Jan Briek is a Zwolle native

'Zwolle is bustling, brewing and bursting with life'

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"Zwolle is not only bustling, it's brewing. You have the feeling that there is always something in the air. Zwolle is bursting with life," says Jan Briek. The Bosch native has long felt like a true Blauwvinger. After thirty years in the hospitality industry, he has a right to speak. With The Dublin House, he fits right in with a city that is developing on all sides. And he is discovering how Zwolle is also in demand outside the city limits. "Strangely enough, I am only now noticing how many visitors and tourists come to Zwolle..."

"Since I opened The Dublin House on Bethlehemkerkplein two years ago, I experience how touristy Zwolle actually is. Many people from the region come to enjoy our offerings, as well as lots of day-trippers and weekend trippers. Zwolle has become a real attraction. When I used to own De Joffer, I didn't feel that way at all. Since we received the Entree Award for best new café with The Dublin House at the end of last year, even more visitors come to our place from all over the Netherlands. Amsterdam now sits here at the bar as well.

Beyond expectations

Those people are really very enthusiastic about Zwolle. They get much more here than they expected. Not only because Zwolle is a beautiful city, but also because of the great dynamic they experience. Everything happens here. Moreover, Zwolle people themselves have become more Burgundian. 'You drink coffee at home...' used to be a well-known saying. That has long since ceased to be the case. This is another reason why the city now has a very varied range of catering establishments. The Dublin House also fits into that development. Since the opening we are packed seven days a week.

Living room of Zwolle

That has to do with the set-up: we house four atmospheres under one roof. The Dublin House is Zwolle's living room where everyone feels at home. Whether you're a carpenter or a lawyer. And because of our international atmosphere, many foreigners come here. It strikes me every time: how many foreigners visit Zwolle or work here. Zwolle's facilities fit in very well with that. Just look at the cultural offerings of the city. I myself enjoy coming to the Fraterhuis. It would be a great asset to Zwolle if they move to a location with more halls.

Burgundian city

Zwolle is looking more and more like my hometown of Den Bosch. I came to live here when I was twelve years old. It took some getting used to, but soon I never wanted to leave. Certainly not now that Zwolle is also a Burgundian city. And the inner city has developed fantastically. When I came to live here, you could park in just about every square. Now they are all wonderful catering locations. From Grote Kerkplein and Rode Torenplein to ours, Bethlehemkerkplein and Nieuwe Markt. Seriously: you won't find much better in the Netherlands, will you?

Bethlehem church square

What I love is that we have so many good entrepreneurs in town. The special businesses are springing up like mushrooms. Just look at the offerings on Bethlehem Church Square. Together with Het Refter we are the largest pub in Zwolle and across the street in the old Bethlehem church Blue Sakura. Jeez mina, what's going on there...And then you have great restaurants like d'Andreas and BistroBar Bodega. What I say about our square, I can say about the entire downtown. Everywhere you see good catering establishments, which have the service and quality in order.

Heart for Zwolle

I have been in this business for so long now that children of people who used to work behind the bar at De Joffer work at The Dublin House. That's another way you get connected to a community. My heart lies in Zwolle. My children are also real Zwolle people who don't want to go anywhere else. For entrepreneurs like me, Zwolle is also a city where you can move around wonderfully. You feel the dynamics on all sides and you want to be part of that."

Jan Briek's top 3

  • "I definitely come to Peakz three to four times a week. That's the Zwolle location for padel, which I think is a very cool sport. You can play on eleven indoor courts and four outdoor courts there. It is also the location for the NK Padel."

  • "Practically every day I get a smoothie at Smooth Fruit Therapy on the Melkmarkt. Everything there is brand new. And I combine a visit with a city walk through downtown Zwolle. That way I have a pleasant break."

  • "Very happy I am with newcomer BistroBar Bodega on Bethlehemkerkplein. That is a small restaurant run by good hospitality people. And you notice that."

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