François Stienen was born on Curaçao and raised in Limburg. But since he has been living in Amsterdam for more than 40 years, he feels an Amsterdam local above all. With a southern accent, indeed.
He has been fascinated by other cultures and foreign languages as long as he can remember. Mainly because of the way people all over the world try to balance between those. It’s the subject of his book Het beste van twee werelden (2007).
Originally he studied psychology and pedagogy/educational sciences (at the VU in Amsterdam). After a job at Amsterdam City Hall he quickly made the switch to the ‘free life’ of journalism. He was a film critic for about 15 years, who co-wrote various books about film and published reviews in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Vrij Nederland and De Filmkrant.
Around 2007 he decided it was time for a new challenge and made the switch to education. As an NT2 teacher, he taught at the UvA, the HvA and the ROC of Amsterdam, among other institutions and companies. He currently works for NedLes and TopTaal.
For him, the very best thing about this job is the contact with students. He believes strongly in the importance of creating a group dynamic in which everyone feels safe and is motivated to learn the Dutch language. Humour and trust are crucial within this setting. He likes to integrate poetry, Dutch songs, raps and current texts (especially columns) into his lessons.
In addition to his work as a teacher, he always continued to write and publish. For a few years now he mainly writes poems. His latest work, a collection of haiku, is called Windstil (2022).