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On Thursday, April 11, 2019, creative Zwier Veldhoen passed away very suddenly. He turned 55 years old.
I was alerted to this news by my former partner Maxim van Wijk, as he remembered that I was also partnered with Zwier at TBWA/Campaign company Amsterdam for a moment in the late 90s. More recently, we've been a mischievous bar-hopping duo at the Cannes advertising festival where Zwier Veldhoen was on the Promo & Activation Lions Jury.
The news of Zwier's sudden passing took everyone by surprise, and as he was a valued member of the ADCN the awards have decided to make a book about him, asking anyone who worked with him for submissions.
To say that Zwier was a fun guy would be an understatement. With a jovial temperament and dry sense of humour, Zwier was loved by many. He was also eager to mentor people and touched many creatives careers during his years in Amsterdam. A copywriter by trade, Veldhoen became the Creative Director at Lowe, then co-founder of "They", then he worked at "N = 5" and "Mensch".
You may recognize some of the humouros ads Zwier wrote, like Planet Internet "Modern Technology" and the classic Dick Advocaat and the kid where an ambitious little guy hoodwinks the former footballer and manager of FC Utrecht to take notice of him. But he also had a philosophical side, telling Adformatie in an interview a couple of years ago: "Happiness is patchy, you usually experience it when it's already gone"
'Geluk is fragmentarisch, je ervaart het meestal als het al weg is'
In another interview he answered the question of what to do about writers block with this;
"'We write copy on assignment. Artist-writers can dry up because they do not know what they should write about. Advertising writers don't know that problem. A writer's block in advertising is the offensive behaviour of semi-artists. The following applies in our profession: inspiration is for amateurs."
I have to say that I was extremely saddened and shocked by the news, just like everyone at the ADCN last week where Zwier's passing overshadowed the ceremony. The ADCN also paid homage to the recently deceased Béla Stamenkovits and Anthon Beecke and Tejo Hollander.
In an effort to try and find recent images of Zwier, I looked through our email correspondence. In there I found the last words he ever sent me, which also sums him up in a way. "You're a sweetheart" he said. He always did have the knack of seeing the good in everyone and everything, and the silver lining anywhere.