How did you get involved with the Dutch Chamber and what was your role?
Working for the Netherlands Embassy trade department, we noticed a need for Dutch entrepreneurs to congregate and rely on a pivotal point to meet with fellow professional country(wo)men and Swedish business counterparts. As a trade officer, I happened to be in the fortunate position to welcome many Dutch corporate professionals as well as entrepreneurs in Sweden and built an extensive network.
It eventually ensued in forming the Dutch Chamber, together with a team of great people (the first Executive Board, Advisory Board and the Regional Managers): the founders of the Chamber with a total of 22 volunteers in seven subsidiary offices in Sweden and the Netherlands.
What were the challenges faced during the first starting period of the DC?
Any new entity needs to create its place in a trade promoting constellation that, at that point, logically considers itself to be sufficient to its potential audience. It’s been a challenge to earn our birthright, convincing all parties, target audience and authorities involved of the Chamber’s right of existence and reason to be, its purpose and give evidence that there’s sufficient critical mass to found it. Today’s position of the Chamber proves that we weren’t totally wrong at the time and ‘were out and cycling’.
What were your best memories from that period?
Undoubtedly, the very moment that I witnessed the Swedish Ambassador in the Netherlands and the Netherlands Ambassador to Sweden literally tied the knot on stage, marking the starting moment and recognition of the Chamber, with all 22 volunteers on stage and the Embassy ballroom full of some 150 supporting attendees. I extremely much enjoyed the passionate atmosphere and driven energy with all founders involved at the time, the great inspiring fun meetings we’ve had and the many good moments we spent together working at something great. Sounds a bit American, but that’s how we all lived it, I think. I’m also very grateful to the people and good friends that over the years presided over the Chamber, making it prosper.
What do you do nowadays?
After my unforgettable eight years in Sweden, I moved to work for the embassy in Brussels and ten years ago was asked to found the Netherlands Business Support Office in Barcelona for our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Having helped many companies over the years and building the professional network, becoming an international Business Development consultant was a given. I currently work as VP Global Sales for Rojo Consultancy, a Dutch IPaaS/software company with HQ in Breukelen, but based on the beach of Castelldefels, nearby our Barcelona branch office.
I’m a proud father of two 100% Dutch + 100% Swedish children of which one will assume her career with the Swedish Chamber in the Netherlands this Summer. In that respect, I can’t think of a more elegant and remarkable completion of the Swedish-Dutch trade promoting circle.