Under one roof: residents tell all with Ludo Stroobants of Zwijsen Publishing

13 June 2022

Just a few more days and MindLabs will move. Our ecosystem will relocate into a brand new building in Tilburg's Spoorzone. And not just any building; the complex will be the central point for education, research and business in Brabant. Because we are not going alone; our partners are moving in with us. So that we can meet, inspire and motivate each other all the time. In the section 'Under one roof' we introduce all our new neighbors. They tell us about their work, their reasons for moving and the plans they want to implement from our new location. In this edition: Ludo Stroobants, director of publishing house Zwijsen. 

 

Ludo, to start at the beginning: what kind of work do you do exactly? 
I have been the director of Publishing House Zwijsen since 2016. We are specialized in educational tools for elementary school, for children from 0 to 12 years old. In addition, Zwijsen publishes all kinds of books and games for the consumer market that are in line with what children learn in primary education. For me as director, no two days are the same. My main task is to keep all the different departments of Zwijsen pointing in the same direction. 

At the moment Zwijsen still operates from the Hart van Brabantlaan. Why did you decide to pack up and move into the MindLabs building? 
We had been looking for a new building for some time and really wanted to move to an inspiring and innovative environment. The MindLabs building offers such an ambiance. We are counting the days until we can move in with our organization. We hope to move in early November.

Are you moving in alone? Or with colleagues? 
Everyone, about 130 colleagues, will move to the top floor of the MindLabs building. In the building on the Hart van Brabantlaan - where we are now - our departments were spread over four different floors. Soon we will be on the same floor with all our colleagues. This will benefit the mutual communication. Through corona, we have learned that in addition to working at the office, we can also work well at home. Our new office will therefore primarily be an inspiration and meeting place. If you need focus and concentration, you can choose to work at home. If you need inspiration and want to work creatively with your team, you can come to our new office. 

Did Zwijsen work with other MindLabs partners in the past? Or have you pinned your hopes on the new building? 
For Zwijsen the cooperation within MindLabs is very important. For example, we are already working together with the insurance company Interpolis. Last year we joined forces for the expansion of 'WegWijsVR'; the traffic education package for elementary school pupils. We also have a partnership with Tilburg University with regard to making education interactive. The Spacebuzz project is also involved. In short, we already have a lot of lines of communication. Being in the same building together will make them even shorter. We're really looking forward to that. 

What is Zwijsen going to add to the whole? 
Zwijsen brings learning to life. We carry that knowledge - how children and adults learn and can learn - with us. It is in our genes! 

How does it feel when you walk past the construction site?
From the very beginning, in fact even before it became a construction site, I regularly walked along the site. Or I followed the progress via the webcam. So yes, it does tickle! By the way, a special detail: our publishing company was founded 175 years ago by the Brothers of Tilburg near the MindLabs building. The fact that we are now back in the vicinity of this historic site completes the circle. 

Where will you be seated? What will your view be?  
You will find us on the top floor. We look out over the city. It's beautiful. If that doesn't provide the aforementioned inspiration... 

Have you met your new neighbors? Or have you yet to have your first cup of coffee?
Zwijsen will be manning an entire floor, but we do have neighbors below us; Fontys ICT is one of them. During our first meeting we immediately exchanged business cards, because we can reinforce each other. For example, Fontys has a course for programmers, our employees of the future.

What plans do you hope to realize from your new home?
We want to offer even more innovation within education. Together with the partners with whom we are in the MindLabs building. We hope to really explore in the new building. 

Have the first boxes already been packed?
Yes, they have. In fact, we are already in full moving mode. 3 of our 4 floors in the current building have been sublet. So we are now working from one floor, between the moving boxes. A rather bare décor... but there's better on the horizon. 

It's time to wrap up. What's on the agenda for you today? A little daydreaming about your upcoming workplace in the new building? Or are you too busy for that? 
Unfortunately, daydreaming is out of the question today. I have a day full of appointments. Tomorrow I will be in the LocHal together with colleagues. Next to our new workplace. Then there will be plenty of time to think about the future.