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Jan van Zanen

Jan van Zanen, burgemeester van Den Haag - foto: Martijn Beekman
Jan van Zanen, burgemeester van Den Haag - foto: Martijn Beekman

(1961) spent his youth in Edam-Volendam in the Netherlands and completed his Law studies at the Free University of Amsterdam and Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York, USA. He then went to work as board and executive secretary for a national business association, among other positions, until 1998. Van Zanen started as a city councilor in Utrecht in 1990, then became alderman for finance, economic affairs, public space and monuments in 1998. From 2003 to 2008, he served as national chairman of the VVD Dutch political party. From July 2005 to December 2013, Van Zanen was Mayor of Amstelveen and as of January 1, 2014, Mayor of Utrecht. From June 2015 to June 2023, he was chairman of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG). On July 1, 2020, Van Zanen became Mayor of The Hague.


Archive available for: Jan van Zanen

  • Writers Unlimited 2024

    Opening Night Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague

    With: Adriaan van Dis, Aminatta Forna, Burhan Sönmez, Celeste Ng, Daniëlle Zawadi, Emilienne Malfatto, Hashem Kabreet, Jan van Zanen, Jörgen Tjon A Fong, Judith Uyterlinde, Sholeh Rezazadeh

    Freedom to speak or write is important but impossible for many. The festival opened with "human voices" (the theme of this edition) from The Netherlands and beyond: a unique lineup of famous writers speaking out. This was one of those evenings of inspiration, creative thoughts and apt words that make a deep impression. Meet the authors who make their voices heard for four delightful days of this Hague festival!

    Opening Night 2024 was focused on freedom of speech and the power of literature, with appearances and readings by US author Celeste Ng, internationally one of the most-read authors with Asian roots; the British writer Aminatta Forna (The Hired Man); Adriaan van Dis, whose moving new novel Naar zachtheid en een warm omhelzen was published Fall 2023; Burhan Sönmez, author of Istanbul, Istanbul and chair of the writers organization PEN International.

    Young spoken-word artist and writer Daniëlle Zawadi from The Hague and, accompanied by percussionist Hashem Kabreet, writer and novelist Sholeh Rezazadeh gave spoken word performances.

    Host Jörgen Tjon A Fong discussed with the US novelist Celeste Ng (Our Missing Hearts) and French writer and photojournalist Emilienne Malfatto (Le Colonel ne dort pas; The Colonel Doesn't Sleep) what "human voices" means to them in relation to freedom of speech. Finally, Hague mayor Jan van Zanen kicked things off by officially opening the festival!

    The programme included the short film Monument for murdered writers and journalists 2023, a project by Theatre of Wrong Decisions, Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) and PEN International.

    Our favourite Hague bookstore De Vries Van Stockum had well-stocked tables of books for sale in the foyer of the Theater aan het Spui throughout the festival (English and Dutch language) by the authors appearing at the festival. Browse to your heart's content, and maybe the author is even present to personally sign your freshly bought book.