Marcel Kattestaart: "My wish for Tilburg in 2021? That we get out of the construction pits one day!"

| Sanne Leenders

Marcel Kattestaart, for some perhaps better known as Henri Bloem. For 24 years he has been staying with many people in Tilburg with his very wide range of wines in his winery at the Katterug. Marcel is also very involved with the city. For example, he is part of the Plan Team Public Space Tilburg, until recently he was treasurer of the Ondernemersfonds and he is street representative of the Winkeliersvereniging Tilburg centrum. Reason enough to ask Marcel to give his unfiltered opinion about Tilburg. His wish for 2021? To get out of the construction pits! You can read about that here.
Photo's: RAWCAT Media

Originally Marcel is not from Brabant. Until he was eight Marcel lived in Delft. Later he moved with his mother to Geldrop where he finished elementary school. The passion for wine came when Marcel's neighbor introduced him with a glass of wine. "The neighbor said that there was a vacancy at Henri Bloem in Eindhoven. At that moment they were eager for a new employee and that's how I started. In the end, I worked there as a manager for sixteen years and learned a lot about different wines, but my passion really lies with Italian wines."

The perfect gift for under the Christmas tree

After 16 years of loyal service in Eindhoven, it was time for Marcel to open his own business in Tilburg. "In Tilburg, a unit was released under the Kattenrug. It was easily accessible and therefore suitable for my own business! By now we are already here for 24 years and we have established 2 more units. The business now houses about 300 different Italian wines, about 1300 different types of wine and 100,000 bottles in total! Enough choice for a Christmas gift!" A tip from Marcel: get a nice box with 6 bottles of delicious port for €17,50,- or a good bottle of champagne so you can still pop a little with old and new. Everything can be ordered through the webshop and of course through the Binnenstad Bezorgt Service. So, if you order before Christmas 15:00, it will be delivered the same day for free. That is convenient!

Winter in Tilburg

Back to the developments in the city. The winter in Tilburg of course looks a bit different than we had hoped. The shopping centers are almost empty and Christmas is celebrated in a very small circle. Nevertheless, the city continues to renew itself continuously. The Frederikstraat is open, the Emmapassage is under construction and also the town hall is in the final phase. What does Marcel think of all these developments? "In the beginning, I was still a bit skeptical about the renovation of the Emmapassage. I thought: 'Once again the whole city is in turmoil. We are now in the fourth year of the renovation of the town hall, so I would be happy if all the garbage in front of the business would be gone. Now I think this is a good improvement for the inner city and that this will eventually become an important location because of the walk-through from the Emmapassage. The row of existing stores will also get an upgrade. This way we will get high glass fronts and the canopy will be gone. So I have to rebuild about half the store, but it will look better in the end."

More green, more water

"From my role within the Plan Team Public Space, we have managed to create more green space in the city center, such as the little square near the Primark, but also the eventual Stadsforum. We also fought to bring water back into the city. Water gives space and it is playful." And with great success! In a few weeks, you will find a real water wall at the Primark. "What I also find very important in the city is that you can take a rest somewhere on a bench. People don't always want to have to sit in restaurants for a drink. Many city visitors just want to sit on a bench like they used to. The fact that most of the benches are gone now, I think, is a shortcoming."

Stadsforum, cut into the city ring and the Turning House. How about it?

We now know that Tilburg is going to change, but what is the latest update and how long will it take? Marcel tells us that everything is going to take at least a few more years until it is finished. "It will all take far too long, but then you will have an improvement! The market will no longer be on the Koningsplein but on the new Stadsforum. There should also be room for events here in the future. As far as I'm concerned, Tilburg really is the frontrunner in the field of events. At the moment, the municipality is still discussing the cut in the city ring. In the spring of 2021 this plan will become final. I would also like it to go a little faster. We are finally on a reasonable line, but it still has to be built. Tilburg will remain a construction site for the time being, unfortunately."

My wish for Tilburg in 2021 is..

"Let's get out of that construction site! We have been in it for years and that will not change for the time being. But, such a construction site also delivers positive things, such as the Spoorzone with the Most Beautiful Building in the World and certainly also Piushaven with D'n Ophef. Superbly beautiful, also super expensive. And while we're on the subject of D'n Ophef, do you know who designed the Turning House? That's right, that same architect." If Marcel, in his own words, is annoyed by something, it's that 'art object'. We'll put it in quotes, because according to Marcel it's absolutely not art: "It's empty, it's bare and it serves absolutely no purpose. The same was true for the Love Boat in Piushaven. The lights were always broken and now it's gone. What did that cost in the end? I think that's a waste of money! I think it's better to spend the money on the greenery in the city center, such as the construction of green roofs which is happening here now. As a municipality, I would pay attention to that. And those crazy art objects... well, then take Tilburg artists and keep it within the municipality as is currently done with all street art. Tilburg, we're really getting out of that construction site, but we'll have to be patient for a while. In the meantime Happy holidays!"

Unfiltered opinions of the people of Tilburg

Within this section, we give creative people from Tilburg a stage. A ticket to... the expression of their unfiltered opinion about the city. Are you curious who else has something to say about Tilburg besides Marcel Kattestaart? Then read these interviews:

  • Chris Oomes: ‘Black and white, lots of contrast, with a story or a wink.’ 
  • Rob van Trier: ‘Rob van Trier wants to catch the light of Tilburg.’
  • Marc Storms: ‘Taking the strolling slats.’
  • Ruud Lemmen: 'The sound of Tilburg is outspoken.'
  • Tim Henrik Scheider: 'Building mazes means having my whole life in order.'
  • Lois de Jong: ‘This is a typical city that suits me. The plants are starting to grow.’
  • Lotte de Laat: ‘Lotte portrays Tilburg’
  • Anja Reinhardt: ‘Unfiltered Anja Reinhardt.’
  • Ruud van Eeten: ‘Now it's the Reeshof's turn!’
  • Rob van Steen: 'At Theaters Tilburg we think even smarter than your supermarket around the corner.' 
  • Ron van Gestel: 'Tilburg is by far the ice hockey capital of the Netherlands.'
  • Stefan van Aarle: 'Tilburg, dare to show more urbanity.'
  • Hans van Dongen: ‘The filter is coming off at our new city photographer 2020: Hans van Dongen.'
  • Fiona Zachariasse: ‘The Tilburger can be more proud of the city.’
  • Magic van Heeswijk: ‘I really think Tilburg is a city for skateboarders.’
  • Joris van Corven: ‘More opportunities for entrepreneurs to showcase themselves.’
  • Michel Deneef: 'With us, not 1.5 meters away, but 1.5 meters of Villa Pastorie experience.'
  • Joep van Gassel: ‘We are becoming more and more well-known as a city, but we also have to stay raw.’
  • Jet van Baast: "Tilburg is carnival and carnival is Tilburg"
  • Tim Frenken: “10 years ago they didn't understand why I went to Tilburg, that's different now.”
  • Piet van Dycke: "I hope Tilburg continues to dream."
  • Theo Misiedjan: “Tilburg is the city of urban culture."
  • Stefan Jansen: "Let's take the lead together to alleviate poverty in Tilburg. Then I am really proud."