Sharing her life and style in our Portraits series on this Summery Sunday – no. 23 – is Chapter Fifty’s contributing editor Marjolein van Rooij-Roeloffzen. Born in Den Bosch in February 1965 and the youngest in a three girl family.
From a very early age onwards, Marjolein was interested in colorful jewelry and fashion, including shoes, hats and hand bags. Collecting is another big theme in her life: shells, shagreen objects, antique taxidermy and silver glass objects to name some.
Moving to Amsterdam after highschool was the kick-off to an independent life, starting out at 5* Hotel de l’Europe. Followed by various secretarial/managerial jobs in advertising, consultancy and airline industry (Singapore Airlines). There she got stung by the travel bug, enjoying international trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and more.
At the age of 32, Marjolein became personal assistant for Alfred Heineken himself. A turning point in her life, since ‘Freddy’ Heineken taught her a lot about the true essence of international high-end lifestyle.
But not only that, he stimulated her to study again. That is how Marjolein – after years of hard work – became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
After celebrating 20 years with the Heineken family, she recently started her new business: personal high-end jewelry, fashion and special-occasion shopper, mvrr.nl
Marjolein lives outside Amsterdam in a penthouse overlooking the beautiful Dutch countryside, with husband of twenty years Marc and Norwegian forest cat Lola.
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
Around 32 was super: just married, starting in a great job and feeling on top of the world! I do not wish to go back however, because I am again at a positive turning point in my life. One I’m terribly excited about as I have my own business in the jewelry/luxury shopping advice sector. After a personal intake – both businesses and private individuals – I shop for that perfect special gift, jewelry or outfit. I would say that fifty is a perfect age to start something new!
What would your ideal day look like?
My ideal day involves chasing some unique gemstones around the globe. I would start with an elaborate breakfast with Marc at the Wolsely in London. Actually, would brunch qualify better. After this sound start I would go to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington to look at the – blue – Hope Diamond. Did you know that over 100 million visitors have experienced the beauty of the Hope Diamond since Harry Winston donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958?
I’m a big fan of cakes, so instead of lunch, I would go to Paris to the café of the Musee Andree Jacquemar where I’ll have a big chunk of their delicious chocolate cake.
In the afternoon I would time-travel to the mid 17th century and accompany Jean-Baptiste Tavernier – gem merchant and traveler – on one of his travels to India to buy some awesome Golconda diamonds.
With some unique purchases I’ll return to the here and now, just in time for dinner and after I would lay my tired head to rest at the Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur and snuggle up to hubby.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
Being sickly as a child, I turned to reading. I sort of finished the whole public library in no-time. The ability to read – especially since learning to read the English language – broadened my world immensely.
Whatever happens in my life, as long as through reading I can (time) ‘travel’ in my mind into different worlds, I’m happy. That and the decision to start studying again.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
Quite simple, actually: always silk pillow covers and Hylasense night cream (hyaluronic skin care) by Convenion which I can put all over my face (including around my eyes) and neck.
Lots of long walks, cycling and Pilates once a week are also on my agenda. And I thank my mom for good genes!
Which book and/or film and/or music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: an epic novel placed in 12th century England. No classic literature, but just a damned good and exciting read. It opened my world at 17.
Currently I’m into almost everything by Ian McEwan: beautifully written with superb exactness and suspense. ‘On Chesil Beach’ and ‘Atonement’ are probably my favorites of this contemporary novelist.
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @graciousopulence for great photos of sumptuous interiors
- @manrepeller founder Leandra Medine makes fashion humorous and lifts my spirits
- @bijouxreview by Kyle Roderick shows museum quality jewels from a lot of different creators
- @the_eclectic_artisans their photos will blow you away
- @oscardelarenta ultimate elegance in ladylike fashion
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : London, anytime of the year
- Hotel : the Belle Rives in Juan les Pins, South of France
- Museum : that will be Villa Borghese in Rome. The first time art made me cry by its sheer beauty: Bernini’s white marble ‘Apollo and Daphne’
- Restaurant : Le Restaurant in Amsterdam
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?
Hahaha, that does not exist! I count my blessings with a husband who is an excellent and creative cook. I do bake things; my banana bread and chocolate/nut cake are quite OK.
My childhood dish is a very simple and old-fashioned Dutch winter dish: ‘stamppot’ hete bliksem. This literally translates as ‘hot lightning’ and is a mashed potato stew with apples and pears. With a meat ball and gravy on top.
Trivia time, make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nailpolish or Lipstick?
Nail polish Definitely. Also because I’m allergic to lipstick! Only feet, only in summer and then OPI in a bright coral tint
- Heals or Flats?
Flats, lately lots of New Balance. They’re so nice and light weight. I’m happy the block heel is back: my favorite kind of heel. I’m a big fan of Prada shoes: they have a perfect fit and are funky too.
- Dress or Trousers?
Trousers, in statement prints. My girl friends often remark on new purchases “those are typical Marjolein pants”. Miu Miu does amazing ones. In winter time I do like dresses and I wear them with those thick black or blue Wolford opaques
- Coffee or Tea?
Tea, although I cherish my daily after-lunch-espresso. Apart from that, it’s strictly herbal or green teas: fresh verveine if possible.
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Bikini, the simpler, the better and always in classic black. This provides ample opportunity to throw on a pretty kaftan, funky costume jewelry and beady sandals and look great by the swimming pool.
Fore more inspiring interviews, read our Portraits series.
Want to share your life and style in these series or recommend an inspiring friend over fifty? We love to hear from you. Please send us an email.