1941 Germany
Born under the reign of Hitler. Dutch father and German mother. Immediately after the war we moved to the Netherlands, which was difficult in the beginning.
1951 Rotterdam
Parents divorced. Grew up in Rotterdam with my mom, working class, no money, older brother was allowed into HBS (now HAVO / VWO), but I had to go to secondary school (now MAVO).
1957 Rotterdam
By chance, ended up studying insurance in the evenings (until the age of thirty). I obtained the necessary qualifications to pursue a career in management within the insurance arm of a large mortgage bank. At this time, I was also married and became the father of three children (two girls and one boy).
1978 Rotterdam
1980 Rotterdam
Remarried with my current wife. She worked as a secretary at the company where I was Director.
1984–1990 Amsterdam
Another daughter and son were born. My daughter now lives in Barcelona.
Please note: all conversations will be assigned randomly


Ondergronds is named for those exceptional conversations below the surface.

While travelling through Amsterdam on a daily basis, we pass by hundreds of strangers and rarely get a chance to connect. Ondergronds allows you to have a real conversation with one of those strangers – perhaps the connection will last, perhaps it may inspire other conversations on your daily travels.

About the team:

Julien Thomas developed urban interventions and creative civic engagement strategies in Vancouver, and graduated from the Sandberg Instituut in 2016.

Webdesign: Fabian Hijlkema

Photography: Coco Plooijer

Ondergronds is an initiative of the Knowledge Mile Coalition, a community of knowledge institutions, companies, organisations and residents working together along the Wibautstraat and Wesperstraat from Amstelplein to Nieuwmarkt.


Do you have questions, want to participate, or want to set up an Ondergronds project in your city? Feel free to contact us.

We are

  • Gemeente Amsterdam

  • Knowledge Mile Coalition

  • Amsterdam Boiling

  • GVB

  • Humans of Amsterdam