Jeroen is a Dutchman


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You'll meet Jeroen van Doornik as night mayor of Zwolle - a volunteer position as an advocate for Zwolle's nightlife. But Jeroen is also a graphic designer and visual artist. Under the flag of 'Markantus' he has been a creative entrepreneur for ten years now.

Photo: Frans Paalman

From Middelburg to Zwolle

42 Years ago I moved with my parents, from Middelburg to Zwolle. I am very grateful to them for that, because Zwolle is such an interesting town. Zwolle-Zuid barely existed, that's where I grew up. Actually, it was still in the middle of meadows, near the Marsbos. In the evening you could hear the cows mooing there. It wasn't really urban, of course, but just like the metamorphosis of South, the whole city has undergone a magnificent metamorphosis in recent decades. You will never hear me say, "Everything was better in the past." At most in jest.

Night Mayor

After some wanderings in various organizations as a project coordinator, I have now been night mayor of Zwolle for seven years. I do this because I love this city so much. What's not to like? Our beautiful city has a beautiful harmony between new and old. It is this contrast that makes it visually stimulating. As an artist I am always looking for contrasts. I love to use a lot of black. That may seem depressing, but I do it precisely to let the colors and thus the painting shine. If you look at my oeuvre, the colors usually pop.

Anything that excites stimulates your thoughts and creates new ideas. That's how it works with art, but that's how it works with everything. New collaborations for example, we are very good at that in Zwolle. We know how to find each other, we know how to stimulate each other. It is fertile ground in this Hanseatic city and the surrounding region. Entrepreneurship was there from an early age, perhaps it is in the DNA of Zwolle. You know the clichés: "Zwolle is like a village, but also a city", and "Everyone knows each other". In Zwolle everyone is welcome and we help each other. Together with those clichés, that has proven to be a success formula.

Smart innovations

But it doesn't stop there. Although we have enough water and canals for it, we don't just quietly babble on about the successes of the past. Here lives the desire to be ahead of the future. Smart innovations from Zwolle regularly make it to the national press. The dot is on the horizon and the journey towards it is fantastic.

I always try to marvel at the city and look at everything from a different angle. While cycling through the city I regularly look at the beautiful scenery; special facades, street patterns, how the greenery is woven through the city center or art objects. In this way it all becomes not self-evident, because self-evidence is so incredibly boring.

Look at Zwolle from a different angle with these 3 tips:

  • Go for a walk near the Oude Mars and the Zandhovebos. It is literally the edge of Zwolle with lots of nature.
  • There are many city walks to be found in Zwolle, pick your favorite walk and walk it in the dark. Some things fall away, but others stand out.
  • A round trip Zwolle walk inside the canal, so try to walk along the banks of the city canal on the paths. This succeeds almost completely, except for some spots.

#I'm a swell person

Do you see yourself as a real Zwollenaar? Do you see the ECO system in the city? Are you proud of Zwolle and do you want to tell others about your city by writing a blog? Mail us at and maybe we will contact you!

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