Ferry Zandvliet - Souvenirs

Better After Bataclan


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Ferry is a ‘grumpy old guy’. He is angry. He is angry with his environment, his parents’ divorce, angry with everything that goes wrong, with the world at large.

That stops on November 13th 2015. He and his friends are in the audience at a concert in the Parisian Bataclan theater when three men with Kalashnikovs open fire in the packed hall. Ferry sees and feels how dozens of people around him are killed. And for a moment he is sure that his life has ended as well. But crawling through the blood and bodies he miraculously escapes.

The experience changes his life. His anger slowly turns into appreciation and forgiveness, he even befriends the father of one of the attackers. He shares his story of optimism with a growing audience and changes from a ‘grumpy old guy’ into an inspirator.

This book describes Ferry’s experiences of that terrible Friday evening and the five years that follow. Experiences he wouldn’t want anyone to have, but also with the consequences he never wanted to miss out on.

Published in November 2020 | Paperback | 368 pages | ca. 100,000 words
Over 15,000 copies sold
Dutch edition published by Growing Stories

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When Ferry Zandvliet attends a concert in Paris in 2015 he is unaware that the evening will change his life. Three shooters launch a terrorist attack that Ferry manages to survive while 89 others are killed. Ferry suffers from chronic insomnia, hyper alertness, fear, and a post-traumatic stress disorder. But he also finds a new love for living and a better understand of himself. He is now a sought-after speaker and has published the book Souvenirs on the event and its after-effects exactly five years after the attack.


Souvenirs is a lesson in accepting the inevitable and forgiving the unforgivable. Five stars, compliments!’
Eric van ‘t Zelfde, Head Master of the Dream School

‘Ferry walked straight into my heart with his courage, fears, and his wish to make different choices. Perhaps Bataclan was the most important event that he could experience. I am incredibly proud of him.’
Ellie Lust, television maker and former inspector and spokesperson for the Dutch Police

‘Ferry, you really have turned the events into a life experience with which you try to help others to move ahead with their lives. That power is unparalleled!’
Humberto Tan, television presenter and journalist

‘Ferry has succeeded in sharing a deeply intense story with the reader. He takes you along on a terrible journey that takes your breath away while reading. And even more impressive are his accounts of dealing with such trauma. Definitely not easy, but possible, as Ferry shows us.’
Joseph Oubelkas, author and speaker


Prologue 1, Holy Shit
Prologue 2, Little Angry Man


Loud metal from the speakers and yelling along
Who’ll Love the Devil?
The best and the worst of mankind
Don’t look into the camera, look towards Geert
‘La facture, síl vous plaît’
Hunting wolves
Just shut up!
Talk, talk, talk
But the media is pulling me too
You happily went to a concert…
Showered with love


‘Mi gado’
Let’s try not to die again tonight
Get to work!
You cry too
I don’t like tattoos
Two buzzers in my hands
One pierces my heart with a blunt knife
Welcome home
Let’s rock the shit out of this place, punk
Goodbye Saar
As long as we cling together
But I don’t know how to speak for an audience
People have died on the place where I stood
Perhaps share some experiences and feelings
Why do I do this?
You see them think ‘Would they have been there?’
‘Ferry profits from his trauma’
That man has lost his child
The blow after the blow
I am becoming my own boss
We have to talk with our enemies
If you could meet one of the terrorists, would you want to do that?

Epilogue: No longer a grumpy old guy?

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