Featuring in Portraits no. 21 is Diana Kolbe. Born in 1964 to a Dutch father and Hungarian mother. Family values are important to her, brought up respecting both cultures and languages. Her grandparents had to flee Hungaria in 1956, leaving family, friends and valuables behind. Starting over again as refugees in a new country which also brought them a new home, new careers and new friends.
The importance of education – ‘the one thing you can never lose is your development’ – is the indirect message Diana learned from her grandparents. It therefore makes sense that after her German and English studies and working in fashion, Diana made a career change and became a secondary school teacher. This path led her to her current environment: the university for applied science. She is a senior lecturer, coach and consultant for over 15 years and finished her Master in Education in 2009. And loving it so much.
Diana lives in Kampen, is married to her great love – they met at 16! – and mother of her adult children Thomas and Laura.
Her latest hobby is Instagram which she only started a few months ago. Inspired and stimulated by two young professional fashion bloggers whom she met accidentally. They convinced her that also ‘older’ women could learn and be inspired by each other. This little push was all this true believer of connectivism needed.
How do you feel about being over fifty?
For me there is no difference with the earlier years. I think the most important aspect is how you feel in general. Am I the person I want to be and am I satisfied with life? Most of the times, yes. Age is not important me, I don’t think about it.
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
I really do not have a favourite and I don’t want to go back. But like to look back. I agree with people who say that each period has it’s cons and pros. My early childhood can be characterized as safe and warm, my adolescence was exciting and exploratory, my early twenties were great and full of chances.
Becoming a wife and starting a family is rewarding. Watching our children become adults (including a house full of sorority sisters in LBD’s) makes me even more curious about both the world’s and their future.
Now that I turned 53, I realize that I am an older mother to our children than my mother was. And again, the first thing that pops up in my mind is that I probably feel much younger and more innovative. I’d like to treasure that feeling!
Besides: you are never too old to be stylish, today I am a day younger than tomorrow.
What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
I’ll keep it close to home and within the Dutch borders. A nice walk in the woods outside Zwolle to start my day, then a coffee with my husband, the love of my life and the best amateur barrista I know!
After exercise comes relaxation, so I opt for a wonderful beauty treatment from Bibi Kanters, owner of Beautiful By Bibi‘s beauty salon located in the city centre of Zwolle.
Next is Perfumery Douglas in Zwolle, my favourite one-stop-shop for beauty products. Been frequenting this store since I converted my first earned money into perfume.
Lunchtime at Blooming Beach in Bergen together with my family, outside on the terrace. Who likes to, joins me for an after-lunch-stroll in the sand before we visit one of the many art galleries in Bergen.
Fresh sea air triggers my lust for shopping, love to do that at my favourite fashion store Ainz. In my new outfit my husband, son and I travel to Amsterdam where our daughter and her friend lives. The sun is still shining so we have an outside dinner on the sidewalk at Morlang Restaurant on the Keizersgracht. After a dinner my mum and brother join us for an open air concert in the Vondelpark.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
Two things. Two years ago – after a long period of lower back pain which I attributed to my age (!) – I was diagnosed with a fracture in my spine, a chronic and regenerative disease. I learned a lot from the first year trying to cope with the pain, the low energy level and the handicap of not being able to walk, cycle or drive a car.
I was suddenly confronted with strong emotions and a feeling of insecurities for my family and me, our future. Having experienced this made me reflect on the true important things in life. The things I still can do. I regard my glass half-full, not half-empty.
I also learned from the saddest moments in my life. My father’s death (age 67) and the loss of some dear friends made me reflect on the important values in life, the meaning of it all and cherish even the smallest of things. My own illness and the recovery process gave me essential insights in the strength and endurance of people.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick and of course: a smile is the best make-up a woman can wear.
Which book and/or film and/or music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
If I have to mention one book it would be The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a mysterious and intriguing novel situated in Barcelona, my favourite city. It made me realize that everyone’s life can be affected by other people and political situations. The descriptions of the main characters and Barcelona are marvelous.
My favourite film is Departures, by Japanese director Yôjirô Takita who uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. The story tells about a cellist in an orchestra who suddenly finds himself without a job. He finds a new job as a ‘Nokanshi’ or ‘encoffineer’, a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies. While his wife and others despise the job, the former cellist takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of ‘Nokanshi’, acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death.
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @annarike Dutch blogger & natural beauty. Young and professional
- @moderosa Dutch blogger, a style role model to many young women
- @maria_bernad Stylist from Madrid, her Insta pics are like art
- @adiuvantes A concept store in Amsterdam with honest and pure products
- @styleheroine A true image maker, for a fabulous and contemporary style
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : Algarve for its coastal nature, Budapest for culture and family history
- Hotel : Blooming hotel in Bergen has it all: atmosphere, location & gastronomy.
- Museum : Guggenheim in Bilbao, Frank Gehry‘s building is beyond anything
- Restaurant : De Librije in Zwolle, *** Michelin restaurant. Need I say more?
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table. And Which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
My cold spanish Gazpacho is a Summer favourite and red onion Quiche for colder days. I like honest, simple food with intensive flavours and colours.
My childhood dish is a Hungarian dish, Tökfözelék (gourd soup) made by my great-grandmother: the smell of the combination of gourd, crème fraiche and dill still makes me happy!
Trivia time! Make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nail polish or Lipstick?
Lipstick my favourite is Shiseido Laque de Rouge RD203
- Heels or Flats?
Heels Flats, because of my spine injury of course and because they are fashionable. A classic winwin. I adore my off-white vintage Stan Smiths by Adidas. For special occasions I wear my ‘sitting’ shoes. Heels. And hope for comfortable chairs
- Dress or Trousers
Dresses most Simply because it’s so feminine. My favourite dress is from the Italian brand Ottod’Ame. My favourite trousers are from Samsøe & Samsøe, a unique and recognizable Scandinavian fashion design brand. A true essential in my wardrobe.
- Coffee or Tea?
Tea Fair trade and organic Earl grey from Clipper, all day long.
I drink two cappucino’s each day, preferably made by my own home barista, my lovely husband. He is the best!
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Bikini A black Gottex, delicate, stylish and classy!
Follow Diana Kolbe on Instagram.
Fore more inspiring interviews, read our Portraits series.
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