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'The innovative nature of Zwolle is super cool'

Jonathan Mak is a Zwolle resident

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"Zwolle feels young and dynamic. The city is innovative and knows very well what the needs of residents and visitors are. I feel like I'm part of that vibe. In Zwolle you are surrounded by enterprising people who want to make something of it. That's contagious," says filmmaker and teacher Jonathan Mak. His brand film that he made last year for Hanseatic City Zwolle went completely viral. Soon he will launch three trailers for a national campaign for Zwolle Marketing and he is also making a brand video for Congresregio Zwolle about business meetings in Zwolle.

My Zwolle

"I got incredible reactions to that first film. It feels like everyone has seen it. Jinek paid attention to it and on social media more than a hundred thousand people watched the video. Really bizarre. What I like about the film is that it also triggered something in the people of Zwolle. I've mainly shown my Zwolle and that appears to be the Zwolle of many people. That sense of connection is very cool.

Genuine Zwolle inhabitant

I was born in Veenendaal and grew up in Almelo. I didn't really know anything about Zwolle. I came to the city purely for the Calo study. That step felt like a new start. In Zwolle I met friends, went to the gym and very quickly built up a little world around me. I felt at home very quickly. After fifteen years I am a real Zwolle resident. The city has also developed a lot in that time. An awful lot has happened. I feel very strongly that I want to stay in Zwolle and I can't think of a single reason why I would leave Zwolle.

Living in the center

During my studies I lived in Holtenbroek. After I got a job, I bought an apartment at the Blijmarkt. I had a great time there. You could walk to the theater and the catering industry and on Saturdays to the market. When my girlfriend and I moved to Wipstrik I thought I would miss the city centre very much, but that wasn't so bad. Living in the Wipstrik is wonderful and we often visit the center. The market walk is still a regular thing, but now we have to cycle for ten minutes.

Lecturer and filmmaker

After my studies I started working as a teacher of Sport & Movement at Landstede. Then I discovered that I enjoy filming a student doing a somersault at least as much as helping him do it. I always made films at school camps and other activities. You should do something with that...', I was told more and more often. Five years ago I registered with the Chamber of Commerce and since then I have been developing in the creative field. Meanwhile, I still work in education, but I am no longer in the classroom. At Landstede I get a lot of freedom and I can put my creativity to good use.

Telling stories

For Landstede I mainly tell the story of the school to new students. Telling stories is what I love doing anyway. In my films, the person is always central. And I like to touch people. There has to be at least a two-second goosebump moment. I don't like to stage anything, a film has to be real. That's why the video about Zwolle was a success: I tell my story about Zwolle and portray real Zwolle people.

Personal character

I love the sobriety and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Zwolle people. I think it's a cliché that this city is a big village, but I do like the personal character. If I recommend a good baker to someone, I tell them to go to 'Arend' and not to 'the city baker'. It's the same with me: I'm not Mak Media, but Jonathan. I also think collaboration is typical of Zwolle. It's very easy to get something off the ground here and that's why I like to work with other creatives in Zwolle. The city moves along with the newest needs.

A top week in Zwolle

Zwolle has a lot to offer. Just look at the artists who perform in Hedon or in the theaters. I think it is well thought out whether the programming fits the image of the city. I also like to be outside the city. I love going round Zwolle cycling or rollerblading. Then you come across so much.... From sleek design villas to a stork's nest in the countryside. Making a shortlist of what you absolutely must see in Zwolle is a piece of cake. My parents-in-law stayed in our house last summer. I made a similar list. Really, those people experienced an absolute top week."

Top 3 by Jonathan Mak

  • "I do a round of the market every Saturday. And then I get groceries at some regular specialty stores and do a coffee in town. For my trade I also like to come to Photo Hans Keuzekamp. I always leave Hans a little wiser.
  • What the Vondelpark is to Amsterdam, the Weezenlandenpark is to Zwolle. I love going there, especially in the summer. Then I throw a ball or visit the Park Pavilion. I think the park is also a very nice place for tourists."
  • "I like to visit the theater and the movie house. I used to live opposite Odeon. Then I would walk across the street after a show and I was back home."

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