Media News

On May 12 2010 the parents of Marieke Poelmann (writer and freelance journalist, 1988) died in the Tripoli airplane crash. They were on their way home from a vacation in South Africa.



On May 12th both of Marieke Poelmann’s parents are killed in the airplane crash near Tripoli. They were on their way home after a vacation in South Africa. Marieke is 22 at the time. She recently started a career in journalism and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the news. What happens next is overwhelming: family detectives, victim assistance, banks and insurance companies all line up at her parents’ doorstep. Suddenly, she also shares the responsibility with her older brother Boris for their handicapped brother Sandor, who had a brain tumor when he was 11 years old. Not to mention the immense loss and grief that presents itself, which Poelmann describes incisively in her book Alles om jullie heen is er nog.

“Because of the accident, I lost my faith in life. That is slowly coming back to me, yes. Around the time I turned 25 I noticed that I started feeling stronger again, I made my own choices and stopped seeing life as a burden. Now, I try to focus on what I want from life. My boyfriend helped me a lot changing my perspective. He encouraged me to stop only looking back, but to look ahead as well. He taught me to live in the now, and how to make myself comfortable right where I am.

‘In the months after July 17th 2014, I discovered that being a victim of a national disaster is something that stays with you forever. Maybe it’s like a covenant you sign involuntarily, without the possibility to withdraw or resign. People who say that life goes on mean it well, but with a loss of this magnitude, parts of your life actually stop. They are never coming back. That does not get better. It will never be over and it will never be alright. The only thing that happens, is that it it becomes bearable. Time has its way with it, whether you want it to or not. For years I refused to accept that. I resisted, the grief wasn’t supposed to get better. My fathers hands around my cold feet, my mothers voice at my bedside. If the grief would wear off, I would lose them again. It took me quite some time to realize it doesn’t work that way. I discovered that there is one part of them I could never lose; the part that is in me.’ 

Read full text (in Dutch) here

Media News


In mijn nachtmerries zie ik ze weer in dat vliegtuig zitten


De ouders van Marieke Poelmann (27) vertrokken vijf jaar geleden op een droomreis naar Zuid-Afrika. Op de terugweg crashte hun vliegtuig bij Tripoli. Marieke schreef er het boek ‘Alles om jullie heen is er nog’ over.

“Vorig jaar. Ik ben op fietsvakantie met mijn vriend. We fietsen van Amsterdam naar Berlijn en als we bij een camping aankomen, zet ik mijn telefoon aan. Gemiste oproepen. WhatsApp-jes. ‘Ik denk aan je meis!’ ‘Wat zal dit een moeilijk moment voor je zijn.’ Ik heb geen idee wat er aan de hand is en krijg een onbestemd gevoel. Het is 17 juli 2014. In Oekraïne is een vliegtuig neergestort. Een vliegtuig vol Nederlanders. Het is alsof ik vijf jaar terug in de tijd geslingerd word. Als ik het nieuws teruglees op mijn telefoon, zeg ik tegen mijn vriend dat ik het gevoel heb dat ik iemand aan boord ken. Hoe groot is de kans?”

In VIVA 28, 8 t/m 14 juli

Media News Uitgelicht

JAN Magazine


Ruim vijf jaar geleden verliest Marieke Poelmann (27) haar beide ouders bij de vliegramp in Tripoli. De eerste weken is het verdriet te groot om erbij te kunnen. Toch zit ze vijf dagen na de begrafenis zelf weer in het vliegtuig. ‘Je bent altijd sterker dan je denkt.’

Interview: Nienke Pleysier
Fotografie: Brenda van Leeuwen
Visagie: Ronald Huisinga

In het julinummer van JAN Magazine

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Articles News interview series – V Jojanneke

You can never be unreasonable again

Final episode of the short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Jojanneke van den Bosch. She lost both of her parents. „The people surrounding someone who lost his or her parents can take over a small part of the parents’ role. Doing nothing is always a bad idea.”


What is it like to lose your parents at a young age and what’s the best way to deal with that by the people surrounding an orphan? Communications expert Jojanneke van den Bosch (39) answers questions like these. Questions that people are afraid to ask, because death is still taboo. With her website and her book So, You’re An Orphan Now Van den Bosch wants to use her own experiences about becoming an orphan to help others. She lost her father and her mother, five months apart. She and her sister were left behind, all on their own when she was just 14 years old.

„Orphans don’t really stand out in our society because we have a very mediatised and conditioned image of an orphan. People think about Oliver Twist, Annie, or Harry Potter. Somebody who is really sad or really tough. Apart from that, it’s still a taboo. Not because these children are a taboo themselves, but because mortality is. If your child tells you a classmate’s mother died, you think: damn it, that could have been me.

I want people to know how many children lose their parents in The Netherlands. I calculated those numbers myself, the Central Bureau of Statistics never investigated it. Later on they finally did, in 2013 the Central Bureau of Statistics published a report stating that there are 34.000 orphans and half-orphans under 18 in The Netherlands. According to the CBS, that number is raised every year by 6.000 new (half)orphans. But when you’re 20 years old, in a way you’re also still a child. So if you add young people up to 23 years old, that adds another 25 percent.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here

Articles News interview series – IV Linda

I’m a fighter, just like my mom

Short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Linda de Best. She lost her father when she was still a toddler and her mother a year ago. „Focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost.”


Linda de Best (25) was only four years old when her father ended his life by jumping in front of a train. Linda herself was suffering from leukemia at the time. She was left behind, together with her mother, and was cured. She grew up as a happy child and was very close to her mother. Until her mother got hit by a car last year. She ended up in a coma and died. Linda talks about how the loss of her parents dictates her life, then and now.

„In kindergarten I raised my finger and said: ‘my father is dead’. I got kicked out of class, the other children weren’t supposed to hear it.  I found out about this in my mom’s old notes, I can’t remember it myself. I never knew my mother kept a diary at the time, I found the notebooks after she died. I could read that she was desperate at times, I never knew about that either. I wish I could talk to her about it.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here

Articles News interview series – III Katja

How do I put this on Facebook?

Short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Katja Renkers. She lost her parents and her brother, less than a year ago in the MH17 disaster. She talks about how personal loss becomes public through media and social media.


Katja Renkers (20) was 19 when her parents and brother Tim died in the MH17 crash. She was still living at home. Surrounded by photos of her father, mother and brother, Katja talks about her loss.

Have fun and I love you. Those are the last things we said to each other in our family WhatsApp group. Ten minutes before take-off. I only opened it twice after July 17th. A week after the crash everything was still in there. A couple of months later I got a notification that my mother had been removed from the group and my brother had left the group. I was shocked. I still don’t get it. That must mean that someone else is using their phone or their phone number, but why would anyone do something like that?

I cried when I dropped them off at the airport. I felt so stupid about that, I was going to see them again in just four weeks. I had already booked my own vacation with my friends, if I hadn’t I would’ve come with them. As I drove off, I looked at them one last time through my rear view mirror. I almost hit another car. Luckily my dad didn’t see it, I was driving his lease car. They were worried about me returning home safely from Schiphol airport in that car. If only I had been more worried about them.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here

Media News

NTR Academie

Vijf jaar geleden kwamen de ouders van Marieke Poelmann om het leven bij de vliegtuigramp in Tripoli. Haar leven veranderde voorgoed. Over dat immense verlies en over de invloed van zo’n ingrijpende gebeurtenis, schreef ze het boek ‘Alles om jullie heen is er nog’.

In de ochtend van 12 mei 2015 verongelukte het vliegtuig van Afriqiyah Airways in Tripoli. Van de 104 inzittenden overleefde een jongen de ramp, de overige 103 niet. Onder hen 70 Nederlanders.

Presentatie: Marcia Welman.