Thomas van Kleef

Thomas (Thom) van Kleef (Rotterdam, 1954), has been at the helm of Jan XVII since 2006. Around his fortieth birthday he ‘accidentally’ ended up in the St. Adalbert’s Abbey in Egmond-Binnen, where Life itself grabbed him by the guts. Much to his own surprise, a monastic life turned out to be just right for him. Only “not in this monastery and not in this way”. But how? And where? And by what financial means? Without any prospect of the realization of his dreams, Van Kleef continued on the unexpected path that had opened up for him. Packed lighter and lighter. Working as a dishwasher in a Swiss hotel, he heard of a vacancy at Jan XVII. And the rest is history.

Genetically predisposed

Looking back at his life history, it should come as no surprise that Thomas eventually got involved in this line of living. Nor that he gives it his own groundbreaking twist. Spirituality is in his genes both on his mother’s and father’s side, was introduced to him at an early age and was the leading theme throughout his upbringing.

Earlier life

Thomas van Kleef previously worked as a communications consultant. In the eighties he was the first in the Netherlands to set up a communication consultancy practice for cultural institutions. His clients included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Holland Festival, the Early Music Festival and De Nederlandse Opera. He also gained the necessary knowledge and experience in New York. He lived there for seven years and worked for the New York City Center, Ellen Jacobs Associates, and Philip Glass’s manager Margaret Wood, among others. Also in New York, Van Kleef managed the Madison Avenue store of Dutch designer Hans Appenzeller. Prior to entering professional life Thomas  studied law and public administration at Leiden University.

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