Brigitte van der Zanden

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Well-being and health care. The health care system. We all have our own ideas about this. We all have to deal with it in our lives. And I am no exception. I regard it as a challenging, complex, intriguing, exciting and varied world, a world that I enjoy working in every day. As a strategist, a problem-solver, a consultant and a manager.

Whichever way you look at it, we all have the same goal in life: that we, as citizens, may experience the highest attainable quality in our life. On all levels.

What can I offer you

I love the world in which I work because it’s an environment where innovation and creativity are appreciated, a place in which I work on the future, together with colleagues, rather than alone. To me it’s a place that allows and encourages me to look beyond my own horizons. Is this how you see it? Is this what you are aiming for? Then I may be the right person for your organisation. Possibly as interim manager, or as a strategist, problem-solver, consultant or (project) manager. Perhaps I could join you in setting out strategic and tactical lines, setting up and implementing projects and processes, guiding and supporting you in making Euroregional and European subsidy applications and lobbying where desired.

Bear in mind, however, that I won’t be doing this alone, but by joining forces with you!

Who am I?

I could be described as a down-to-earth 'Tukker' (Dutch name for someone born and bred in Twente) with a dry sense of humour. And add to that a touch of a Burgundian disposition due to the many years I have spent in Maastricht. In fact, an ordinary socially-minded Dutch woman who is also a European!

As a person, I am a real bridge-builder, I like to roll up my sleeves, literally and figuratively, and get down to the real nitty-gritty. I like to think in terms of solutions and I have a handy way of improvising and coming up with suitable alternatives. I keep an overview and am not afraid at all of making decisions. My clients see me as a motivated, driven and socially-minded person, but also as someone with a healthy sense of humour! The Dutch would say: ‘just act normal, that’s already crazy enough!’ Meaning that you don’t brag or behave arrogant and don’t show off or act pretentiously.


The projects and assignments that I work on focus mainly on the field of welfare and care. They vary from strategy to (project) management, from working with small to large budgets, from practice to science, from care and treatment to prevention, from local to European and from cross-sector to cross-border.

The teams I work with are diverse in size and participants: from local, Euroregional to European teams, from content experts to politicians, from young-and-upcoming to senior management, from professionals to citizens.

But once again, it is all about doing things together, so I like to collaborate with other people and with other policy areas. This gives you a stronger (joint) bargaining position.

I have worked with a variety of organisations such as hospitals, nursing homes, Euroregions, GGDs, universities and colleges, acute care organisations, patients’ and citizens’ organisations, provinces and municipalities, the World Health Organisation and European institutes such as AEBR and Euregha.

A little extra: Euroregional and European

Everybody hopping over the border? It’s certainly possible, though not an absolute necessity. But working together across a national border in a border area? This I do regard as necessary! Citizens making optimal use of the advantages of a border area. Particularly the 30% of Europe’s citizens who live and work in a border area. This could be about holidays, filling up on petrol, shopping and leisure activities. But we can also take advantage of the knowledge and skills of different foreign regions for care and welfare.

We can always learn from one another. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time, surely? But that wheel could benefit from certain adjustments. This is why knowledge-sharing is crucial. It is one of the forces of innovation and progress.

This is what my work is all about. I have the knowledge that enables me to find my way in this world and take advantage of it in my work.


I studied Health Sciences Policy and Management at Maastricht University and Nursing at Enschede University of Applied Sciences (nowadays Saxion University of Applied Sciences), both of which I successfully completed.

The two courses complement one another perfectly. Central to nursing is that you listen to what the patient, client or resident wants and needs. This is the very basis! It was never about me being a nurse, but about what I could do for the other person. Later, in Health Sciences I learned to understand the complex relationships that exist within health care from a more commercial, strategic and tactical point of view, and how I can contribute to these.

I combine the strengths of these two training courses in my daily work, by using my ability to listen carefully to clients and thereby work together with them on their (concrete) question.

Work and work-related ancillary jobs

After a number of short-term positions in the care sector, I soon became self-employed and have been a director of the euPrevent|EMR Foundation for several years now. I feel that the two functions complement one another well.

In my work as a self-employed person and director of the euPrevent|EMR Foundation, I actively fulfil a number of additional functions. I am affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regions for Health Network (RHN) and am an advisor to Niederösterreichises Gesundheit und Sozial funds (NÖGUS), the European Patients Empowerment for Customised Solutions (EPECS) and the Meuse-Rhine Euregion itself.

In the recent past I have also held active positions at, among others, the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), Euregha and Huis voor de Zorg (Burgerkracht Limburg).

Private ancillary activities

I held various positions since the age of 15, either as a board member, secretary, treasurer or chairman. For example at a music society, a food bank, a student council, a PhD student association and an alumni association.


Involved in the following EU-related publications:


Dutch by birth, I am fairly capable in German and English, both verbally and in writing. My French is slightly more limited. I am able to follow it on the whole, but I cannot claim to be fluent in speaking and writing French. This is something I am working hard to rectify!

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