Kern – Dutch urban centre and placemaking association 

KERN is the knowledge and network association for all stakeholders involved in the operation and revitalisation of urban precincts and retail districts in the Netherlands, including town and city centres, local and central shopping malls, multi-functional transport hubs, and peripheral retail parks. KERN has its roots in the Dutch Council of Shopping Centres (NRW) which was established in 1986. The NRW was rebranded as KERN in 2021 to emphasise the changing role of central locations in cities, towns and neighbourhoods, and to broaden its sphere of influence to the food & beverage (F&B) sector, cultural amenities and living and working.

The Dutch Word "Kern' is closely related to the English word 'kernel' and means heart, core, essence or centre. These meanings also sum up Kern's key goals: to stimulate a balanced variety of functions such as shopping, living, working and leisure to create attractive city centre areas and (sub)urban hubs where people enjoy spending time.

Kern has some 350 members representing nearly 200 organisations across the Netherlands. Members include real estate investors, developers, and managers, as well as other players active in retail and related sectors such as carparks and leisure, public services and organisations and municipalities.

Bestuur, commissies & team



Kern currently has five active committees whose members help shape its policiy and strategy.

ESG Commitee

CHAIR, Jos Sentel

Jos Sentel works at ThirdPlace in daily life.

Knowledge & Innovation Committee

CHAIR, madeline Buijs

Madeline Buijs works at Colliers in daily life.

People, Trends and Community Committee

CHAIR, eva niens

Eva Niens works at Areaal Advies in daily life.

Commission NewGen

CHAIR, Justin Arnolli

Justin Arnolli works at Green Real Estate in daily life.

Government-Market Cooperation Committee

CHAIR, ingrid ploegmakers

Ingrid Ploegmakers works at SWECO in daily life 

 Boris van der Gijp

CHAIRAchmea Real Estate – Directeur Vastgoed

Boris van der Gijp works at Syntrus Achmea in daily life.

Marianne Wesselo 

TREASURERCBRE Investment Management - Head of Retail Asset Management Netherlands and Belgium

Marianne Wesselo works at CBRE Investment Management in daily life.

Barbara Westrik

BOARD MEMBERUrban Interest – Commercieel Directeur / CCO

Barbara Westrik works at Urban Interest in daily life.

Justin Arnolli

investment manager 

Justin Arnolli works at Green Real Estate B.V. in daily life.

Henk Vonk 

BOARD MEMBERFame – Directeur

Henk Vonk works at HevoFame in daily life.



The board in 2023 is formed by:



The Core team is headed by Maarten Vermeulen, Ad Interim Director.

Foto Vermeulen Maarten 20231002 second

Maarten Vermeulen

ad interim DIRECTOR

In the past Maarten has been active as director (managing director) of ULI Netherlands, RICS Europe and as CEO of MVGM, among others. 

In the coming period the Kern board will search for a definitive filling of the position.


Jacqueline Lycklema

eventmanager and communications specialist

Jacqueline joined Kern in September 2023 and draws on a wealth of experience as event manager within various companies. She did organise small and large events, exhibitions and trade fairs throughout the Netherlands. In her new role at Kern, Jacqueline will organise the Kern events and manage the day-to-day operations and communications activities.

The highlights of Kern's calendar is the annual conference held in the spring which includes the presentation of Kern's project awards. Kern also organises study tours to exemplary city-centre locations and projects, for example new developments, transformation sites, and other good examples of area revitalisation and branding. Study tours are held approximately four times a year. Kern also regularly organises expert sessions on topical and relevant themes and trends for those involved in placemaking in urban centres and retail precincts. These sessions are mostly organised as hybrid meetings, enabling members to meet and network with their peers in person while also enabling those who cannot travel to the location to follow the knowledge session online. Kern also offers an international study tour at least once a year. Recent destinations include Helsinki, Vienna, Bratislava and Warsaw.


For more information,
please contact:



Maarten Vermeulen


To guarantee the quality of Kern's network, each membership application is submitted to the board for approval. Therefore, indicate here how your company contributes to lively centers. We will inform you about your request as soon as possible. We never share your data with third parties, read our privacy statement.

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Kern provides broad retail knowledge and exclusive networking opportunities for core developers and users through content sessions, publications, site visits and trips abroad, for and by members.


Creative Valley CS
Unit 2.12
Stationsplein 32
3511 ED Utrecht

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