Face to face: Wieteke Zwama

When I interviewed Wieteke Zwama, she was ready for GrootHeerenveen’s photographer, Mustafa Gumuso. Buying something new for a photo shoot wasn’t an option, but for Wieteke, that’s not a problem. “Look, I got this shirt from a friend. And this skirt is left over from the clothes exchange event. Super fun, isn’t it?”

between and wight

Pien en Wiet call themselves online. They inspire each other and their followers on their Instagram account; Wieteke of Heerenveen; Karina from Leeuwarden. “Kareena and I are exactly alike. We are both adventurous and both have a desire to be creative alongside our work. We both feel the itch to do something useful. Changing the world seems big, but we want to contribute. We heard and read more and more about what goes wrong with the environment and climate. Then we sent Text each other: Let’s do something with it. We’re just starting small with our research. How can we improve our lives in small steps?”

in the trash

Not everyone will immediately share this quest for sustainability with the rest of the world. Karina Wytek says: “I love writing, Karina is so good at marketing, we can set something up quickly. It’s always been our desire to do something together. That’s why we loved sharing our research more widely, especially via Instagram. How great it would be if we could bring together thoughtful people.” Similar together and inspiring each other. This is how Sus was born. Of course, the word “sus” has a double meaning: it means that we are sisters and “sustainability.”

Previously, sustainability wasn’t something Wieteke thought much about. “I love shopping; clothes, but especially a lot of knick-knacks. Things for the house, or toys, they are all very cheap and accessible. Especially since I have children, many things come to my house. Many items also quickly ended up in the trash, Because it breaks quickly again. The book’How do we explain this? It was a real eye opening for me. Our parents did not consume much. But we continue to buy, because it does not cost more. How will we explain this to our children? We are the generation that needs to change things up.”


Wieteke makes a strict decision: she will not buy anything for a year. “No, not used, absolutely nothing. I just need a reset. It suits me strictly. Before the year started, I was about to have a panic attack at the idea, I wanted to stock everything quickly. But now, Six months later, I think it makes perfect sense. I realize that this is also a luxury issue. Many people don’t have that choice at all. Sometimes I feel ashamed of our prosperity.” There are exceptions here and there: you still buy really necessary clothes and shoes for children, and an eyebrow pencil is also necessary.

She is now quite accustomed to her new purchasing policy. “It took a while to get used to it, but now I don’t want it any other way. The Hema was one of my biggest weaknesses. My basket was always full: with notebooks, things for the house, clothes for girls off the shelves…Now I just went through it.” And this is actually delicious. It’s also clear to girls: We simply don’t buy anything. At the flea market I scored gifts for everyone. It’s unbelievable what beautiful things you can get there. An open world for me. We all have so many things together What am I missing? My sneakers are really starting, and this is the first thing I will buy.”


Thanks to her new project, Wieteke can change a few outfits every once in a while. In Heerenveen I started with the changing bag or ‘swap bag’. The bag follows a consistent path along all participants. Everyone puts on a few pieces of clothing they no longer wear and takes something different from them. This way you can still feel the satisfaction of owning something new again, while you don’t have to shop around. We already have a lot together. If you share with each other, you simply have enough.

We started in April with eight people, most of whom are my acquaintances. I thought we’d just start and then we’ll see where the ship veers. Now there are already 22. Coincidentally, the bag is now in my house. It is difficult to choose, because there is always a lot of fun. I have now taken a nice summer blouse. So funny this belongs to my neighbor, he did a full circle, and now I have. I recently wore a dress that had been sitting in my closet unworn for years. Someone else was very happy about it. It is also good that we marked the bags according to size. This way there is a better chance that there will be something for everyone.”

clothes waste mountain

“Did you know there are thousands of kilograms of clothing on the beach in Africa? All of that could no longer be recycled and the quality was too poor to be reused. The more people buy sustainable clothing, the smaller the mountain becomes. I used to think sustainable clothing Expensive. But now I know the opposite is true: regular clothes are very cheap.”

The church exploded

Seuss Enzo’s first event was a clothing exchange event. “A lot of profit can be made in the garment business, because the industry is very polluted. That’s why this was our first event: 25 women took clothes to Swichum Church, under the leadership of Leeuwarden. First, there was an inspirational presentation on the garment industry, and then it was from Possible interchange. The church had exploded, the clothes were everywhere. In the end, everyone came home with a bag full of new things. That was so much fun. We definitely want to do it again.”

sustainable wedding

There are already plans for new events, including one very special: Karina’s wedding. “My sister is getting married in Vlieland. We think it would be great to turn this into a very sustainable wedding, and possibly the most sustainable wedding. We also want to involve our followers in this endeavor. There are already some ideas: invitation on agricultural waste paper, used wedding dress, dinner With local produce.And no balloons of course.I think it would be fun to explore it all.We also want to organize a “Long-Term Local Lunch”.Information and inspiration about real local food, don’t roar, also preferably something with wild picking. And maybe even one Beach cleaning. Lots of ideas! “


With Sus enzo the sisters try to join in Sustainable Development Goalsthe 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. “Eliminating poverty is also one of those goals. I would also like to do something about it. I already have a book-sharing cupboard; and my idea is also to make a cupboard with food. People who have something left over, like pasta or soup, can Put that out there. And people who need it can take it out. I think that’s a very simple way to do something good. We live here in Skoatterwâld on a major bike path, so a lot of people pass here.”


“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi’s statement is a mantra to me: it sometimes seems as if you can’t exert any influence. Especially now that something as big as the war in Ukraine is going on. But I hear regularly that I inspire others with my actions. So my small contribution becomes a kind of oil slick that spreads. What I’m doing makes sense.”

Photo: Mustafa Gumuso / F

Text: Hana Zandbergen

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