Learn more about the people working hard every day to keep our place of engagement and inspiration running – both front of house and behind the scenes.

Board of Directors

Ruben van Zwieten


Ordained minister, founder of De Nieuwe Poort and named by NRC and de Volkskrant as one of the most influential people of the future.

Simone Heidema


Founder and CEO of CPI. She is in the Top 100 female entrepreneurs, is a qualified auditor and has worked throughout the world as a consultant and CFO.

Jan de Ruiter


CEO of VolkerWessels. Previously a consultant at RBS. He started his career at ABN-AMRO in Institutional Equity Sales.

Karin van den Broeke


Pastor in Noord-Beverland. Chair of the Dutch and Flemish Bible Society and member of the executive committee of the World Council of Churches.

Merijn Veldman


Lawyer-partner at //DVLP. Merijn advises real estate investors and companies, but also helps start-ups, VvEs and individuals.


Rob Ittmann

General Manager

After studying Dutch Language & Culture, started his career at stichting Zingeving Zuidas as programme support worker and advanced to General Manager of De Nieuwe Poort.

Carmen Snijders

Programme Manager

Studied law in Utrecht and as well as being Programme Manager of De Nieuwe Poort, she is also Programme Manager of our platform Young People, Work and Hope.


Guido Fenne

Chef Social Kitchen

Guido ensures that everything in the Social Kitchen runs smoothly.

Frank Kruijswijk

Head of Operations

Frank is responsible for operations at De Nieuwe Poort.

Jordi Wiersma

Head of Training

Jordi coordinates all the training courses at De Nieuwe Poort and is Head Teacher of The New University.

David Koning


Worked with Johnny de Mol in refugee camps on Lesbos. There he met Ruben van Zwieten, who offered him a job back in the Netherlands.

Cornely van Dalen


Cornely ensures that all our Rotterdam guests are pampered. She is also studying.

Karla Moustafa


Started working with us on the advice of her mother, who bakes cookies every week. Karla enjoys singing and eating.

Latisha Martinus


Comes from Aruba and studies Social Studies here. Latisha wants to radiate as much love as possible and always sees the good in people.

Marc Valstar


Originally wanted to be a lawyer, but prefers to work with his hands. The desire to help vulnerable people remains with him.

Mohamad Zarkawi


Rami Nazour


Fled Syria and finally ended up in our kitchen. He wishes that Dutch people were on their own a bit less.

Ruth Merchan Rodriquez


During the week, she works with us in Rotterdam and spends the weekends with her daughter. Ruth would like to study Information Technology in Spain one day.

Souzan Habib


Every Monday, Souzan bakes our cookies and cakes in Rotterdam. She would like to start an Arab restaurant one day.

Vincente Clara Rocha

Facilities worker

Vincente ensures that our branches are clean and tidy.

Marije Molenaar

Head of Accounting

Studied Business Economics and went to catering college. Her job at De Nieuwe Poort enables her to use both her hospitality experience and financial expertise.

Ganda Holthuizen

Head of Banqueting

Our expert when it comes to room hire.



Happy to talk to anyone. His motto is forgive and forget and believes that everyone should be more forgiving. Bamba has been with us since De Nieuwe Poort opened.

Sjoerd Fabriek

Facilities worker

Worked as a landscaper but ended up with us. Sjoerd believes that every failure can lead to a new beginning.

Amir Madmoni


Was written off when he was just 18 but still wanted to work. His first permanent job was with us when he was 40.

Aly Toure


Aly conjures up the tastiest dishes from our Social Kitchen.

Berend van der Mee


As well as studying Commercial Economics, Berend ensures that everyone who enters De Nieuwe Poort receives a warm welcome.

Coen Baks


Seasoned sous-chef who supports our chef in coordinating the kitchen.

Dominique Jimenez


Likes learning about other cultures. When he retires, he would like to walk from the Netherlands to Santiago de Compostella

Gregor Wiertelorz


Gregor is the chef’s right hand and makes sure that everything in the kitchen runs smoothly.

Johannes van Zandwijk


Possibly the youngest person on our staff. He stuck around after his internship and will shortly take his final high school exams.

Marc Krieg


As an adolescent he lived on the street, but eventually got the help and opportunities he needed. He enjoys the small things in life.

Omid Madad


Studied for a while, but isn’t really academically inclined. He is very happy working in hospitality and enjoys making techno and house music.

Stacy Tobi


Stacy ensures that everyone gets a friendly greeting.

Trienke van der Meij

Main Hostess

Lived in the Alps for a while, but missed her life in Amsterdam. She often returns to go snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking.

Zakaria Stefiani


After six years in prison, he got a fresh start at De Nieuwe Poort. Values camaraderie and loyalty.

Loran Witteveen

House pianist

Graduated summa cum laude from the Conservatorium and has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival amongst other events. He also teaches at Codarts.

Kristjan Martinsson

House pianist

Kristjan regularly plays our piano in Amsterdam. He is a multi-instrumentalist and composer.


Several members of our team have – for one reason or another – a disadvantage on the employment market. Whether it’s a language barrier, a life of setbacks, or a difficult start…everyone has a story.

Read more

Bamba, Cook

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Dominique, Barista

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