Ivo is a Zwolle resident

'Zwolle has woken up in the last 25 years'

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"Zwolle developed in the past 25 years from a somewhat sleepy provincial town into a fantastic city," says Ivo de Lange. The initiator of the Herman Brood Museum on the Blijmarkt should know. He has lived in Düsseldorf, Milan and Stockholm and has traveled all over the world for his work, but he always returns to the banks of the IJssel and the Zwarte Water. He sees his Zwolle only getting more beautiful.

"In the early 1970s, I lived abroad for work. I was in the world of exclusive shoes. Then I returned, a bit out of course, to Zwolle. I was born there and family and friends lived there. I also really feel like a true Zwolle native. Although I have to say that my wife was more homely. I myself could have lived somewhere else in those days. After my return I started café The Old Inn on the Voorstraat with Leen Ripke of the band Blues Dimension in 1973 and later built up a fine business with IQ Kunstuitleen. I sold that five years ago to my son and daughter."

Herman Brood Museum

But I feel super fit and I'm not a man for the geraniums. If you sit behind that, I think you'll die quickly. 'You should start a Herman Brood Museum', advised the recently deceased Gaston Sporre to me. A great idea. As a child Herman lived a few streets away from me in the Pierik and later, as owner of IQ, I worked with him a lot. He sometimes stayed with me for a week and then he painted an incredible number of works.


Herman was a quiet, friendly and above all intelligent man. He was just attention-seeking, as he called it himself. We could have a wonderful conversation with him here now, but if you set up a camera, he would immediately turn on his head. In the museum you see a lot of his work and childhood memories of Zwolle. Each year this attracts between eighty and one hundred thousand visitors from home and abroad. Our temporary exhibitions are also popular, such as Robert Whitaker's unique Beatles photos until the end of April. Later this year we will be focusing on The Police, The Rolling Stones and Cuby and The Blizzards, which included Herman Brood, his childhood friend Hans La Faille, Helmig van der Vegte and Herman Deinum. Those guys walk in on a regular basis.

Zwolle is awake

We benefit from the popularity of De Fundatie. As far as I'm concerned a good example of the development of the city, just like De Librije, Van der Velde in de Broeren and all the innovations in the inner city. Look what's happening and what's possible here. Zwolle has become more beautiful, more accessible and more hospitable. It is teeming with festivals and events, excellent restaurants and nice pubs. Zwolle has woken up. I really love the city now.

Filled with facades

In the museum we sell the Herman Brood City Walk. Then you can discover Herman's years in Zwolle and the most beautiful places in the city. Be sure to look up, even in the shopping streets. Zwolle is full of beautiful facades. When you look at them, you can taste the atmosphere of the city. Behind those old walls is so much history. Take the Herman Brood Museum building alone. It dates from 1400 and was part of the complex of the Brothers of the Common. Joan Cele taught hundreds of students from home and abroad just down the road. Zwolle was already an attraction in those days.

Beer like water

The museum functioned as a brewery during that period. Because the beer contained hardly any alcohol, it was a safe alternative to drinking water that was often full of bacteria. I love stories like that. Even though you only get to see them after you're fifty. Young people are preoccupied with very different things. They are right. When I was young, I only thought about the girls. Later you discover the impressive history of Zwolle and nearby cities such as Deventer, Kampen and Hasselt. An incredible amount happened here in the past. You feel that when you walk through town."

The Top 3 of Ivo de Lange

  • "Zwolle is the city of squares. I like them all, but the Nieuwe Markt with its restaurants and pubs is perhaps the most pleasant. Via the Herman Broodsteeg you walk through to the Bethlehemkerkplein."
  • "Every year 450,000 people walk across the Blijmarkt. Museum de Fundatie is a great attraction: 'If it rains there, it also drips in the Herman Brood Museum,' I always say. "Also, you'll find surprising stores and a lot of beautiful facades in our street," he says.
  • "It's fantastic what Jonnie and Thérèse have been doing with De Librije for so many years now. First on Broerenkerkplein and now on Spinhuisplein. The class still drips from it."

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