Zwolle and Brood

At the Herman Brood Experience we would like to give you an insight into the legendary life of the singer and painter, who died in 2001. But you can also just walk around the center of Zwolle, because you will come across plenty of places that have been decisive for Brood's artistic development.


Rijks HBS – Bagijnesingel

After primary school, Herman went to HBS on Bagijnesingel. After two relatively quiet years, things went wrong in the third year. Herman was transferred conditionally and was given the chance to prove himself until Christmas. Because Herman was seriously deficient in the eyes of the school management, he was back in the second grade after Christmas. Things now went from bad to worse, because Herman failed again and the school board expelled him. A trend was set....


The Refectory – Bethlehem Church Square

After repeating two periods at the Rijks HBS, Herman Brood went to the Handelsdagschool HBS-A from 1962 to 1964, then located in the Refter on Bethlemkerkplein. The Refectory used to be part of the Bethlehem Monastery, which also included the nearby church (the Proosdij).

But Herman was also bored at this school and often crawled out of the window with his drawing supplies to busy himself making drawings and sketches on the Potgietersingel.

Fun fact: close to the school was 'de Spinne', a cafeteria including a jukebox and rock 'n' roll music that Herman frequented in the early teens, together with friend Hans la Faille.



In the middle of our country
is a city that is very charming
it is the small town of Zwolle
with its Sassenpoort

One of the first songs Herman learned at school and which he performed many times later in life. The Sassenpoort, together with the Peperbus, is the calling card of the Hanseatic city of Zwolle. This city gate, built in 1406, is the only gate to have survived, although the row of houses to the left of the gate was demolished for the sake of traffic safety and the accompanying outer gate was demolished in 1839. There is a neo-Gothic bell tower from the end of the nineteenth century on the Sassenpoort.



Zwolle is an old fortified city, as can still be seen on the current map. The bastions, the advanced defensive posts of the city, were later turned into walking parks, when everyone realized the ridiculousness of this form of city defense.



The Potgietersingel is such a beautiful location where modern city dwellers can enjoy recreation. For Herman, this was his favorite place when he was bored with all those theory lessons at the Handelsdagschool and he would crawl out of the window with his drawing supplies so he could draw undisturbed.

The park owes its name to the Zwolle-born poet and businessman Everhard Jan Potgieter (1808-1875). This authoritative man of letters was co-founder and editor of the literary magazine 'De Gids'. On the occasion of his centenary, it was decided to erect a bust of him and name the park after him.



"The chambermaid stumbled upon something. I can't think of any other explanation. Unless it was because I had used up the entire minibar. But no, they should be happy about that. I didn't assume they were in my would poke around the room.

I made a drawing for that director. I just wonder if it's beautiful enough to give him the right amount of pain. The gift had to be nice enough to give him doubts. That he can fuck himself up for a minute or so where he thinks he was right, but the next second he thinks, God, he's a nice guy. and then: I should never have sent him out. To make him think the next second: am I a dick? Shivering. Then it's settled. That is such a vicious weapon from the Bible, to turn 'the other cheek' to someone.)"


The above quote refers to a fact from July 1994, when Herman Brood was evicted from the Wientjes hotel. Herman no longer had a home in Zwolle from the age of twenty. He wandered throughout the country (later from his place of employment in Amsterdam) and his parents had moved to Assen, where his father had taken over a café. Herman regularly visited friends in Zwolle and stayed in one of the Zwolle hotels. Sometimes he stayed in the Fidder hotel, other times in the Wientjes hotel.

Herman ended up in Wientjes in 1994 on a sentimental journey with friend and biographer Bart Chabot. Herman always said that anyone who really wanted to get to know him had to come to Zwolle. “On every street corner there is a memory of my youth,” he would say.

Herman and Bart visited there by scooter and folding bike and both gentlemen had such a good time that they wanted to book an extra night. However, the then director of Wientjes put a stop to this, because some irregularities (needles, etc.) had been found in Mr. Brood's room. Herman and Bart were asked to leave the hotel.


Herman decided to make a sketch of Beatrix and personally hand it to the director to further reinforce his dissatisfaction. This drawing has disappeared (along with the director). In the guestbook you can see another sketch by Herman ('with mistress'), apparently from better times.


New Outdoorsoos

That is the Outdoor Society, where I played a lot as a child. When I was about four years old, I had a boyfriend. Yes, this goes back a long way. His father was director of the theater. Annex cinema. We were always allowed in for free. We saw some films eight times. ….

Every now and then there were fashion shows, during the week, in the afternoon. Awesome! We had discovered a door to the women's locker room, where you could look inside through the keyhole...

That's how we saw those ladies undressing. A viewing box. Those women, how they tied their stockings. Suspenders. I've spent days, no weeks… Oh, I've wasted so much time on that hole. High times. Every ten seconds the other was allowed again, in rotation. Did you have tears in your eyes from the journey through that hole?

Before the New Outdoor Society came, the (Old) Outdoor Society stood here. Herman had a boyfriend, whose father at one point rose to become manager of the 'Buitensoos'. Herman and his friend Fransje have acquired a thorough knowledge of films, because on Sunday afternoons they were often found among Fransje's father's film guests. According to Hermans, they have seen Robinson Crusoe twelve times, allowing them to reenact entire scenes.

Today, the Nieuwe Buitensociëteit is a multifunctional meeting and entertainment complex.



NS station

'The Dutch Railways? Not a bad word. Top. They really do their utmost to please the customer. Wearing nice suits. He dressed up as a blue boy scout. The hope is that this will discourage aggression, right? That a football fan thinks: Oh god, I'm really crazy. The Dutch Railways has a great future. I can totally feel it coming.”

A driver's license was not for Herman, so he had to rely on his two favorite means of transport: taxi and train. Herman Brood was a great promoter of the Dutch Railways, although he did not always behave as an exemplary traveler. He had the habit of traveling without a ticket. He managed to win over conductors several times by handing over a sketch or drawing instead of a ticket.



'I'm from Zwolle, bad luck'

A motto of Herman Brood who was never able to find his niche in Zwolle, but did not deny his roots. Characteristic of this are the sketches he made of himself with the Peperbus in the background, the most striking symbol of the city of Zwolle.

De Peperbus owes its name to the characteristic roof covering that was installed here in 1828. The tower itself dates from the end of the fifteenth century. Originally, the tower was to be raised with an octagonal lantern, but the contractor at the time made off with a significant advance payment, so this plan was canceled.

Nowadays the tower is owned by the municipality of Zwolle and there are regular opportunities to climb the tower and enjoy a beautiful view of the Hanseatic city of Zwolle.


Hans La Faille

In their teenage years, Herman Brood and Hans Lafaille often visited 't Keldertje on Voorstraat. Here Hansje and Hermanus went hunting for female beauty, with Hansje being considerably more successful than Hermanus.

Another catering establishment that was popular with Herman and his friends in the mid-1960s was dancing Dijkhoff on the Harm Smeengekade.

In the period 1973-1978, Herman visited the cafe bar Old Inn in the Voorstraat every week, where Ivo de Lange was the owner at the time. Herman got a drink here, made a few drawings and borrowed some money from Ivo. Those were the fixed rituals. Two doors further on the Voorstraat was Bar Dancing In den Herberg, later called the Circle Bar. Herman has performed here several times with his band Wild Romance.


Provincial Overijssels Museum

Herman and his friend Hans were loyal visitors to the then Provincial Overijssels Museum (POM) and nature museum (now the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle). Herman just didn't seem to be very well behaved there; he was on everything to the annoyance of the POM employees. Hans then acted as Herman's older brother to pat him on the knuckles.



Before the current Maagjesbolwerk was built in 2002, the Zwols Popfront was located here on the Rode Torenplein. This is where the studios were located where pop musicians could practice and record.


In one of these studios, Herman Brood contributed to an anniversary CD in 1992 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the foundation. He recorded a special version of the song 'I don't need you' here together with a number of musicians from Zwolle. The Zwols Popfront Foundation still has a limited number of CDs signed by Herman himself.


Pop venue Hedon

Hedon is the stage for music in Zwolle, the most important location for pop culture in the city. Much of what the Zwolle music scene produced in the 1960s and 1970s came together here: Hans la Faille, Herman Deinum and of course Herman Brood. Although his music career did not start from Zwolle, Herman often returned there and unique recordings were made. Herman last performed in Hedon in 1998.

His bronze bust can also be found in the music venue, first outside and only later inside. Owner Ivo de Lange did not like the fact that the statue was outside the entrance, because of bronze and copper thieves. Now Herman is safely inside.

Fun fact: Herman's bust was initially going to be placed on the Grote Kerkplein after his death, but the municipality did not agree with this.


Tax office

'I am a big supporter of paying taxes. Thanks to those taxes, I assume, we can keep a country like the Netherlands afloat. It is not unwillingness on my part, but I lack the self-discipline to keep putting that money aside as a private entrepreneur.'

Herman had a unique deal with the Tax Authorities. He always said that he did not collect money but anecdotes. His financial accounting was in complete chaos and it was therefore impossible to distill a realistic tax return from this.

To compensate for this tax offense, Herman was 'detained' by the Tax Authorities for a number of days each year with the assignment to produce drawings, sketches and other works of art. These were then considered as tax returns in kind.


Café Stroomberg

This is where I always used to watch the World Cup football with my father. Such a small device. You were all staring together. At that time you only had television in cafes and, as mentioned, with prostitutes.

Café Stroomberg is a real Zwolle café, located on the Brink, with a view of the Stadsgracht and the houses of Noordereiland. Father and son Brood came here regularly.

The café had a great attraction for father Brood, so much so that after the sad end of NV Brood he decided to run a café elsewhere. The family moved to Assen and took up residence above café Spoorzicht. Herman also provided assistance in the café from time to time.