April 3, 2018 Former Meet Berlagian Turned Chef: Meet Berend-jan

"I really liked what Felix (the founder of Meet Berlage) was creating, and I wanted to be a part of it. Working at Meet Berlage made it clear to me that the hospitality industry was the right industry for me.”

Ever since borrowing his mom’s cookbook in school and creating festive dishes for his friends and housemates, Berend-jan discovered his love for cooking great meals.

After spending two years as the Meet Berlage host, where he was responsible for food + beverages and ensuring guest satisfaction, he eventually decided to escape the big city to pursue his cooking ambitions — he headed east to Hellendoorn, where he found a job at a local restaurant.

“Living in Hellendoorn was really the opposite of my Amsterdam life, but I think I needed to move out of the city to really find what I wanted to do in life,” he said. “I love being around nature, something I missed a lot in Amsterdam. Being in touch with nature makes life go by a  little bit slower and more in balance. In Amsterdam, everything was always 'on' and in a continuous rush."

When the now Zwolle resident learned of the English trend of converting old, vintage horse trailers into mobile kitchens and bars, he knew exactly what his next project would be. He eventually made his dream a reality: Berend’s Bar is his very own food catering service, right out of the back of a horse trailer.


“I met quite a lot of really great people at Meet Berlage,” he said. “It’s a vibrant work environment for people that don’t want to work at home, but instead want to meet other entrepreneurs. By doing so, it creates this nice atmosphere of work and networking under the same roof.”

“There is a lot of coffee drinking and exchange of ideas around the lunch table. This makes it a nice place to work and meet new entrepreneurs who might be able to help you with something or connect you to new people. For me, this resulted in meeting my girlfriend at Meet Berlage who now lives with me in Zwolle. Serendipity in optimal form!”

Today, Berend-jan is busy living his dream: cooking local, seasonal dishes for festivals, private parties, corporate events and more. To learn more about Berend-jan’s cool business, visit