About Nol van Schaik.
After years of collecting all press-articles about the Willie Wortel Workshop and its founder, Nol van Schaik, we were actually overwhelmed by the amounts of press both Willie and Nol had gathered, from all parts of the world. We decided to finally scan most of these articles, so we could make them available online.
We started with the Dutch press, which consists of way more articles than the 135 we display, as they were covering topics that were placed in more local or national newspapers and magazines. We added some English translation and explanations to the Dutch press chronicle, to enable international readers to follow the order of events from the time Nol started a career in cannabis.
We hope you enjoy this site, which we dedicate to our mentor for 12 years now: Nol van Schaik, the founder of the Willie Wortel cannabisshops in Haarlem, the Netherlands.
Marcel Dekker, Willie Wortel’s Dope Manager, since 1991.
Maruska de Blaauw, Willie Wortel’s House Decorator and barmanager, since 1991.
With the kind help of Carla van Heijningen, Nol’s sister.
Nol’s ‘birth-tile’, a custom in Holland, those days, to report the time of birth, etc.
Nol van Schaik was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on June 23, 1954, in the house of his grandparents to his mother’s side, his birth was not exactly well planned.
Nol was the first born of the seven children that his parents eventually brought forth, consisting of five boys and two girls, all of them blessed with good health, in body and mind.
Nol, from baby to 4 year old.
He went to school in the city, where the family had moved to when he was aged 4, the birth of his sister Carla and brother Marco turned out to be too much for the tiny house of Nol’s grandparents. They were housed in a two room apartment, with a small kitchen, stashed away behind the City Monastery, which was still inhabited and exploited by monks, in plain cloth robes and restricted by celibacy.
The whole family slept in one bedroom, which was getting more crowded when sister Olga was born, creating an unliveable situation for all family members, in a time of crisis and poverty. They were surrounded by families in the same situation, with a lot of hungry mouths to feed and hardly any jobs available.
For Nol and his brothers and sisters it was not unusual to be eating with the neighbours for a few days, in case their parents could not provide for that, the neighbours came to eat with them when they ran out of money and luck in return.
After the family moved to a bigger house, in a the north part of Haarlem, Nol went to high school in the street he lived, doing good in everything but music classes. When he was 15, and about to enter his last year in school, his father ended up with a cripple leg, after he was caught up in a bar brawl. Nol’s father just started his own business, a flower-vending booth, but he was not able to continue that due to his injury, so Nol was taken out of school, to keep the business running.
Van Schaik sr. made sure Nol had fresh merchandise every morning, chalked the prizes on the sidewalk, and left to quench his everlasting thirst for beer in his favourite bar. Nol was not real happy about the situation, he would rather have stayed in school, but he also realised that the whole family was relying on the money from the flower business. His father did not really pay him for his hours, he was still on the same amount of pocket money he had before he started working in the ‘family business’.
Nol figured out a way to make an income, without being dishonest, by making himself some kind of intermediate for his Dad’s business and the customers. He made sure he knew all the prizes of the different bouquets, and then wiped away the chalked figures in front of the flower buckets. He knew the difference between the regulars and the ‘drop-ins’, the regulars would ask for the prizes first, Nol would serve them for the prizes his Dad made up. He had a smart system for non-regulars, especially if they ordered right away, he would ad one guilder to the original prize, and kept that ‘commission’ for himself. This way he was not skimming from his Dad, and the customer would never notice it, they just paid the amount Nol charged.
The relationship between Nol and his father was never really good, the main reason Nol took on another job after a year and a half, his sister Carla was next in line to sell flowers.
He volunteered for the Dutch Navy when he was just 16, and was accepted, after a thorough physical and mental test, taking three days. He signed up for 6 years, with a 3-month trial period, after which he would sign for the rest of the tour, if both parties agreed on doing so.
Even though the Navy wanted to sign him on, Nol did not see his future in the radar-room he was destined for, as a plotter, he did not sign, and went back to normal life.
He had all kinds of jobs, mainly in construction, for the next couple of years, he picked up a lot of manual skills in doing so, by changing jobs whenever he felt like it.
Nol on a roof, after taking off the old roof tiles, making him look real dirty.
He became a foreman in construction in 1977, when he was 23, and joint in marriage with Ria, his long time fiancé, that same year.
Together, they have two children, their daughter Silvia, born in 1978, and their son Ferry, born in 1981. Ria and Nol are no longer together, since 1995, but they still maintain a friendly and business relationship now.
Nol started working out in the first real weight lifting gym a year before, making fast progress in strength, his body was already used to hard, physical labour for years. Lifting weights, together with his younger brother Marco, became a passion instead of a hobby, Nol started to compete in Power lifting, and made it to Dutch National Bench-press Champion in 1978.
Nol at 27, preparing for the Mr.North_Holland competition, he won his class.
He started working as an instructor in the gym he joined three years ago, after it moved to a bigger location, making his hobby his profession then. He opened his own Top Shape Gym on January 31, 1981, and joined up 600 members in a year. He became the National Coach for the Dutch Bodybuilding Federation in 1983, and came up with the first ever Dutch World Champion, his friend and training partner Appie Steenbeek. Nol’s activities for the Federation were bad for business, he spent a lot of time away from the gym, which ended him in banktruptcy, and into a lot of trouble and deaths. He owed money to the bank, the tax, and to some close friends, who had helped finance his enterprise.
Nol opened another, smaller gym, to try to make money to pay his friends first, who he had to face every day, explaining them he would pay them as soon as he could. It did not work, the small gym was enough to make a modest living, but it made no profit at all.
He joined the Haarlem Hawks American Football team in 1986, together with some of his biggest students and his brother Marco, who was a regular cannabis for years. Nol did not smoke, but he started on the first bus trip with the Haarlem Hawks, after he got stoned by just being in the bus, surrounded by 39 puffin teammates…
The Haarlem Hawks in practice, Nol wears the green shirt, nr. 80.
The banks, finance companies and tax-bailiffs slowly gave up chasing Nol, as soon as he was officially declared bankrupt, but his friends were there every day, sking for what was rightfully theirs.
Instead of trying to solve the problems any other way, Nol ended up committing two armed robberies, to be able to come up with the money for his deaths. He was arrested after the second robbery, the Court convicted him to four years in prison in 1987. He was released after 32 months in prison, but he got in trouble sooner than he wanted.
He got involved in a hash-smuggling adventure, from Morocco to the Netherlands, a day after his release, but the trip back ended at the Spanish-French border, where French Customs Officers accidentally found the hash, and arrested the escort, including Nol, within weeks after his release in Holland. Nol managed to fight himself a way out before the handcuffs were laid on him, injuring a couple of Customs Officers in the process, and ran off to escape from a prison sentence in France.
He kept out of sight for a while, back in Holland, and started working construction again, the police informed him he would not be extradited, the Treaty of Straatsburg did not allow that.
He started to visit coffeeshops, and found out a few things that made him decide he could do that as well, it was a good way to make money, and the coffeeshops in Haarlem were not really professionally equipped and staffed.
Nol worked out an idea he had about a coffeeshop, on paper, and invited some friends, including Marcel Dekker, to a meeting, and asked them to team up, which some of them did. The meeting resulted in the birth of Willie Wortel’s Workshop, a camouflaged coffeeshop, the 22nd in Haarlem.
Willie Wortel’s soccerteam, 1995.
The press articles from Holland and other parts of the world will tell you the rest of Nol van Schaik’s career in cannabis, coffeeshops and conflicts.
Nol is a grandfather nowadays, his daughter Silvia, and Virgil, his son in law, have produced two beautiful grandchildren, Nigel, 4 years old, and Chelsea, 15 months old.
Ferry has a girlfriend, Jody, but they have no plans to start a family, yet.
Silvia and Ferry do not smoke, no tobacco, no cannabis, Virgil did smoke, but he quit, he only smokes a joint when he samples new merchandise.
Copyright by Maruska and Marcel