What does a…If you look at our job landscape, you will see special functions. A field service engineer, a lab technician or an assembly worker: we obviously need them badly, but for what and why? In this series, someone talks about his or her profession every week. Today: Carine van Ketwich Verschuur (54) is a castle manager at Geldersch Landschap & Kasteelen.
What kind of work do you do?
,,I am a castle manager at Doorwerth Castle in Gelderland. The work is extensive, but my main task is to operate the castle and the estate belonging to the castle. The castle is not only a museum, but also a business that needs to be kept going, including a shop, a cafe, a vegetable garden and an orchard. I send permanent employees and volunteers for this, a total of about 95 people.”
Working on a castle that is hundreds of years old, what is that like?
“It’s a fantastic place to work. I can do part of my work from home, but I also have a permanent workplace in the house next to the castle. When I look out the window, I see visitors walking towards the museum. My house is close by, if possible I cycle or walk to work. The route across the estate is beautiful in all seasons, every time I notice something new in nature. But there are also some challenging things about working on a castle.”
“My job is to ensure that enough money comes in through the museum and events to allow the castle to continue to exist. It is an environment that appeals to the imagination, you can think of all kinds of fun events, but at the same time you have to keep an eye on and protect the history of the building. Not everything is possible. That sometimes creates a field of tension.”
How did you become a castle manager?
,,I have always loved England, especially the many castles and manors there. When I came to live near here with my family in Heveadorp, I saw that Geldersch Landschap & Kasteelen had a vacancy for events coordinator. I was a speech therapist at the time, but that seemed so nice and special that I applied. I got the job, and after eight years I went on to become a castle manager. I’ve been that way for fourteen years now.”
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What does a typical working day look like for you?
Even after all these years, every day is still a surprise. Today alone I have done so many different things. The day started with a visit from a class of schoolchildren and a camera crew for TV recordings, then I had to quickly move on to receive the handyman team who help us with the minor maintenance of the castle. And in between you also have to do the ‘normal’ things, such as answering visitors who have a question, and keeping up with the administration.”
What do you like most about your job?
,,I like almost everything, but the contact with visitors is very nice, just like working with volunteers. The latter is not always easy. We always need a certain number of volunteers to keep the castle running. With the corona measures and the ever-changing protocols, it can be difficult to fill the schedule. But it is special to work with people from so many different backgrounds and with so many different talents to be able to pass this place on to future generations.”
Not only have I been working here for a long time, but the castle has also played an important role in my life besides work
Sounds like you feel very comfortable in the castle. Do you also see it as a second home?
“Yes, in the meantime. Not only have I been working here for a long time, but the castle has also played an important role in my life outside of work. I got married there, my kids used to throw birthday parties here. I work 36 hours a week, but in principle I always have to be ready if something is wrong with the castle. When there was so much snow last winter, and we had been closed for weeks because of the lockdown, I had to go to the castle because of the storm to see if there was any damage.”
That is a big responsibility.
,,Yes, but I do my job with great pleasure. Of course I can also go on holiday, then I’m really away for a while. But when we come back I always look from the highway to see if I can already see the tower of the castle. If so, I think, oh goodness, it’s still there. No doubt my colleagues would have let you know if something bad had happened, but I’m still happy every time I see the castle again.”
Working in a real castle
Do you want to become Carine’s colleague? The current vacancies of Geldersch Landscape & Kasteelen (also for volunteer work) can be found here.
Bee National Vacancy Bank you will also find dozens of relevant jobs at castles or other historic buildings in the Netherlands. We highlight two for you:
The TeKa Group is looking for a party manager for the Duurstede Castle location. In this position you organize the perfect event in consultation with the customer in this castle in Wijk bij Duurstede. Candidates have at least two years of relevant work experience in the hospitality or event industry.
Keukenhof Estate is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country thanks to its flower garden. But the estate also houses a beautiful castle from 1641. The Keukenhof has a vacancy for a employee PR and events. Activities include writing press releases and receiving journalists, photographers and film crews on the estate.
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