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    Happy in Tampere – feeling like Ronia

    This story is about cycling, cats, drawing a picture every day and some other important things in life. Tampere – All Bright! Magazine introduces Loes van Dorp, a Dutch artist living in Tampere.

    As we meet, it is a nice sunny day in May, and Loes van Dorp's 120th day in Finland. She knows the exact amount of days because she is drawing one numbered picture a day about what is happening in her life. It is a kind of a personal diary, but there is also a public version available in Dirty Cars and Million Cows blog, so you can see Tampere through her eyes.

    – For me this is really eye candy all the time, beautiful and interesting. I like the old red-brick industrial buildings in the city centre and the way nature is so very close anywhere, van Dorp explains.

    She moved to Finland mid-January this year. Why? Simply because of love. First of all there is Michel, a Dutch she met and who already lived in Finland. Then there is "that certain Ronia feeling" after a novel Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. It has captured some elements of Nordic life that just touch her deeply.

    –  I know the book by heart and I often feel like Ronia when I'm walking in a forest or cycling here. Coming to Finland was like coming home, van Dorp tells.

    One day van Dorp is going to be able to read her favorite novel in Finnish, too. She'll get a good start on an 11-month full time language course. A 5 days a week, 5 hours a day regime of Finnish language is both exciting and a bit worrisome. 

    – Well, it is a different kind of language than Dutch or Swedish, and harder than I originally expected, but I'm willing to learn it, she says.

    It is time to talk about the cats. van Dorp moved to Tampere with her cat Schrijver (Dutch for writer) and a bit later a new feline family member was introduced. He is called Lumi (Finnish for snow) and he participates in the interview by putting his paws on my notepad every now and then.

    – He likes pencils. This is what he is always doing when I'm drawing, van Dorp explains.

    The bigger cat Schrijver is also helping van Dorp with her tasks. She is delivering the local free newspaper Tamperelainen twice a week, and Schrijver follows her on her rounds. Smartly.

    – If there is a busy road to cross, Schrijver stops and waits while I deliver the papers on the other side.


    Loes van Dorp is an artist. The core of her interests is creating images: drawings, illustrations, animations. Add music, film, photography, handicraft and various others, and you'll get the full scope.

    – You name it, I want to do it, she states.

    And then there is the possibility of teaching art. She has that planned for her future as well, and plans are being put into practice. It is early stages yet, but she is going forward with a business plan with two like-minded friends.

    – It would be nice to do teaching for some steady income and my own art projects without too much financial stress, she says.

    van Dorp's first impressions of Finland are best explained through art. See for yourself

    Loes van Dorp's website.


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