People of Leeuwarden [4]: Sonja de Haan

The YourPost team is very excited to introduce to you Sonja de Haan. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a rainy Thursday morning over a cup of coffee, where she opened up to me about her life, struggles and hopes for the future.

By: Milen Elefterov

Born and raised in Leeuwarden, Sonja is an English teacher at NHL Stenden University. Although you might consider her Frisian, she likes to think of herself as a world citizen, meaning that she is also not stuck on the idea of being Dutch.

Her daily routine involves a lot of contact with students, both by email and face-to-face. Apart from that, she is very interested in watching television and is a big fan of multiple TV shows, as well as listening to podcasts about films and movie stars.

Sonja considers her two children to be the biggest achievement of her life. “They seem to know where they are headed. I know they have their own insecurities, butI think at their age I was less secure than I perceive them to be.” She admits that when she was their age, she had absolutely no idea what she wanted to do with her life – she kept studying, taking courses and in general postponing the decision. Even when she switched to English, she still was not sure about whether it was the best thing for her.

Sonja believes that her personal struggles have helped her shape herself as a teacher. “I’ve been teased as a kid so I’ve always been insecure about the way I look and that caused me a lot of trouble in my teens. I also had an eating disorder and, to be truthful, my parents died when I was still very young. I am still coping with those family relationships, that’s still an ongoing process.”

When asked about Leeuwarden, Sonja shared that the city means a lot to her. “The city needs to be proud of itself. I always had the feeling that citizens were not really proud of Leeuwarden. I do think that this already changed a bit when we had this fundraiser with 3FM – Serious Request – a couple of years ago and we raised a huge amount of money. It was a very proud moment as we saw what we could achieve as a city and as a province. But what I love now is that there is a legacy after this cultural capital event – it has a long-lasting effect on employment, investments and on so much more. There is a lot of hidden beauty here that people do not know about.”