MY STORY IS ALL ABOUT HOW THE MOST TERRIFYING ORDEAL MADE ME A MUCH HAPPIER PERSON THAN I WAS BEFORE. THAT IT ENRICHED MY LIFE IN A WAY THAT I WOULD HAVE NEVER IMAGINED. BUT SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD CAN RELATE TO BECAUSE MY STORY IS ‘JUST’ ABOUT A SETBACK.
AND DON’T WE ALL HAVE SETBACKS?
On Friday, 13 November 2015, I attended a concert by the The Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan theatre in Paris. That evening 89 people were shot dead and 300 wounded. There were another two attacks in Paris that night. In total 129 people were killed. It was a night that changed my whole life. Chronic insomnia, hyper-alertness, anxiety and serious PTSS problems dominated my life since that night from hell.
I noticed that while my immediate environment became harder and angrier, I personally felt the opposite. The social hardening around me forced me to speak up; I refused to be angry with the perpetrators, nor did I let people scare me. A week later, I again attended a concert, and I formed an intense friendship with the father of one of the terrorists who blew himself up in Le Bataclan.
By letting go of my anger and not giving in to my fear, my life has been enhanced. It is almost a spiritual journey and an enrichment of my life. People in my country, the Netherlands, supported us following a life television broadcast with Humberto Tan. I will never forget the support from the entire country. You can watch the broadcast on: http://www.geenstijl.nl/.
I have now started a support group for victims of terrorism in the Netherlands; have taken steps to improve the treatment of victims (something that was not there for us at the time), and am sharing my story. This has grown naturally. Talking about what happened gave me much support in terms of processing my emotions in the beginning. I hope that people realize that it is senseless to give in to fear and anger through my story; you end up limiting yourself… I should know! Come and listen sometime soon.
Information or bookings? Sent me a message through the contact form and I will get back to you ASAP!
“Today Ferry Zandvliet told his story about his ordeal in the Bataclan theatre. In the audience where over 150 colleagues who had served in Afghanistan. His story is indelible. The shooting, the reptile brain, the powerlessness and sorrow changed him forever.
The audience was touched by the way Ferry refused to be a victim. How he put his anger into actions by helping others. This is extremely powerful to hear. We need to hear stories like this at the corps”
-Erik Akerboom; National Police Chief, The Netherlands
“Ferry visited the Dublin LinkedIn office in February 2019. His presentation was focused on how to overcome setbacks in your life and actively choosing not to be angry. The feedback on Ferry’s session was great; people took a lot from his story and got inspired by the way that Ferry has handled his traumatic experience. Ferry’s presentation is one that fits many different organizations and companies, because we all face challenges on a daily base and the story that Ferry tells is a very positive one”
-Sven Mol; Sales Manager LinkedIn HQ, Dublin
“A sold-out theatre. Only the sound of 600 silent police officers. What a story”
-Jan Scheele; TedEX
“Ferry joined our multidisciplinary international conference on victim support after terrorist attacks. His lived experience as a survivor of terrorism was very moving. Ferry took part in our plenary panel and presented during a workshop session. As first responders it was very important to hear from Ferry what he needed and missed after his experience. Ferry embodies what we mean when we speak about posttraumatic growth.”
-Andrea Walraven-Thissen; Strategic Critical Incident Manager, Suicide Postventionist, Expert in Psychotraumatology, Speaker, Author, Trainer PSNV
“Ferry gave a very impressive masterclass about media and ethics. His way of telling is so pure, authentic and honest. Its touches you in the core of your hart. The whole room was as quit as a mouse. Ferry message: “let go of all your hate and fear” was as strong as can be. It’s wasted energy! What an inspiration Ferry is. Ferry is what this world needs right now”
-Patty Joosten; Inholland University Media and entertainment management
“Over the years people have been telling us stories and we invite the most inspiring ones to share those thoughts, ideas and adventures on our stage. Then one day there was Ferry. His calm presence on stage immediately triggered the attention of the whole audience and the way he tells his story is extraordinary strong and clear. A great storyteller, not afraid to show his vulnerability, and with a vast determination to show us a positive mindset after surviving a horrific night in Paris. Working with Ferry is from beginning to end a pleasure and highly recommended if you are looking for a public speaker who will truly make an impact.”
-Judith Sebregts; Organiser for PechaKucha Night New York
“Ferry gave 2 presentations on an international fireman congress in Holland. An authentic and impressive presentation that both times let to a standing ovation. It got the unanimous review as best presentation of the congress. Ferry gave us stuff to think about at home. It’s unbelievable what an amazing positive spin Ferry gave to this horrible experience.!”
-Deborah van Eijck; Projectleader Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid (IFV)