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 PTSD 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.



Rotterdam, The Netherlands



Turning trauma into happiness



In addition to my main presentation in this presentation I emphasize more on the police and military aspects of my story. 

All the elements from my main version are in here, yet more briefly touched. 

I put more focus on the reptile respons of brain during the attack, how I managed to escape and survive, the attack itself in graphic detail, the help from the police on the spot, the help I got from total strangers, the help from the embassy in Paris and back home and PTSD.


Hoe zorg je dat je niet in de slachtofferrol blijft hangen na een tegenslag in je leven?



“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

"Ferry spoke to our 500 member San Diego Rotary Club, and received a standing ovation at the end of his presentation. His speaking and presentation skills are outstanding, and he relates his story to the audience very well. I highly recommend Ferry as a speaker for any audience".

Paul Devermann; Executive Director - San Diego Rotary Club



and speakers I recommend


“Als Joseph spreekt, is iedereen stil”. Sinds de verschijning van zijn autobiografie 400 brieven van mijn moeder (2011) geeft Joseph Oubelkas (1980) lezingen in binnen- en buitenland. Hij deelt zijn inspirerende verhaal over zijn onterechte gevangenschap in Marokko in de hoop iets voor andere mensen te kunnen betekenen. Zijn boodschap: “Je hebt je eigen lot in handen. Wat er ook op je pad komt; jíj bepaalt hoe je ermee omgaat.” Een topspreker met een grote impact die volop stof tot nadenken achterlaat.


“Arjan inspires, touches and activates people as motivational speaker. His personal, authentic and fascinating way of telling his tragic but brave story definitely makes people wonder about their own freedom of choice and freedom of mind. It teaches people about self-reflection, courage, self-esteem and building rapport. Arjans manages to link his story to the lives of the people within the audience and activates and empowers them"


De Crisiscentrale helpt u en uw organisatie door een crisis. Kies voor 24/7 zekerheid, kies voor de Crisiscentrale.


©2020 door Ferry Zandvliet. Met trots gemaakt met