Time to say goodbye and look back. After five years I am leaving the Board of the Swedish Chamber, because I have stepped down from my role as managing Director of Mercuri Urval after 20 years.
So no Swedish link anymore in my formal role. Alas! Mercuri Urval, executive search and talent services, established in Stockholm more than 50 years ago, has been a member and patron of the Swedish Chamber as long as I can remember. We have always been enthusiastic about the Swedish Chamber as a platform where you can meet a lot of interesting people from interesting companies with all one thing in common: Swedish/Dutch business. So for me it was an honour when I got the request to join the Board five years ago. I am looking back at enjoyable years in which I have learned a lot and exchanged a lot of ideas with my fellow Board members and SCC members. And I am pleased I can present Rik Zuidmeer as my successor representing Mercuri Urval in the Board.
In my opinion we can be very proud of such an active Chamber of Commerce. The Board has had two chairmen during ‘my’ five years, Nils van Dijkman from Heussen Advocaten and Ehsan Turabaz from Inter IKEA Group, both equally enthusiastic and committed to the Chamber. With Kerstin Gerlagh as the admirable driving force in the Chamber, many, many events were organised. People from a variety of Dutch and Swedish companies have met there, visited plants and other company locations, had presentations and interesting discussions with business people and representatives of government and politics. The master class lunches in Amsterdam with the excellent international speakers are events worthy to remember as well. Next to all the business events there were the enjoyable social events such as the yearly Lucia Dinner with original Swedish food and choir. There the Chamber handed out the Swedish Chamber Business Awards to remarkable performing Swedish companies in The Netherlands.
During the years I have also experienced the smooth and very supportive co-operation with the Swedish Embassy and the respective Ambassadors. A special thank you to the current Honorary Chairwoman of the SCC H.E. Ambassador of Sweden Mrs. Annika Markovic.
The Young Professionals is an active part of the Chamber as well. I was happy to be invited at their very entertaining 10th anniversary event! I have met a lot of young Swedish and Dutch people, working for mostly Swedish companies in The Netherlands, during the 5 years I was involved in and leading the Mentor Group. We have amongst each other exchanged a lot of learnings on careers, business and culture. I would like to thank as well all the enthusiastic mentors from our member companies, that have volunteered to be a mentor, despite their very busy jobs. Thank you all, both mentors and mentees, for the interesting meetings we have had!
Moving from De Ruijterkade in Amsterdam to the new dynamic Epicenter has marked the start of a new episode in the Chamber’s activities. New opportunities and more contacts with businesses 2.0 or even 3.0. The challenges all companies face today in securing their continuity and sustainable growth in a digitized and demanding environment are on the agenda every day. Both Sweden and The Netherlands are countries where companies are working hard to find solutions for our common future. Everyone who has visited an event of the Chamber at the Epicenter will have sensed the positive business atmosphere.
I wish all members and the Board of the Swedish Chamber many more years of fruitful business networking and prosperous business.