2020 cartoon showing Dutch extreme-right politician Thierry Baudet calling out to the media to tell the public it's all the media's fault.

Tom Janssen is a Dutch political cartoonist for Trouw and several regional newspapers, active since 1976. He signs his work with simply "Tom", and is known for his sharp, but subtle and nuanced commentaries on national and international politics.

Early life and career
Janssen was born in 1950 in Breda. He studied at the Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam, with the intention of becoming a cartoonist. One of his major influences is the Australian-American cartoonist Pat Oliphant. After graduation, the Catholic cartoonist was hired by Trouw, a newspaper aiming at a Dutch Reformed demographic. His first political cartoon was published in 1976, and he has remained affiliated to the newspaper since. He generally makes two cartoons for the paper's opinion pages, and also illustrates news and background articles.

Cartoon from December 2005. An Iraqi citizen wants to kill "all Americans". Nevertheless he still takes time to cast a vote, ironically a privilege he owes to U.S. troops making democratic elections in Iraq possible, after overthrowing dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. 

Other publications
Besides Trouw, Janssen is also a regular contributor to several Dutch local and regional newspapers. Since 1983, his drawings have appeared in Brabants Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Dagblad van het Noorden, Leeuwarder Courant, Limburgs Dagblad and Noordhollands Dagblad. He also works for Cobouw, the independent newspaper of the Dutch construction industry, and for company magazines such as Nestor (UnieKBO), Diagonaal (VWS) and the Consumentenbond (the Dutch "Consumers' League). Internationally, his cartoons and syndicated through the agencies Cagle Cartoons, Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate and Le Courrier International to publications like The International Herald Tribune (nowadays The International New York Times), Time Magazine, Le Monde and The New York Times.

"Not one cent extra!" "Not one!" Cartoon about the Dutch thriftiness with regard to the European Union (23 February 2018). Janssen stated in Noordhollands Dagblad of 23 November 2020 that he enjoys drawing Dutch Prime-Minister Mark Rutte, because of his lively appearance.

Throughout his career, Tom Janssen has caricaturized a great many national and international politicians. Most of his cartoons are single panels, but he sometimes uses the sequential comics format. Recurring themes are the relationships between citizens and governments, successful business people and average workers and different population groups. While his humor gives sharp commentary on the news, it is seldomly aggressive, controversial or offensive. Janssen's style is nuanced, ironic and intends to disarm and spoof mankind's absurd behavior.

2005 cartoon about the U.S. government, United Nations and European Union's indecisiveness regarding military interference in Darfur, Sudan, where a long-lasting genocide took place. 

Janssen was awarded the annual Inktspotprijs twice. On 20 January 2005 he won the 2004 Inktspotprijs for a cartoon showing UN ambassadors in a field of corpses, doubting whether the Darfur conflict "qualifies as a genocide?". On 15 January 2009 he won the 2008 Inktspotprijs for a cartoon about the economic crisis, published on 23 September 2008 in Trouw. The drawing depicts a hand begging for money, while wearing a Rolex at the same time, referring how the wealthy arrogantly beg for money. In 2006 Janssen's 'Roadmap to Paradise' cartoon won the third prize in the World Press Cartoon contest in the category "Editorial Cartoons 2005". That same cartoon, showing a terrorist with backpack checking the London subway network with final destination "Paradise", won him the 2006 BeNe Prize. He received the second prize in the 2009 World Press Cartoon contest for his drawing about New York skyscrapers turned into dominoes. In 2011 he was awarded the Markiezenhofpenning, a Dutch cartoonists' oeuvre prize. On 26 September 2021 Janssen was awarded the Libex Award at the European Cultural Festival Lector in Fabula for a cartoon (published on 13 June 2020 in Trouw) depicting white people showing their support for the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, while a black streetsweeper stares at them.

On 6 October 2021 Janssen was also honoured with the European Cartoon Award for a drawing about Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. The cartoon, published earlier in Trouw, shows how people try to pull down Lukashenko's statue, while a mime, representing the European Union, pretends he's doing the same. 

With a career spanning over 45 years, Tom Janssen's cartoon output is estimated at 15,000 drawings. In 2018, he donated his archives to the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The institute opened an overview exposition of the man's work in its The Hague division in September 2020.

Tom Janssen paying homage to his inspirator Pat Oliphant, published in Trouw on 4 December 2020, at the occasion of the cartoonist's 70th anniverary.


Series and books by Tom Janssen you can order today:


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