Travel with Arie Voordouw – Biological Safety Officer at Amsterdam UMC

NS International travels together with a number of business travellers. How do these travellers spend their travel time and what does travelling mean to them? This episode, we travel with Biological Safety Officer at Amsterdam UMC - location AMC, Arie Voordouw.

Arie, where are we going today?

“We're going to Basel. My European professional association organises an annual 4 or 5-day conference, including courses. As a Biological Safety Officer and Environmental Safety Officer in Amsterdam UMC, it’s my responsibility to supervise the (bacterial) safety of research laboratories. Together with a team of 2 direct colleagues and 24 departmental Biological Safety Officers, I oversee how everything can be researched as safely, sterile and accurately as possible in the laboratories based on the protocols and legal requirements that we draw up.

“The conferences are held in various cities such as Florence, Manchester, Ghent, Vienna, Lille and, this time, Basel. I prefer to travel by train, so I took the train to 8 of the 12 conferences.”

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So, the train runs like a thread through your working life?  

“Yes, if I have to travel for work, I always try to do it by train. I try to be environmentally conscious. I don't own a car, and I'm used to cycling and travelling longer distances by public transport. I find the train a pleasant way to travel because you experience more peace and quiet. It’s an ideal way for me to daydream. Travelling by rail can be called a form of meditation.

"On the other hand, it's also nice to be able to work in a focused way. If possible, I prefer to travel first class; it’s always quieter there. Often it doesn't cost much more, and, if you're lucky, there’s also extra service like a mini-bar. During the trip to Copenhagen, I could get a cup of tea or coffee around the corner of the carriage - instant coffee, that is. But still, pretty nice.

“I've been travelling by train with my family for years. It’s wonderful to look outside and see the landscape change. You prepare yourself for somewhat longer travel time, but you often arrive in the heart of the city or place where you need to be. You don't have to wait for your luggage or take a shuttle bus and drive for an hour.”

"I think it's ideal to spend the night on the train. I always call it a ‘hotel on wheels.'"

Do you ever combine work with a vacation?  

"For sure. If possible, my wife will come with me. These conferences often take 4 to 5 days; it's nice to hang around for a few more days. That way, we enjoyed the beautiful city of Vienna, and we combined Manchester with Wales. If we can also take the night train, I’m very pleased. I love spending a night on the train. I always call it a ‘hotel on wheels.' Ideally, it will save you another night in a hotel! It's a shame that there are no longer many night trains from the Netherlands."

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Do you have any travel rituals? 

"In addition to focusing on, for example, the preparation of courses, I also like to relax. In that case, I like to read a book or take a nap. Yes, that’s where sleeper train comes in again! I enjoy being asleep most of the journey."