Tibor Elferink is a Zwolle native

'Zwolle is a wonderful city full of iconic places'

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Tibor Elferink decided after studying criminal law in Groningen that he was going to follow his heart. That brought him to the conservatory and thus to Zwolle. Besides being a musician, he is a creative producer and programmer and teaches jazz history. He is currently busy producing and programming Hanze Art Station, an urban festival in the Spoorzone, which is part of the Hanze Year program. "Zwolle is a wonderful city full of iconic places and every neighborhood has its own charms. Besides the beautiful historic city center, with the Spoorzone the city gains a new vibrant place just steps away from the city center."

Photographer: Nienke de Groot

In recent years, Zwolle has increasingly developed into a city that gives space to ambitions and new initiatives in all kinds of areas. This attracts young entrepreneurs and, as a result, more and more interesting things are happening. Whether it's cultural offerings, special accommodation options or attractive workplaces. A good climate for starting entrepreneurs and the space to experiment, research and innovate is really super important. Art, culture and knowledge exchange play an important role in this.


The development of the Spoorzone fits well into that picture. Near the historic city center, Zwolle will have a new vibrant creative place for innovative entrepreneurs, culture and education. Recently I have been contributing to that development together with an enthusiastic group of people in the ECO team (Economy, Culture and Education). From different disciplines we are working on a successful collaboration between businesses, culture and educational institutions. A very nice group of people who think from solutions and opportunities. That sounds logical, but it is not always obvious. And also very nice: this team sees the relevance and power of art and culture as self-evident. As far as I am concerned, the Spoorzone will become a kind of mini Berlin: a raw place with room for experimentation, innovation and crossovers between disciplines and sectors. Berlin is my source of inspiration. Take for example Piano Salon Christophori, a kind of piano museum and stage in an old shed in a residential area in the middle of the city. Berlin is full of surprises like that: art and culture in places you wouldn't expect.

Photographer: Tibor Elferink

Common Ground

That is also the idea behind the Common Ground Festival that is back on the calendar in October. For the second year in a row, music will then connect visitors with characteristic locations in Zwolle's city center. And there are quite a few of them. Top musicians from home and abroad will perform. In this Hanseatic year the emphasis is on performances by musicians from Hanseatic cities such as Münster, Copenhagen, Bruges and Gdansk. We program jazz, world and classical music that also appeals to younger audiences. The first sold-out edition attracted not only visitors from Zwolle but also people from other parts of the country such as Amsterdam, Wageningen, Groningen and Eindhoven. We are really proud of that.

Hanze Art Station

For Common Ground first follows Hanze Art Station. From June 30 through September 17, enjoy an urban festival atmosphere on weekends with plenty of space for art, music, theater, literature and film. This can be as a finished product or as a work in progress. In addition to the cultural offerings, there are also inspiring workshops for different age groups. There will be a completely new festival site with sea containers, a stage, a terrace, a podcast studio and an inspiration garden. Soon you will be able to walk right into the grounds at the back of the station. Then the general public will also get to know this new piece of city near the historic center.

Photographer: Raymond van Olphen_

Cycling city Zwolle

What I also really like about Zwolle is the compact nature of the city. I do almost everything by bike and if I have a gig in Zwolle, I throw my instruments in the cargo bike. From the city center or the Spoorzone I am on my electric Watt bike in ten minutes on my youngest son's schoolyard in Westenholte. Also a fine neighborhood by the way. We moved to Westenholte from Assendorp a few years ago. That feels a bit like being outside and yet living in the city. And then there will also be a new city park with an amphitheater and space for art and culture."

Tibor Elferink's top 3.

  • "The Thorbeckegracht offers so many beautiful and nice places. From Café de Tagrijn to Thai restaurant Bai Yok. Medieval towers, ships and warehouses, all have something unique, a narrow staircase to the top or weird hatches to underground cellars. I regularly walked around here with American jazz musicians who came to Zwolle for a concert or master class at the Conservatory. They were amazed."
  • "The Spoorzone, the location of Hanze Art Station, will grow into the new bustling heart of Zwolle in the coming years, but there are already some very nice places. Like Perron038: a hall with various spaces for the innovative manufacturing industry. Or the Bookcafé, a cozy coffee bar and English bookstore with new and used books."
  • "When I bike from home or the Spoorzone toward downtown, I usually enter the city through the Museum Quarter. Under the watchful eye of the Fundatie, I then cycle into the new and hip Bennies in the Basis. A little further on is Zwolle's smallest ice cream parlor, Lutteke, with delicious organic ice cream. For a good cappuccino I like to come to espresso bar Maling and next to museum ANNO I always get very happy with the Herman Brood Museum on the Blijmarkt."

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