This month, we’d like to introduce you to Eric Lindemans, our long-standing Nikwax Head of Sales in the Benelux region. We haven’t seen as much of Eric as we’d have liked to over the past two years, due to you-know-what, so we were thrilled to finally catch up with him again in person last month at our East Sussex HQ. Here, Eric tells us why he loves using Wool Wash, fills un in on the Nikwax cabin in Reewijk, and shares a bit about himself…
How long have you worked at Nikwax and what is your role at the company?
I have worked for the brand since 2006, as Head of Sales for the Benelux region, which comprises Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Before Nikwax, I worked somewhere completely different – for Media Markt, which is a German multinational chain of stores selling consumer electronics. They have over 1000 stores in Europe.
What do you think is the best thing about Nikwax?
Nikwax is a very honest and transparent company, which is hugely important to me. Quite simply, we do what we say we do, and have done for over 45 years.
What is your favourite Nikwax product and why?
Wool Wash is without doubt my favourite product! I love wool as a material because it keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and Wool Wash keeps my woollen clothing in perfect condition. The weather in the Netherlands can change rapidly without warning – from cold to hot, from light rain showers to storms so it is essential that my clothing delivers for me (I live in a country where frogs thrive!). Woollen clothing that has been treated with Wool Wash dries 70% faster than wool that hasn’t been treated, and I also I use it occasionally on synthetic base layers.
What activities do you enjoy in the great outdoors?
I really enjoy skiing and walking as well as sailing, diving, snorkelling and kayaking – I spend a lot of time on the water!
Tell us about the Nikwax cabin in a Netherlands nature reserve…
A few years ago, we decided we needed a showroom that resonated with Nikwax values and an opportunity came up to rent a cabin in Reewijk, near to the river De Lansing. This beautiful, award-winning nature reserve can only be reached by boat, covers over 5 hectares and is home to protected flora and fauna, including yellow irises, orchids, crab warblers, grass snakes, polecats, natterjack toads, carp, kingfishers, and owls. We rent the cabin for a minimal cost because we help take care of the nature reserve, which feels truly reflective of who we are and what Nikwax stands for. Visitors to our cabin experience Nikwax in nature and gather a deeper understanding of the Nikwax brand and products.
We are also proud that our Nikwax cabin has virtually no carbon footprint. We use solar panels for power, a dry toilet for composting, UV tarps above the deck protect visitors from UV light and provide shade, and we cook on wood where possible.
Is there a memory of working at Nikwax that particularly stands out for you?
4 years ago, I attended a European meeting in the UK. Since I was travelling to the UK anyway, I decided to plan my family holiday around this trip and explore the beautiful countryside of Southeast England. Very generously, Nick Brown, the Founder of Nikwax, invited my family and I to stay in his home for two weeks as his guests, whilst we explored the area. This memory, particularly, stands out to me because Nikwax feels very much like a family.
Where is your favourite place to walk/hike in the Netherlands?
Definitely (north) Texel and The Slufter, which is a large salt marsh plain positioned between two sand dikes. It is unusual due to its location along the North Sea coast – only plants that tolerate saltwater grow here and it turns purple in the summer from the flowering sea lavender. Eider ducks and sky larks also nest in the area.
I first came to Texel when I was 15 years old and that summer I made lifelong friends. I try to visit Texel at least once a year and my dream is to retire there so I can walk the beautiful trails a few times a week rather than just once a year!
©Sam te Kiefte (Unsplash)
And your favourite place to walk/hike in the UK?
The National Trust’s Lydford Gorge Walk in Devon, which has an amazing 30m waterfall called the White Lady. I really loved my visit to that place – beautiful vegetation everywhere and never a straight path. I want to go back there and explore some more!
Tell us about an environmental cause that is close to your heart
In Zeeland, where I live, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) issued a warning that we should not be eating more than one fish a year from the ocean due to the risk of ingesting PFA’s. The average Dutch person already ingests too many of these harmful substances through food and drinking water and there is a push, in Zeeland, to reduce the intake of PFA’s as much as possible. This is something I really believe in, and I have adjusted my diet in line with the RIVM’s advice.
©Dennis Möller (Unsplash)
Tell us something about the Netherlands we don’t know…
Everybody always talks about Amsterdam as the must-visit place, but in Texel and Rotterdam you will discover the real Netherlands. Texel delivers on beautiful beaches and nature reserves, whilst Rotterdam has some fantastic modern architecture and is famous for its port, which is the largest in Europe. I would recommend these places to visitors over Amsterdam any day!