Curator Paulette Kooijman has worked at Radboud Castle since 2003. In that time a lot has changed, in the museum and in her work. But one thing always remains the same: her love of history and storytelling.


Excavations in the garden

It was clear from an early age that Paulette had to do "something with history. Her parents' garden had been raised with soil from the garbage dump and from an early age she had been digging up shards and pipe bowls. Her choice to study classical archaeology therefore surprised no one. All she needed was a matching propaedeutic before she could start. That became art history.


An archaeologist in ICT

During her studies, an exhibition on Pompeii led her to the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Once she graduated, the jobs in her field were not easy to come by. Her part-time job as a museum guide was extended to the Hermitage and, unsurprisingly, she also worked in ICT. She only dug in her spare time, in the mountains of Hoorn.


Coincidence does exist

As with Ben Dijkhuis, coincidence played a major role in Paulette's arrival at the castle. One of her hobbies is singing and at the choir she met Carolien van Berge, at that time the only curator of Radboud Castle. She was looking for someone to replace her during her maternity leave. That person became Paulette. Even after Carolien's leave there was still plenty of work, so Paulette never left.


Professionalization and expansion of museum

With her arrival, the ambitions of Radboud Castle could be further implemented. Collection management was professionalized and medieval Whitsun weekends began.

Meanwhile, the work has changed again. Whereas at first the setting up of the exhibitions and the organization of the events was outsourced, it is now much more 'hands-on'. The current exhibitions are entirely conceived and executed in-house.

That way, Paulette can do more and more of what she loves: telling stories and making history manageable. "People in the Middle Ages weren't that much different from us at all," she says.


Paulette's dream: coming full circle

With her background, Paulette's future wish is no surprise: a geophysical survey, or archaeological research, without digging. What lies in the ground under and around Radboud Castle? If that should ever come to pass, she would have come full circle.

Finally, we ask her what she likes best about the castle. An almost dreamy look appears in her eyes: "Arriving in the early morning, driving along the tranquil IJsselmeer, seeing the castle and realizing each time what a special and beautiful workplace I have."


More Paulette

You're going to run into Paulette more often. Not only live at the castle, but also in the Stories of Radboud Castle. As curator, she knows everything about the collection and is going to tell you more about the different pieces. What is it and why is it nice to know?