Being a dad of four little children, a husband, and living close to a vulnerable dune area, I try to spend my time making things better, with big ideas and small concrete actions.
I studied law and history at the University of Groningen. I got my law degree, but through the years my interest in history came back.
Instead of writing a consultancy report as planned, we made an action plan with a small group (both public and private parties), set up a new entity, or made a very concrete network for the new counselor or the Dutch Minister of Transport.
During the last 17 years, I have advised different clients and I have been a part of new initiatives, trying to translate a long term vision and strategy into concrete actions.
While meeting many interesting people around the world, I had the idea to record these conversations. During the last two years, I became a professional podcaster with the help of a production and editing team consisting of Andy Clark and Richard den Haring (Studio Lijn 14 and ex- BBC). Now I’m a part of the Expert Podcast Network of BNR (Business News Radio in Amsterdam).
The person in the picture is my favorite guest.
I give lectures on entrepreneurship, innovation, behavioral change and urban accessibility both in The Netherlands and abroad.
Five years ago, I invested in Tim Kreukniet’s company Energy Transition New York as a way of stimulating Dutch Cleantech companies in the United States. Some of the most notable successes are EV BOX USA (selling Dutch charging poles: https://www.evbox.us/)
In 2014 FastNed founder Bart Lubbers approached me with the idea to exploit fast-charging stations in the Netherlands. Fastned grew its network in England en Germany and went to the Amsterdam stock exchange in 2019.
I try to make study trips to foreign cities every year. It is important (and fun) to share knowledge and to experience a new system for yourself. Afterward, a more in-depth conversation with experts and policymakers is possible.
Legendary was the first trip to California in 2012 to see how the introduction of electric transport was going on the West Coast. The last years I have furthermore been to Germany (Stuttgart and Koln), Paris, Bilbao, London, New York and Los Angelos (USA). To, among others, bike on new cycleways in Los Angelos and try the expanded metro line (Paris).
Although the systems, languages, and cultures differ, the essential questions are the same.
Proud? yes! After a discussion for new policies, I offered the idea to let people experience an alternative form of transportation to work for a month. Experience what works for you, not only talk about it.
In five years, 200 corporate company’s, like Unilever, EY, and Microsoft let their approximately 10.000 employees leave their car at home for a month. They let them experience driving a bike to work, using public transport or try another form of transportation. The result: after five years, 30% structurally changed their means of transportation.
In the very early stage (2008) I got involved in the introduction of electric transport (bicycles, cars, busses and in the longer term trucks). I established a branch association DOET (Dutch Organisation for Electric Vehicles, www.doetdoet.nl). Furthermore, I was a member of the Formule E-team (the national program public-private partnership, to introduce electric transport to Holland) and helped 50 corporate companies changing their fleet management and company policy.
In 2012, I took a huge career step, joining a very small and unknown NGO, Urgenda. That would change rapidly. Rarely I have learned so much in practice about sustainability and transition management than working with director Marjan Minnesma (4x number 1 in the Dutch ‘Sustainable 100’-list).
In 2004 I started to import the traditional Thai Tuk Tuk from Bangkok to Europe. Thereby, becoming the first company to be allowed to drive a commercial Tuk Tuk taxi in Europe. Later we established the first electric Tuk Tuk factory which produced electric Tuk Tuk’s. These Tuk Tuk’s were even exported to the USA.
For some time, I had the idea to write a book about my first steps as an entrepreneur. In 2019 I published ‘Tuk Tuk Company’, about all the mistakes and adventures I came across when starting my first company. Here you can order the book. If you do, you will learn a lot more about me:
In the next years, I hope to publish more stories in an essay or short book form.