I am a dad to four little children, as well as a husband, and I live close to a vulnerable dune area. That’s why I spend my time trying to make things better, with big ideas and small but tangible actions.
I studied law and history at the University of Groningen. I got my law degree, and over the years I have rediscovered my interest in history.
We set out to write a consultancy report, but ended up making an action plan with a small group of people, including public and private parties.
On other occasions, we created a new entity or set up a very specific network for the new counselor of the Dutch Minister of Transport.
Over the last 17 years, I have provided advice to a lot of clients from different backgrounds. I have also taken part in new initiatives, all the while trying to translate a long term vision and strategy into tangible actions.
When I was travelling around the world, speaking to many interesting people, I realised I should record those conversations.
Over the last two years, I have developed myself to become a professional podcaster, assisted by a production and editing team consisting of Andy Clark and Richard den Haring (Studio Lijn 14 and ex- BBC).
I am now part of the Expert Podcast Network of Business News Radio (BNR) in Amsterdam.
The person in the picture is my favourite guest.
I lecture on entrepreneurship, innovation, behavioural 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 its most notable successes is EV-BOX USA, a company selling Dutch charging poles (https://www.evbox.us/).
In 2014, FastNed founder Bart Lubbers approached me with the idea of exploiting fast-charging stations in the Netherlands. Fastned extended its network to England and Germany and has been listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange since 2019.
Every year, I try to make one or more study trips to foreign cities. Sharing knowledge and experiencing a new system for yourself is very important (and fun). It allows me to have more in-depth conversations with experts and policymakers afterwards.
My first study trip to California in 2012, to see how the West Coast dealt with the introduction of electric transport, was just legendary.
Since then, I have been to Stuttgart, Cologne, Paris, Bilbao, London, New York and Los Angeles, trying out new cycle lanes (LA), recently expanded underground networks (Paris) and many other innovations. Although the systems, languages, and cultures differ, the essential questions are the same everywhere.
After a discussion regarding new policies, I proposed the idea to let people experience an alternative form of transport to and from work. So that they could experience what worked for them, rather than just talk about it.
Over a period of five years, 200 corporate companies, such as Unilever, EY, and Microsoft made their approximately 10,000 employees leave their car at home for a month. They let them experience what it was to ride a bike to work, use public transport or try another form of transport. The result: after five years, 30% of the employees had structurally changed their means of transport.
In 2008, when electric means of transport started emerging, I was involved in the introduction of these (electric bicycles, cars, buses and, as a long term project, trucks) in the Netherlands. I founded a branch association called DOET (Dutch Organisation for Electric Vehicles, www.doetdoet.nl).
Furthermore, I was a member of the Formule E-team, a public-private partnership aimed at stimulating the development of electric transport in Holland, and helped 50 corporate companies change their fleet management regime as well as their company policy regarding transport.
In 2012, I took a huge career step, joining a very small and unknown NGO, Urgenda. That status would change rapidly.
Working with its director Marjan Minnesma (4 x Number 1 in the Dutch ‘Sustainable 100’ list) has taught me an incredible amount about sustainability and transition management in a practical setting.
In 2004, I started the process of importing traditional Thai tuk-tuks from Bangkok to Europe, founding the Tuk Tuk Company together with a friend. A couple of years later we were the first company in Europe allowed to drive a commercial tuk-tuk taxi.
In 2009, we established the first factory to produce electric tuk-tuks, which were even exported to the USA.
I had been walking around with the idea of writing a book about my first steps as an entrepreneur for quite a while before I actually put pen to paper.
Eventually, I published my book ‘Tuk Tuk Company’ in 2019. It tells the tale of all the mistakes I made and the adventures I came across when starting my first company.
Order the book and find out a lot more about me:
In the next few years, I hope to publish more stories in the form of an essay or short book.