"I have often thought: what are we actually doing here?!"

Van Remmen 25 years: Recollections of first employees Gerri and Janine

Where Van Remmen started with an iron faith and a touch of naivety, it grew into a serious business within a few years. Gerri Riphagen and Janine Wanders witnessed Van Remmen’s growth from the very beginning as its first employees. They reflect on that time. “During my initial research, I set the place on fire.”

‘Hi Gerri’

The workday at Van Remmen UV Technology abruptly comes to a halt as the door opens. People rise from their desks and walk towards the woman cautiously sliding in. There are hugs, kisses, and cakes appear on the table. “Welcome back, dear Gerri,” they say. Gerri covers her mouth with her hands. The first employee of Van Remmen is back at the old nest. And that’s more touching than she expected. “Oh gosh, I’m getting all emotional.”

Part of the family

That’s not surprising, as Gerri – now 68 years young – saw most of the employees here grow up. Sometimes quite literally. “I started working here when the office was still in a bedroom, Dorien was a toddler, and Wessel had just been born. I did some administration, packed boxes, there was no job description, but there was always something to do. I also babysat the children when Ton and Véronique had to be away. That’s how I became not only integrated into the company but also into the family.”


As the first employee, Gerri witnessed Ton’s wild idea of greening the world with reliable UV disinfection become a reality step by step. The office in the bedroom turned into an upstairs floor, and that one sold UV reactor became a warehouse full. Moreover, Ton assembled a team of bright minds that elevated the UV systems to a higher level. One of those team members was Janine Wanders, then still a graduating Environmental Technologist, who had no idea what was in store for her.


“We were a group of pioneers. Constantly tinkering, testing, and improving. We tried everything,” Janine recalls. “I remember trying to install UV systems in showerheads, so you’d never have to worry about Legionella again. In my first independent test, I tried to treat air with UV, and the test setup got so hot that a piece of filter caught fire. Sometimes it yielded something, sometimes not. I often thought: what are we actually doing here?! But Ton involved me in everything and gave me all the space. That was really beautiful.”

Honest products

And they were indeed doing something. Because from all those tests and trials emerged innovations that made UV technology more reliable than ever. “We perfected our systems so that the water flow, UV intensity, and power consumption were precisely tuned. That made our systems demonstrably effective, under all circumstances. In practice, not just on paper. That certainty of safe disinfection was unique.” It reinforced their belief in UV as a sustainable technology of the future. “We can prove that we have an honest product, which truly contributes to cleaner and safer water. I’m proud of that.”


Gerri and Janine still see that pioneer spirit from back then. Sure, departments emerged within the company and modern phenomena like part-time work, marketing visions, and daddy days arose, but the soul of Van Remmen is actually unchanged. “The people who work here are intrinsically motivated and go the extra mile for each other,” says Gerri. Janine adds, “And the curiosity and investigative attitude are still the same. Everyone is welcome to participate, contribute to new ideas and we always to it together. Within the company, but also beyond. That warmth and connection fit Ton, and therefore also Van Remmen.”

The future

Both still feel at home on Hooglandweg. Even now that Gerri has been retired for 5 years. “That personal touch, that warmth, that’s what makes this company very special. Whether they were beautiful or sad moments, they were always there.” And those children she once babysat, they are now shaping the future of the company. “It’s beautiful to see that the next generation is now ready to take over if Ton wants to take a step back.” Janine hopes to be a part of it for a long time. And together, they aim to change the world a little bit. “That attitude of involving everyone, collaborating, and encouraging others to create new solutions is something we can use well. I hope that in the coming years, we can spread that culture among our partners, customers, and other organizations. This way, we can make a difference not only with our products but also with our culture.”