Bio Ria

Born: the 24th of June 1946
Married, 3 sons: Magiel, Willem, Gyz, 4 grandchildren: Bowy, Roxy, Angel, Zoë

Ria is a child of Bram Zwarts and Maria Cornelia Holst. Bram came from a family of farmers, greenhouses, etc. He had a few acres greenhouses near the Rotter river (Rotterdam). On that yard many familymembers lived in houses, caravans, etc. Secundary education didnot work out for Ria. So Ria started working in a fashionshop quite young. Here she really learned all about fashion and styling. Later she worked a while for her brother in law (a Baptist minister) followed by some years working for Opwekking (a national ministry). In this religious world she experienced manipulation. You can read that in Ria’s book: ‘Stolen Innocence’.
She met Leen in these circles, but he was totally different as what she saw in those manipulating ‘evangelical circles’. One of those leaders visited her just before marriage, to warn her not to marry Leen, as he was seen as a dangerous person (he didnot want to obey those manipulative leaders). Sad situation, but true. Even the churchservice turned out to be a nightmare by the absurd behaviour of the leading evangelical evangelist. But they married anyway. Living with Leen became an adventure.
The world of the arts stimulated Ria to develope those gifts: Ria started to write, to do styling again, etc. Within the annual CA-Seminar she has her own unique and refreshing contributions.

chief administration and finances Continental Art Centre
Styling since 1986 of all the  European Continental groups till 2008
Author of her own column in magazine Music & Art/SIGNS
Started in 2006 her own shop in fashion and art ‘Chez Maria’, see

Leadership responsibilities

  • member of the board of Continental Sound (since 1972)
  • member of the board of Continental Ministries Europe (since 1986)
  • member of the board of Christian Artists Europe (since 1981)
  • member curatorium European Academy for Culture & the Arts (since 2002)
  • founder and member of the board of the Association against religious manipulation see:

Other activities

  • speaker at conferences
  • consultant fashion and styling
  • advisor for councelors
  • leadership forum-discussions
  • followed NOS-course presentation & interview by Jaap Brand

Special recognition
On April 30, 2003 Ria got the special honour to became  member of the order of Oranje-Nassau (of the Queen of the Netherlands) because of her incredible contributions for social, cultural and youth activities.