Fifty+, Portraits

Life & Style after Fifty Portrait: Caroline van Metelen

10 July 2016
Portraits Caroline van Metelen

Featuring our Portraits series today is Caroline van Metelen. This strong, vivid beauty is born in 1959 and turns 57 next month. Caroline is full of zest for life, grew up in The Hague and is married to Fred. Who already had three children at that time, we’re talking more than 25 years ago, which results in 6 grandchildren for them to spoil today. These kids really regard her as their best friend.
Caroline and Fred have one son, Dennis, who sadly lost his young, promising life in a tragic car accident at the end of 2013. At the age of almost 25. Despite this recent dramatic loss, Caroline kept her positive outlook on life and is an inspiration and force of power for many around her. She underlines that you have to enjoy life every day, the little things and the beautiful people who surround you.

Caroline van Metelen Dennis
Until she got pregnant, Caroline worked as a flight attendant for 10 years at KLM and travelled the globe. After giving birth to Dennis in 1988, she joined her husband and started working in their own company. Moving is her second nature, she packs and unpacks as a pro. Fred’s business took them from Holland to Switzerland and from Spain to Belgium. They live in Knokke overlooking the sea for over four years now.
Caroline starts her day with a long walk along the Belgium beach with her Spanish water dog, Lola. Rescued from a dog shelter in Spain, and boy, did this dog fell from one extreme into another. These two love each other to pieces.

Caroline van Metelen Lola

How do you feel about being over fifty?
I don’t care at all! It feels good to be over fifty and I find it very important to cherish life since there are so many of us who will not live to reach this age. It feels as I am half way, so ask me again when I am hundred…

Caroline van Metelen Portrait

Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
That might be between 40 and 50, we had some great years in which the sky was literally the limit. We travelled the globe, attended so many events. Very good memories I take with me, but no wish to go back. Been there, done that. I enjoy every phase of aging.

Caroline van Metelen L'Avenue Paris

What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
My ideal day starts with an early, long walk with Lola along the beach. Of course the weather is beautiful, the sun is shining and the sky bright blue. And since it is low tide, the sand is easy walking.
After the walk I enjoy a perfect cappuccino on the rooftop terrace of Grieder luxury department store in Zürich. Since the walk wasn’t enough for me, I do a little round of training at the gym of Akasha Wellbeing Spa at the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam.
Next up is lunch at my favourite place: L’Avenue in Paris with my friends. I always take the same, Salade Homard. In fact, we all take the same salad time and time again. After lunch it’s time to visit Parisian museums on Avenue Montaigne. As in Dolce, Prada, Celine, Gucci and Chanel.
I’ll change and wear my new Gucci dress for a romantic dinner with my great love at Lío in Ibiza. To finish my ideal day with a dance for two at Baoli in Cannes. All night long.

From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
Two major life experiences made me to who I am today. The first one was the death of my sister when she was 38, caused by cancer. I was only 26 and was devastated by her death. This really made me realise how fragile life can be and why I should live life to the fullest with a positive attitude. Every single day. I am conscious of every day, the good and the bad ones.
The second devastating experience is the dramatic death of our only beloved son, Dennis. For me, that moment felt as if my life was over. Instantly. Children are not supposed to die before their parents do. But my life wasn’t over, a new power within me awoke. This power still keeps me going today, I live even more intensely and with greater awareness. But God, I would do anything to turn back time that dreadful day.

Caroline van Metelen

Where are you 10 years from now or what’s on your wish/bucket list?
I’m not making long terms plans anymore, life changes directions without giving notice. The years after Dennis’ death I visited some places where I’ve never been before, like Ibiza and Venice. Make new memories. Normandy and Shanghai are still on the (short) list. I live life by the day, I am less focused on the future.

What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
First of all, I don’t smoke and don’t drink. No alcohol and no sugary sodas. Water is my middle name and I like to exercise to keep my shape. Let me rephrase, I need to exercise because otherwise I have too much energy to spend on one day. The gym really is my hobby and I love to hit the road on my racing bike as much as long beach walks with my dear Spanish water dog, Lola.
This all with a little help of my favorite La Mer skin care products. Hooked for years and years.

Which book/film/music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
Two books really touched me. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, a tragic story about a journalist who unravels the life of Jewish girl in WWII. The other one is a book by a Dutch writer, Komt een vrouw bij de dokter. Only after reading this story about a man who starts fooling around when they learned of his wifes cancer diagnoses, I understood the way my brother-in-law reacted back in the ’80’s when my sister got the same diagnoses.

The song that changed my life is Happy by Pharrell Williams. When it just came out, I always had to think of my happy son Dennis when I heard this song. When he died shortly after this, it was only logical for me that we played this song at his funeral. To remember him as the happy, young man he was. This song still gives me comfort.

Caroline van Metelen RTL Late NIght

Who should we follow on Instagram?

Caroline van Metelen Witney New York

What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?

  • Destination    : Paris. It always comes down to Paris. Or New York.
  • Hotel                   : Hotel Costes. Yes, in Paris.
  • Museum           : The Witney Museum in New York, stunning new building with great views of the city and American Art throughout the centuries.
  • Restaurant      : And back to Paris… L’Avenue. See my ideal day.

Portrait Caroline van Metelen

What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table.
Meatballs! They all join our kitchen table for this. Including a large group of Dennis’ (football) friends who ask – let me rephrase, demand – for this dish in advance.

Which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
The same meatballs. I learned the trick from my mother. We ate this every Saturday, meat was important to our family since my father was a meat trader. My Mom always served meatballs with rice with raisins, cinnamon and sugar.

Caroline van Metelen

Trivia time, make a choice and share your favourite brand:

  • Nail polish or Lipstick?
    Lipstick, my favourite is by Laura Mercier. Downside it they discontinued my colour.
  • Heels or Flats?
    Flats, mostly custom-made sneakers by Nike, Dr. Martens (same as my granddaughter) or whites from Phillipe Model.
  • Dress or Trousers
    Dress, to go along with my sneakers. My signature look. Favourites are Maje and Dolce & Gabbana.
  • Coffee or Tea?
    Coffee,
    cappuccino is my guilty pleasure
  • Swimsuit or Bikini?
    Bikini, I love Eres. A top without cups but still gives you a nice decolleté.

Follow Caroline van Metelen on Instagram or Facebook.

More Portraits
Want to share your life and style in these series or recommend a friend between 50-60? We love to hear from you at portraits@chapterfifty.com

Caroline van Metelen Dennis

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply Annelies Reugebrink 3 September 2016 at 20:05

    Wow, the portrait made me cry; and smile in the end, what a very special lady Caroline is,
    chapeau how she is dealing with such a dreadful loss,
    beautiful and determine and strong, I wish her courage and luck!

  • Reply 8 timeless books for a long summer read - Chapter FiftyChapter Fifty 10 February 2018 at 11:52

    […] Caroline van Metelen: The book that really touched me is ‘Sarah’s Key’ by Tatiana de Rosnay, first published in 2007. A tragic story about a journalist who unravels the life of Jewish girl in WWII. It’s a story of loss and family secrets which takes you from past to presence and back again. Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. […]

  • Leave a Reply