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A chat with Nanja van Rijsse

Movers & Shakers

Portrait of Nanja van Rijsse, co-founder of Women Skate the World.

A chat with Nanja van Rijsse

Passionate √ resilient √ empowered √ ... This mover/shaker is cooler than an ice cream on a hot day. Through combining skateboarding with education, and creating safe spaces for women and lgbtqi+, Nanja van Rijsse is working on a better world. She co-founded Women Skate the World, a charity that is working to inspire, engage and empower communities through the magical world of skateboarding. We caught up with Nanja this month to chat about Women Skate the World (and as always, garden gnomes too).


Penta: What do you think of garden gnomes? 

Nanja: I used to be pretty neutral about them, until one time I visited a friend’s parents’ home, who were avid collectors of garden gnomes. Seriously, there was not one gnome-free spot in that house. Since then, I’ve grown to be a little worried about garden gnome fans.


P: Where do you feel most at home? Where is your ‘hood? 

N: The streets of Amsterdam! I’ve moved around quite a lot, and I’m happy anywhere, as long as there is good coffee, some nature and a skate park nearby.


P: Tell us about a project that is keeping you busy in this period. 

N: For Women Skate the World we’re working on a project called NEW WAVE, which is basically an event series for women and the lgbtqi+ community, inviting them to come skate & create. We hope to expand the events to skate parks all over the country soon!


P: Who are your role models? 

N: The girls I teach skateboarding to! As young teenagers, people don’t always listen to them, but their take on the world is super inspiring and they always crack me up during the lessons.


P: You have ten seconds to tell our readers why they should check you out. 

N: If before today you’ve never considered skateboarding as something that could radically change the world for good, you better give us a follow on Instagram!


P: Who is the last person you called? 

N: Haha! My partner, to FaceTime with our kitten; Mr Mouse.


P: Pizza or burgers? 

N: Burgers, 100%.

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