The story originates a few decades ago.
Our mission: Aid men on their journey from the mind to the heart
The Return of the King
Our form of men’s work is based on the book written by Ton, titled “De Terugkeer van de Koning” (The Return of the King), which was published in the Netherlands in 1996. It is more relevant than ever and still available for purchase, and it has also been translated into six other languages.
Ton’s book is part of the tradition of “mythopoetic men’s work,” which was initiated in the early 1990s by the American poet Robert Bly. This form of men’s work heavily draws upon Jungian principles, utilizing symbols, stories, archetypes, and emphasizing the balance between masculine and feminine qualities in both men and women.
The Core Team
Heart of Men is led by Ton van der Kroon, Dirk Koops, Vicky Froyen, Sven Beyers, and Jan Roelofs.
Ton and Jan had been conducting men’s workshops for about 20 years when they came up with the idea for Heart of Men in 2013: an open gathering of men from diverse backgrounds. The first Heart of Men four-day event took place in June 2013 in a location that could be considered the center of Europe: the forests and hills of the Belgian Ardennes, near the French border. Since then, Ton has organized Heart of Men gatherings with other men in various places (Ibiza, Israel, Gaza). However, we still consider the Oost West Centrum near Orval as our home base: every year in June, men from all around gather there to open their hearts to themselves and each other.
Dirk, Vicky, and Sven initially participated as attendees and gradually became co-facilitators, contributing to our form of men’s work. The principle of Open Space remains our guiding principle, but with this website, we are taking that principle to the virtual level.