The filter goes off at our new Tilburg City Photographer 2020: Hans van Dongen

| Sanne Leenders

2020 is the year in which Hans van Dongen makes his appearance as the proud city photographer of Tilburg. With this title Hans is the 3rd in the row. Before that Evi de Werd and Chris Oomes were allowed to show their work. ‘I love Chris' photographs, but they are totally different from what I do.’ With his pictures Hans says he wants to show the real Tilburg. A clear landmark without cutting, pasting or polishing. The filter comes off. Also in this new unfiltered edition. Meet Hans van Dongen.
Photo's: Thomas Boden (Drawing Light)

In daily life Hans is busy making pipes for the oil and gas industry. He does this in Eindhoven. Also a beautiful city, Hans thinks. But his heart is really sold to Tilburg. Born and raised in this city, photographed and captured. This is how Hans often travels through the city centre. On the way he always takes his compactcamera with him. ‘I walk through our beautiful city centre and come home with a lot of pictures of which maybe two are good and sometimes none at all. It's just what I see, if there is nothing to photograph I won't force it. It used to be different. When my son started playing soccer at T.S.V. LONGA and my daughter went hockey at Were Di Tilburg I liked to take pictures of them. I had bought good equipment when she quit. That was the start of my hobby. I had the equipment anyway, so why wouldn't I do anything with it?’ Modest as Hans is, he doesn't want to call it a hobby that got out of hand, because according to him it's not all that special. ‘Some people carry a backpack full of equipment with them, that's not the case with me. I always have one of the better compact cameras in my pocket, but that's all.' Well, Hans, modesty graces you, but you may step aside. City photographer Tilburg 2020 join us!

Is it all in the family?

"My one brother likes to take pictures and my dad always went out with his video camera. I bought my first Sony camera in 1999. So the hobby isn't completely strange within the family. Still, I never expected the role as Tilburg's city photographer. Now that I've received the title, I think it's great that, as a race Tilburger, I'm allowed to do something in return for the city. I don't know what I'm going to play a role in that. That depends on how it is received.’


You have to see the beauty

So Hans likes to walk, from the Piushaven to the Dwaalgebied, through the Spoorzone. ‘I love to photograph the beautiful centre of Tilburg, but I don't want to put something in scene. I like to photograph people as they are. Something a bit different from the standard, someone in his or her natural environment, that's what I like. When people see me coming with a big camera they immediately start posing and that's not what I'm looking for.’ Pure and natural people! The filter goes completely off with this photographer.

Tilburg in transition

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on the competition will have noticed that the winning photo of Hans was taken earlier in 2019. ‘At the time of taking it, I was not working on the contest, it wasn't online at that time either. It was only when I saw the call pass by that I immediately thought back to this image of a Tilburg area in transition from construction site to pearl of the city. What do I like about that transition? That the new will be replaced by the old. The Spoorzone with its halls will continue to exist with new concepts. Buildings such as Plan-T and the Clarissenhof will  appear. A mix of new and old where there is something for everyone to do. If you don't come for a year, you won’t recognise it. Just look at the Piushaven. 10 years ago there weren't that many restaurants and bars there. If you come there now, I personally think it's the nicest area of Brabant. Wherever you go, from a RAK to Villa Pastorie, it's always full.

And the houses in Tilburg are full too. ‘Starters can hardly find a nice apartment in the city. Construction is in full swing for people over 55, but it's not the starters' turn. It is scandalous what is asked for, for example, a small studio. The choice for young people is then: pay too much or stay at home longer. That's a pity. Tilburg is such a nice city for the youth! We actually have everything here, so let them stay here as well.’



Within this section we give creative Tilburgers a stage. A Ticket to... the expression of their unfiltered opinion about the city. Are you curious who also has something to say about Tilburg other than Hans van Dongen? Then you should definitely read these interviews: