According to Mariëlle, Twente has the best of everything

'Excellent career opportunities and a beautiful living environment as the icing on the cake.'

Love brought her back to Geesteren, the same church in which she grew up. She started her career in the country's west, never expected to return to her native country, but enjoys to be back. "I think we all need to be more aware of what we have here," says Mariëlle. "Honestly, now that I've been gone and been back, I realise it better myself, but still: how lucky we are here! Plenty of career opportunities and, as the icing on the cake, a beautiful living environment."


In short

  • Mariëlle Smit uit Geesteren is de kersverse HR-directeur Nederland van de Urenco Groep. Denken in mogelijkheden is haar specialiteit.
  • Amsterdam stal tijdens haar studie Personeel & Arbeid haar hart. Ze is nog steeds dol op de hoofdstad, maar voelt zich bevoorrecht dat ze weer werkt en woont in haar eigen Twente.

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This article is part of the series 'Twente Lives!' Here you can read personal stories about living, working and living in Twente. According to the talents we speak, it is good to be in Twente. The beautiful nature, the space, the down-to-earth mentality; all things that characterise Twente. Also, there are career opportunities! Twente has many innovative, international and future-proof companies that are crying out for staff. Want to know what Twente offers? Read the story of Mariëlle Smit below. 

When talking to Mariëlle, you will soon notice that she is an active and enthusiastic person. She thinks her profession is the most beautiful thing because, she says, Human Resources perfectly combines working with people and contributing to business goals. At Urenco, where she has been working since 2018, she is completely in her place. Last year she led the global Culture Programme from England. On Monday she flew to London, on Thursday evening back, and on Friday she worked at home.


"A top project," she thinks, which ended abruptly because of the coronavirus. "Suddenly, they have denied me to fly back to England. All my stuff was still in my apartment. I had even made soup for Monday after work! Someone packed everything there, and sent it here." They have now transferred the programme to a successor in England, and Urenco asked Mariëlle to become Head of Human Resources for Urenco Netherlands. "A great career step that excites me. Empowering people to take the company to the next level... I'm looking forward to it."


Fresh perspective

"Urenco is a great company," she says. "I love the international playing field, and I like that my voice matters. I've always liked that as well with my previous employers, like Unilever. I think the culture differs from some smaller companies. Worldly and essential themes such as Diversity & Inclusion and Sustainability have a permanent place on the agenda. This not only creates employment opportunities for, for example, someone like me, an ambitious, working mother, but it also allows me to make a difference and add value. I get to live my purpose and maybe pave the way for young, ambitious girls and boys after me. They did not ask me whether working full time as a mother is possible with a family. I have an 8-year-old son, Ot. He thinks it's perfectly normal for his mother to work full time. His father, Ronny, too."



It was Ronny who made Mariëlle decide to return to Twente. “Amsterdam, where I have always had a great time, lost its shine a little because I had lost my first husband. The city is vibrant and there’s always something to do, but in the end, it turns out that you live an anonymous life there."


A time after her husband died, Mariëlle visited her mother in Tubbergen. "She thought I should go out again. I did that with some girlfriends I still had here. To the Koale fairground in Ootmarsum, just like before. That's where I met Ronny. Finally, we lived together here, in Geesteren."


I never thought so, but she doesn't regret it for a second. "Living in Twente is fantastic. The beautiful nature alone! Vasse, Ootmarsum, the Jumping Valley, magnificent. I feel like a lucky guy. Our son can walk to school himself, cycle to training. Here in Twente, people look after each other. They help and surround the elderly."

Always on top

"From a business point of view, we have wonderful tech companies here that are not inferior to companies from the Randstad. Urenco is of a course on top, but how about, for example, Demcon, Panalytical or Unilever's Ben & Jerry's? There are enough innovative companies to enable our region to develop. The people who live and work here have that opportunity as well. We have a region full of potential."
She sums up what she thinks about living and working in Twente beautifully: "Other people come here for a weekend or a week to recharge so they can get back on their toes. I'm already charged, just by being here."


URENCO Nederland

Drienemansweg 1
+31 (0)546 545 454

Global Goals

Date: 23 November 2020 |

Source of tekst: Urenco |

Author: Maaike Thüss