Interview, News|

"To successfully present the Netherlands as an innovative and forward-looking partner that can make a difference in the world."

Bram has been part of the EXPO team since September 2018 when Dutch participation first started taking shape. He is responsible for the programme in the pavilion and continually engages with interested stakeholders, including companies, knowledge institutes and other enthusiastic partners.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
‘I have been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for five years now. First as a policy officer, a role in which I was responsible for maintaining and deepening the strong economic relations between South East Asia and the Netherlands. I live in Rotterdam with my wife and two-year-old son. We have a new baby on the way as well. Exciting times for all three of us!’

When did you start working for the EXPO team?
‘I joined the EXPO team in September 2018, tasked with developing a comprehensive programme that reflected Dutch policy on the ‘Water-Energy-Food nexus’ theme. I started by setting up teams to represent the most engaged stakeholders from each of these sectors.’

What motivates you most about your work on the EXPO project?
‘Working together with all kinds of businesses to show what great innovations are made in the Netherlands and by Dutch companies.’

What have you achieved over the past two years?
‘I’ve worked with companies, knowledge institutions, embassies, government bodies and other relevant parties, to successfully present the Netherlands as an innovative and forward-looking partner that can make a difference in the world. The teams have played an important role in this. They have brought together a network of stakeholders that make the programme not only comprehensive but also relevant.’

What does a normal working day look like for you?
‘Usually I start by reading up on the latest economic news and replying to emails. My colleagues and I check whether there are relevant events we can take part in or link to the Dutch participation in the EXPO. And I have meetings with the core team project managers to hear about developments and new ideas or collaborations.’

What do you like most about your job?
‘I enjoy collaborating with different companies and creating a programme that aligns with the Dutch participation in the EXPO. ‘

How do you create an inspiring and complete programme in the Dutch pavilion?
‘By working together with like-minded countries. We can make a bigger impact together, by connecting different programmes and appealing events. Not only in the Dutch pavilion, but also in other pavilions in the Sustainability District.’

EXPO 2020 Dubai has been postponed. How is this affecting your job? And does this open up any new opportunities?
‘Of course it was necessary to postpone to allow everyone – people in general and businesses – to get back on their feet. The coronavirus outbreak is impacting the whole world and we will need time to recover and move on. The world will not be the same as before. But people and businesses are flexible and very inventive, we’re seeing that more clearly than ever in these difficult times. New initiatives and ideas are being thought up all the time and the delay means these too can be showcased at the EXPO when it opens in October 2021.’

What would you like to say to readers of
‘I hope to see you in Dubai!

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