From tight in a suit, to floating in De Kuierlat. Marc Storms did what many people only dare to dream of. He made the big switch in his career that has now brought him De Kuierlat. As a guide Marc tells you everything about what nature in Tilburg has to offer. A born Roermonder, but now a top Tilburger with a predilection for Moerenburg and Piushaven.
Photo: Camiel Donders
Meet Marc Storms. He may be a born Roermonder, but not so long ago he celebrated his 52nd birthday in Tilburg. 'This year I live in Tilburg for the first time longer than I did in Roermond, so now I feel like a Tilburg citizen. Tilburg has now really become my home city.'
Business or casual?
Where the daily dresscode used to business, it is now very casual and free. Marc started his career in financial services. After Marc stopped his economic studies at Tilburg University, he started a business training at Interpolis. 'The reason I quit this course is because I found out that I am not a student who sits behind the books without this being in line with my daily work. That was very different at the training. What I learned was directly applicable in my work.' Marc started at Interpolis Roermond, but white-blue was soon exchanged for the Tilburg blue-yellow of Interpolis Tilburg and VGZ Tilburg. 'So I worked in financial services for about 20 years. At the office, in a suit, very different from today.' But this was not where his heart was. 'Halfway through my 40th year I asked myself if this was what I wanted to do for more than 20 years. Maybe I wanted to do something I liked? That's what I did.' And here he is. A happy and free man, since 7 years owner of De Kuierlat. April 1st De Kuierlat celebrates his 7th birthday!
From idea to reality
Marc grew up in Roermond city, but has always had an interest in nature. His father was chairman of a large scouting group. Marc was also one of them from the age of 4. 'At vwo (pre-university education) I had biology as my final exam subject. I always found that interesting. So it doesn't come out of the blue, but when you compare it to financial services it is really completely the other way around.'
Nevertheless, financial services did help him with the idea. 'At VGZ we had a walking club. I took care of the walks together with my then boss. Every now and then he organised a walk in Limburg and I did that in Brabant. We then took colleagues who felt like it with us for a day. Starting with coffee and cake, walking, lunch and walking again. Eventually we went for dinner somewhere. We made it a beautiful day together. I had the idea that when it was fun for colleagues, it could also be fun for other people.' And that's how it started. The name comes from the adage: Take the slats - take the trolley. 'It doesn't exist in the singular, but that's what I made out of it.'
From De Loonse and Drunense Duinen to Moerenburg and Piushaven
'I started as a walking guide in De Loonse en Drunense Duinen. In that year that I started Moerenburg was opened as a landscape park. When I got to know Gert Brunnink, he took me to Moerenburg. We were both so impressed that we wanted to try something there too.' From that moment on the tours and walking tours of Moerenburg were born. Piushaven was the next step. When Marc got the option to rent the boats of Ontdek Tilburg he tried this for two seasons. This turned out to be such a great success that Marc eventually took the step to take over. 'So that literally came my way.' Today Marc has 1 large Canadian boat for 12 people, 5 double canoes and 3 whisper boats. One extension is on its way! 'I just bought a new boat. A second 12-person boat, so this year we have two.' So let the sun shine quickly! Great for family days, team outings, girlfriend weekends and you name it! 'A typical Tilburgs outing where you tie the beautiful things of the city together.'
Tilburgers, be surprised!
That Moerenburg was last proclaimed one of the (0)13 Happiness Spots is known to many person. What Marc says not every Tilburg citizen knows yet, is that Tilburg has such beautiful nature reserves. Marc says: 'Let yourself be surprised. Come and have a look. I especially hear from Tilburgers that they say: I didn't know Tilburg had this. That is special, because these are people who have lived in Tilburg for at least 50 to 70 years and don't know that we have a beautiful outlying area there.' Still, according to Marc, the people of Tilburg love nature. I see the reactions of the people when we are on the road. A slogan that often swings around his ears is: 'Hey, how beautiful it is here!'
What is beautiful, must remain beautiful
Marc has always turned his eyes to Piushaven. Something he would like to give to the municipality is the things he sees happening. 'At the head of Piushaven, I had to call the police 70 times in a season because of nuisance. Street drinkers, prostitution and drug deals. What I see happening here, look at that. I've never seen anything active happen to it.' Fortunately, this is getting a little less now. 'The area is developing: more residents and greater social control. It is more difficult to do your thing unseen than it was a few years ago.'
The Piushaven as the business card of Tilburg
'I would make sure it was clean at Piushaven. It's the city's calling card. It should look neat when people come there.' One thing Marc is very clear about is the fact that it should certainly not be made too beautiful. 'I often see small-scale areas, such as the Spoorzone, attract large parties that professionally shovel the area. At a certain point such a Spoorzone is really worthwhile. But then there comes the group that I call "the too beautiful makers". They want to give the area something that it is not and has never been. You shouldn't go that way. Let it be what it is, the beauty it has retained. There are very nice ideas like palm trees at Piushaven. Maybe it could be, but then I think: it's not Spain, it's Tilburg!'
What has to be done about Piushaven to make it beautiful? 'The green must be preserved. Don't mow reed beds because the owner of a café wants to offer people on the terrace a view of the water. And, let the swing bridge remain manually controlled. I understand that for some parties it is useful that you are no longer dependent on a bridge where a guard has to do everything by hand every hour, but I do understand that there are no longer 10 of them in the Netherlands. It is a piece of cultural heritage and one should cherish it.'
Unfiltered opinion of Tilburgers
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 Rob van Trier? Then you should definitely read these interviews: