Stefan Jansen: "Let's take the lead together to alleviate poverty in Tilburg. Then I am really proud."

| Sanne Leenders

The people of Tilburg are becoming more and more proud of their city. New buildings are rising on the horizon and atmospheric areas such as the Piushaven and the Spoorzone are more popular than ever. But what lies behind this renewal? What about poverty in Tilburg? We speak to the chairman of Quiet Tilburg, Stefan Jansen: "The people of Tilburg already complain a lot less about the appearance of their city, but let's not forget the social aspect. With Quiet, we make noise for silent poverty. Let's do this together, so we can all be proud of a social Tilburg."
Photo's: RAWCAT Media

Stefan Jansen came into contact with Quiet a number of years ago in various ways. On the one hand, because he has been a member of de Ronde Tafel 28 for over 7 years, a club where about 20 men are committed to the local society. Stefan: "We collected money for the charity Quiet. In the end, we made sure that 100 people were allowed to go to the Efteling, an outing that is not self-evident for many people. We've been doing that for five years now. When you go on such an outing, you really hear people's stories. You hear that there are many different kinds of situations that put someone in poverty." On the other hand, Stefan was also approached by Quiet himself for help. "In my job as a lawyer at De Voort Advocaten, I am very much involved in privacy law and employment law. When Quiet asked for my help, I immediately said yes. I started as voluntary privacy and hr advisor, taking a close look at the way the organization worked and the agreements. That work eventually went a step further. At that time I was a secretary and now I enjoy my role as chairman."

An organization to be proud of

Quiet: the past five years accounted for some 25,000 lucky moments, with contributions from 400 sponsors and winner of the National Volunteer Award 2020. Something they can rightly be proud of at Quiet. Stefan says: "The fact that we were able to make a difference for our members through those 25,000 happy moments is something we as an organization are very proud of. We did it together with the city!" Quiet celebrates the first anniversary and helps to alleviate the situation of people living in poverty. They do this together with local sponsors by offering free products and services to their members. Quiet also wants to strengthen its members by offering training and stimulating social contacts. "We look at the situation per person and try to structurally soften and strengthen it." Why Stefan is a volunteer at Quiet? "In addition to my work and my family, I always want to be involved in at least one organization in Tilburg to put my energy into it. I want to give something back to the city where I grew up and where I have a nice life. I give everyone happiness and pleasure and hope with my efforts to alleviate poverty in the city."

Poverty never left Tilburg

"Our city has a long history of poverty. This stems from the textile industry and other large industries in which many low-skilled workers were employed. People worked hard, did unhealthy work more often, and became ill more quickly. Often without a safety net. The social DNA of Tilburg originated then and helps enormously to alleviate and tackle poverty together. Many organizations and companies stand up against poverty and want to help this group of people. Where there used to be the church, priests and nuns, these are now social organizations such as Quiet. Poverty is growing, but so are the organizations that want to prevent, alleviate, or solve it."

"Let's work together to reduce poverty rates."

Has it struck you in recent years that so much is being built in Tilburg? Do you already speak with pride at parties about your city? Chances are that you do! But do you ever talk about poverty in Tilburg? According to Stefan, we don't do this enough yet. "There is a lot of silent poverty in the city. Many people can't point out anyone who lives in poverty, but still, this is over 10% of the population of Tilburg, that's really a lot!" 


(Photo: Carousel in the Wilhelminapark in Tilburg. Stefan: "A merry-go-round is a metaphor for life. It can turn the other way very quickly. There are certain events in life that you can't control yourself. Before you know it you end up in a merry-go-round that turns faster than you think. Poverty can happen to anyone.")

If it is up to Stefan, we all have to do more to reduce poverty rates. That can start small. Any company that has a product or service available or would like to make it available can apply. Think of a bicycle mechanic who gives away child seats for free to the local hospitality industry who keeps a table free for a member. Volunteers are also never enough. Would you like to lend a hand? Please contact Quiet Tilburg.

Together we make more impact

According to Stefan, there is still a lot to be gained, especially at the city level. "To date, we have not yet succeeded in breaking with the historically generated trend of poverty in Tilburg. We are all proud of the physical city that is being created, such as the Piushaven, the Spoorzone and a renovated city center. And rightly so. But in the social field, a lot still needs to be done to break the trend. Millions are involved in renewing a city, but let's dare to invest the same amount of money for a long period of time in preventing, alleviating and solving poverty. Yes, it's a story of the long haul and perseverance, but Tilburg can do that. And we will do it together!"

More direction, faster approach

So, according to Stefan, we can go a step further when we talk about tackling poverty in Tilburg. "There are many people and organizations who want to help the poverty figures down. And yes, the need and the awareness is there, but that we are all really making it a priority alongside all the other issues... I still miss that." So, according to Stefan, there could be more direction. "It starts with working together, directing and coordinating. As far as I am concerned, that direction should be with the municipality, because it is our city, with our inhabitants and therefore our social problem that there is poverty. Apart from each other, we all do a good job, but together we can make a real impact. I would like to think along with you so that together we can say that every year the percentage of people living in poverty has decreased a little bit".


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 Stefan Jansen? 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."

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