A central location, excellent facilities, and almost daily meetings in inspiring locations. This combination makes Amersfoort the network location of the Netherlands. If anyone could confirm this, it would be ‘network-tiger’ Danny Rietveld. This young entrepreneur initiated the business platform OnderNamen here in 2008, which has evolved into the region’s biggest entrepreneurs’ platform. He is positive: “Amersfoort is the networking capital of the Netherlands”.
Networking in Amersfoort
Rietveld knows what he’s talking about. As publisher of OnderNamen, he visits many networking receptions in other cities. “Amersfoort, as a networking location, has an incredible amount to offer”, he states. “If you wanted, you could join some networking breakfast somewhere each and every day. And I haven’t even mentioned the many other thematic meetings yet. There’s no place where so many things are organised. On just about every corner there’s a spot that could perfectly facilitate such a meeting. Whether you’re looking for a historical setting, for something chic, or for something green, everything’s available. And all that at the very cadastral centre of the Netherlands; a place that is easy to reach for anyone. What more could you hope for? If you like networking, Amersfoort is the place to be.”
The abundant offer also harbours a risk, as Rietveld is aware. “It shouldn’t all be too much, and too sectarian. The inner city, the real estate businesses, young entrepreneurs, etc.: they all have their own little club. For the sake of unity in the region’s business community, it’s important to also combine the efforts more. There will be a joint new year’s meeting. That’s an initiative I welcome.”
Rietveld is enthusiastic about the networking environment in Amersfoort. He experienced it as a young’un in his early twenties in the Amersfoort business community himself: you’ll get a shot as a newcomer in this region. “As long as you show your face at networking meetings, and you present yourself sincerely on those occasions. Just be yourself. Then networking almost always pays off over here.”
OnderNamen in the region Amersfoort has grown steeply since its foundation in 2008. By now, the business platform counts about 250 members, with a surrounding network of a few hundred business people. Every quarter a business magazine is published with news, interviews, and columns by and about the entrepreneurs and their companies. All content tunes in to the region Amersfoort. OnderNamen links entrepreneurs from small and mid-sized businesses. The magazine is a starting- and a reference point. It is presented during networking events where members are invited. Rietveld: “That’s when the magazine goes ‘live’, and we always turn it into a nice event, usually dedicated to a theme”. The pinnacle has become the old year’s meeting Amersfoort in December. That’s when the magazine publishes its annual Top-50 entrepreneurs from the area that have particularly distinguished themselves over the past year. The winner receives the prestigious award ‘Gouden Parel Amersfoort’, the ‘Amersfoort golden pearl’. “It is really cool to see that this election has evolved into one of Amersfoort’s annual highlights.”
“Our strength is that we’re a business platform for all entrepreneurs”, says Rietveld. “From small and mid-sized businesses to the big multi-nationals: they’re all welcome to join. It doesn’t matter how old the business people are, or in what sector they operate. You know what’s great? Every businessman has his own story. And we love sharing it. We are, indeed, the most accessible and varied networking club in the region. I am proud of OnderNamen, each and every day. And that’s why I’m fighting every day to get ahead a bit more. Our main goal for the coming years? I’d like to double the number of members, especially by engaging beautiful entrepreneurs from small and mid-sized businesses from around Amersfoort. Take Nijkerk, for example, Leusden, Soest, etc. We can still make important progress there. In short: we’re far from done, here in Amersfoort!”