Meet Jeroen Swolfs; Streets of the World's photographer

Category Inspire me

In 2009, famous Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Swolfs started photographing street life around the world. With his 195 street photos taken in as many countries, Jeroen Swolfs wants to show a positive image of the world we live in. His project Streets of the World is the result of this impressive journey. It’s a photography project that does not only impress by its scale, but also by his intriguing outlook and his eye for people.

Curious where it all began? Read the full story here.

The 5-year old adventurer

Jeroen Swolfs was born in The Hague, a Dutch city in the West of the Netherlands on the 10th of August 1974. He grew up in Wassenaar where his life as an adventurer started around the age of 5, when he ran off with his best friend and tried to make it to Paris.

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get that far. His journey came to an end the same evening, when the police dropped him at home where his mom was on the edge of having a nervous breakdown due to the sudden disappearance of her son.

Constructive journalism

His career as a photographer started many years later when he was confused about his law studies and decided he wanted to do something more creative. So, he did. He started as a student at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam.

With a growing special interest for the world around him, Jeroen Swolfs began his career as a photojournalist, focusing mainly on political and social topics. Among other topics, he created photo series about returned Serbian refugees and about the Roma communities in Eastern Europe. In addition, he worked for de Volkskrant a national newspaper.

Then the famous question presented itself: is this it?

After an evening of drinking with friends Jeroen smashed his face into the sidewalk and decided it wasn’t. While literally facepalming the streets, the idea for Streets of the World was born. After three years of begging for money which he eventually found, it took Jeroen Swolfs seven years to photograph every capital city in the world and it doesn’t end there...

Jeroen decided to start all over again and travel for another seven years to share the stories he collected and to bring his photographs back to all these countries. This new journey has started with a pop-up exhibition in the Carlsberg factory in Copenhagen, a 5-day pop-up exhibition in a parking garage in Amsterdam South-East and a massive photo museum in Zaandam dedicated to the project, that has been around for 2 years and already has seen over 15.000 visitors.

In Streets of the World Jeroen heroes day to day life

Jeroen wants to bring his unique stories back to the people. Day to day life – more or less the same anywhere in the world – is the biggest hero of the project. An absolute eye-opener that can bring people closer together.

Jeroen Swolfs is a Canon Influencer, TEDx speaker and in 2016 National Geographic made a documentary about him called Streets of the World, which was aired in different countries.

Tags Photography Inspiration, Travel Inspiration, Adventure, Netherlands, Jeroen Swolfs



Imagine going to almost two hundred different countries searching the streets for what connects us as human beings.

Jeroen did it in 7 years and brought these streets together in his life's work Streets of the World. As you can imagine that was quite the adventure...

Discover the adventures he encountered in his e-book Streets of the World - the Stories and explore what a street means to society, education, wisdom, youth, experience, happiness, stories, food and so much more.