Kern – network for centre areas and placemaking

Kern, established in 1986 as NRW Dutch Council Shopping Centres, is the knowledge and network organisation for all stakeholders involved in operating and revitalizing centre areas. These can be city and town centres, as well as neighbourhood proximity centres, multi-functional transport hubs, and edge of town locations.

The association has been rebranded from NRW into Kern in 2021 to emphasize the changing role of centres in cities, towns and neighbourhoods, and to broaden the interest of the association into F&B, culture, integrated also with living and working.

Centre areas are about a balanced variety of functions like living, working, socializing, and consuming that area attractive to visit and spend time in.

Kern has about 350 members representing nearly 200 organisations. Members are active in real estate such as investors, developers, and managers, as well as in retail and other sectors using space in centre areas, as well those involved in centre areas an working for public organisations as municipalities.

Bestuur, commissies & team



Kern currently has five active committees in which members help shape the substantive direction of Kern. These committees are:

ESG Commitee

CHAIR, Jos Sentel

Jos Sentel works at ThirdPlace in daily life.

Knowledge & Information Committee

CHAIR, Gertjan Slob

Gertjan Slob works at Locatus in daily life.

People, Trends and Community Committee

CHAIR, Inge Niks

Inge Nix works at IXIN Vastgoed in daily life.

Commission NewGen

CHAIR, Justin Arnolli

Justin Arnolli works at Green Real Estate in daily life.

Government-Market Cooperation Committee

CHAIR, Marco Karssemakers

Marco Karssemakers works in daily life at the Municipality of Eindhoven.

 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 daily at CBRE Investment Management.

Barbara Westrik

BOARD MEMBERUrban Interest – Commercieel Directeur / CCO

Barbara Westrik works at Urban Interest in daily life.

Frank Quix 

BOARD MEMBERQ&A Insights & Consultancy – Managing Director / Partner

Frank Quix works in daily life at Q&A Insights & Consultancy.

Henk Vonk 

BOARD MEMBERFame – Directeur

Henk Vonk works at HevoFame in daily life.



The board in 2023 is formed by:



The Core team is formed by Herman Kok, director.

Hjk picture

Herman Kok


Activities organised by Kern include the Kern annual conference held in spring which includes the presentation of the Kern project award as well. Kern organises study visits to locations and projects that are reference for vital centre areas. These can be new projects, transformations, and good examples of area revitalisation and area branding. Study visits take place approximately four times per year. Furthermore, Kern organises knowledge expert sessions about relevant themes and trends for those involved in centre areas. These sessions are mostly organised as hybrid meetings, allowing those present physically to meet peers and to network, and enabling those who can not make it to be involved in the knowledge session. And Kern offers an international study tour at least once a year. Recent tours were organised to Helsinki and Vienna & Bratislava. The next destination in September 2023 will be Warsaw.


For more information,
please contact:



Herman Kok


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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