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Aaf Brandt Corstius | How working at Folia ruined us for life

Aaf Brandt Corstius,
12 oktober 2023 - 12:28
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Folia exists exactly 75 years on October 13. Reason for a special paper edition, that will be presented Thursday afternoon. In the coming weeks we will publish articles from the magazine online. Like this column by Aaf Brandt Corstius, who began her journalistic career at Folia.

The people I worked with at Folia – many of whom became, and have remained, good friends – always say to each other that working at Folia ruined other jobs for us for life.

Certainly this was the case in the late 90s, when the UvA coffers were still overflowing and it was quite common at the editorial office to say something like ‘the three of us have to go to New York for an important interview’ and we had an entire newspaper at our disposal and got to do an enormous amount of work every week. Under the most luxurious circumstances imaginable. From a gritty, smoke-filled editorial office in a dilapidated canal house – oh the glamour!


For most of us it was our first job, especially for those of us who started as an apprentice editor (which was a paid position!). At the time, you think it’s the most normal thing in the world to have really fun colleagues, with whom you always work ‘overtime’ (i.e. dinner in the Utrechtsestraat, at the company’s expense) the night before a deadline, for meetings always to be a silly affair (that one colleague who put ‘students who kill other students’ on a list of ideas, without even knowing whether that had every happened), to have a paid twelve-week holiday, for drinks parties to go completely off the rails, and then to casually move on from that job to some job at one of the national broadsheets.

“At any rate, the job at Folia spoiled me for life. The only solution turned out to be life as a freelancer”

Yup – we thought it was all perfectly normal. Including that we got to sleep in. And were allowed to come and go as we pleased. As long as we submitted good articles or pieces – and produced a reasonable amount of text, at any rate.


The next job I had, at a glossy fashion magazine, was the exact opposite of Folia. My comings and goings were very much monitored, one step shy of having to clock in and out. And I wasn’t supposed to type the extraordinary amounts of words that I was used to submitting at Folia, because it was a monthly magazine and there was little room for text due to the enormous number of photographs.


In the time thereafter, I equally never had a permanent job again in which I was given so much trust, freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted and what I was good at. Maybe it had to do with Sjaak Priester, who was the editor-in-chief during my time at Folia, maybe it was the relaxed, university setting, or maybe it was 90s.


At any rate, that job spoiled me for life. The only solution turned out to be life as a freelancer. But that means that you don’t get to have silly meetings and pull half-drunk all-nighters. Well, I guess you can do the latter – but not with a group of the funniest people in Amsterdam.


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