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Gabbing at the market with Mariem & Hein

Amsterdammers are growing further apart. Everyone is in their own bubble. That's why we let two Amsterdammers, who seem to have nothing in common, meet each other. Yet they seem to have more in common than they think.

This meeting is between Mariem El Yahyaoui (42), technical product owner at homeQgo and owner of Herbal Gifts, on the left in the photo, and retired Hein Ploegman (72).

What did you think of the meeting?

Hein: 'I enjoyed meeting Mariem. A very nice person.'

Mariem: 'I look back on it very positively! Hein is a sweetheart. He lives in his own little world, and we both think about things differently, but I immediately noticed that we are both open people and enjoy being around people. Some people go to a community centre for social contacts, Hein and I go to the market.'

What do you like to do in your free time?

Hein: 'When the weather is nice, I prefer to go motorcycling, and in bad weather, I like to visit a flea market. For example, I really enjoy visiting the IJ-hallen. How nice is it to buy things there that you can no longer find in stores. When you are looking for a specific vinyl record and suddenly come across it: wow, look what I found! You must feel very happy then, right?'

Mariem: 'I enjoy visiting museums. I have seen many museums, so I specifically go for a certain exhibition. You often look at something quite old. This brings a sense of nostalgia to me. I wonder what kind of life people have had and try to put myself in their shoes. I find that delightful. And I also try to pass this on to my daughter: always try empathising with other people and cultures.'

How do you convince someone who has never been to the IJ-hallen or a museum?

Mariem: 'If you speak from your own experience about what you like and share that experience with others, then that energy will naturally come across to people. And you should never sugarcoat it. That way, people will appreciate your honesty.'

Hein: ‘It is always cosy and busy at the IJ-hallen. There are plenty of nice things to be found, and if you come across something you can't buy in a store, it gives you a great thrill!’

There are plenty of things to do in the city during Amsterdam 750's anniversary year. What are you looking forward to the most?

Mariem: 'The Puppet Theatre on the Dam. As a working mother, I am always very busy, but I always want to make time for my little daughter. The puppet theatre seems like an ideal activity to do together.'

Hein: 'As I said earlier, I'm a big fan of markets. So I'm really curious about Op Straat – Sunday Market, a performance about the housing market during the Sunday Market at the Westergas site. I'm looking forward to seeing how that turns out.'