning it. Working in a varied team, including part-time students, is refreshing and keeps you young. I also genuinely enjoy giving visitors an enjoyable day; I get a lot of satisfaction from that."
Sanne recalls an illustrative incident: "A little boy walked up to the season ticket office. He was crazy about the Ocean and wanted to get there as fast as possible. So, I drew the route to the Ocean on his map. He looked up at me with big eyes and a sad face and asked: "But...won't you be coming with me then?" Luckily, I managed to convince him that it would be all right with mum and dad, and after his visit, he came back to the register to tell me all about it enthusiastically."
Every working day starts with good preparation. The ticket offices need to be prepared, the ticket check and parking need to be started, and waste must be picked up in the wider area. "We are happy to see a positive atmosphere again, since COVID. People are looking forward to having a day out again. The many international guests we welcome during the summer holiday make working here extra dynamic. Visitors are always our main focus!"
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