AMuse: placemaker Martine Winkel

Every year in June, the AMuse magazine is released; the magazine of AM about placemaking. Inspiring and informative. For everyone interested in placemaking and all that comes with it. Featuring special placemakers, compelling interviews, fascinating stories, the latest news in placemaking, and much more. In the lead-up to the new edition, we publish 'AMuse; placemakers in their own words' monthly. This time: Martine Winkel.

Occupation: Story Liberator & Community Manager Pont tot Park
Age: 49
Proud of: My children, my writing studio, and my own business
Key in placemaking is... The courage to create new worlds


"I have always worked in communication and written for magazines. I had a husband, we had children. Like many others, I tried to meet the expectations of our society. To conform to the ideal image of what life should look like in that society. The image of a family, a job, a social life... But my feelings always told me something completely different."

Alzheimer's disease

“Toen mijn man ziek werd – hij kreeg op jonge leeftijd de ziekte van Alzheimer – liep alles in de soep. Natuurlijk heeft dit veel impact gehad op ons gezinsleven, op onze kinderen, op mij. Maar juist toen bleef ik heel erg vastzitten in dat patroon, vasthouden aan die verwachting. Ik heb het lang in stand proberen te houden. Ten koste van mezelf. We zitten zo vast in een leven dat ons dwingt. Daarbij gaan we vaak aan onszelf voorbij.”

Taking the plunge

"I had wanted to start my own business for a long time; to give writing workshops where I could teach people to take the leap into the unknown. To become the hero in their own story. But as long as I didn't take that leap myself, of course, I couldn't teach others that lesson. It took me time to get there. I had to learn to let go, to listen to my intuition. As I wrote, I found my own story, and eventually, I took the plunge."

Meaning and connection

"My writing workshop focuses on meaning and connection. During the training, I teach people to write with a focus on themselves. By writing in this way, they learn to let go and discover themselves. Something always happens at my writing table. People not only write their stories, but they also share them. By doing so, they externalize their stories and can work with them. I help people to find their narrative."

Pont tot Park

"That's also what I do as a community manager at Pont tot Park in IJmuiden. That's my way of placemaking. By interviewing people, I find out what's going on, what drives them, what they feel... In the past, there were plans and promises made here that weren't kept. That's why there's a lot of mistrust. Within the new collaboration, I've become the community manager. I try to remove that mistrust and build trust."


"You have to take people along in the process. Listen to them and involve them. A new story needs to emerge. But for that to happen, people must be willing to let go of the old story. I try to get them to look towards the future, so they don't get stuck in the past. Just like I did myself. If I had always stayed stuck in the past, I wouldn't be where I am now. And let's be honest: how amazing is it to make something beautiful together here?"