2 of 7) Rotterdam, Netherlands (aka Holland)

Netherlands In Rotterdam, Netherlands at the 30th EGOS (European Group for Organizational Studies) Colloquium’s Post-Doctoral and Early Career Scholars Pre-Colloquium Workshop, hosted by the Rotterdam School of Management, presenting my paper “Disparities in Duality Management Structure in Top Industrial Multinational Organizations in America Versus Europe”.

Fact about the paper: Top-performing industrial organizations based on 2012 total assets were analyzed and number and locations of organizations utilizing the duality management structure, whereas the CEO and Chairman of the Board are the same person,  the tenure of the CEOs who were also chairmen was 7.35 years, whereas the tenure of the CEOs of companies with a separate chairman was only 4.27 years.  In 2012, Forbes noted that the median age of Fortune 500 CEOs was 55 (Statistic Brain, 2012).  However, industrial CEOs in this study tended to be older, with the duality CEOs averaging 59.94 years. Country Manufacturing as a % of GDP (Rank of seven countries): 11.9%, 6th out of 7 (OECD stats) Country’s most Important Industries: Metal and engineering products, agriculture equipment, and petroleum. WWII fact:  The annihilation of the city by German bombs during the “Rotterdam Blitz”, where 25,000 homes were destroyed,  prompted the surrender of the Dutch in 1940, and the area soon became an area for the German air force in their UK attacks.   20,000 civilians starved to death in the 1944-45 winter. –

Well, I hopped on a train to Rotterdam from the Amsterdam airport as soon as I landed as to get there before kickoff.  The train took about an hour but I only missed kickoff by a few minutes.  Sure enough, the game was playing on a bigscreen TV in the train station.  This is the sort of scene I saw on several instances when I arrived and started walking towards the general scene, so I decided to set up shop at one and blended in.  As long as you aren’t a fan of the German team, they will accept you. IMG_3220.JPG

Well, the Dutch were down 1-0 until the end when they tied and then kicked a goal off a penalty to take the lead and win.  After the dramatic comeback, the streets were filled with people yelling and honking their horns.  It was an unbelievable scene.  It’ s like being in Dallas if the Cowboys were to make a last minute comeback in a playoff game. The conference was split up between the Early Scholars group (those seeking their PhD) and the Post-Doc group, those that have recently earned their PhD, and all met in joint sessions as well.  Our “post-doc” group of presenters had two French post-doc colleagues and two post-doc English colleagues.  It was good to compare notes with others who are in similar situations in their career. IMG_3324 Each of our papers were distributed to the group, and we spent an entire hour discussing each paper.  Out of 200 or so participants, I didn’t meet another American.  I have a few theories as to why.  They were here from all around the globe including very far away such as Australia, India, Japan, and Chile.  Great cultural diversity and very nice people.  I learned a lot from them. Group of session presenters Erasmus University is beautiful and very clean.  The conference took place in the management building and was very well organized. IMG_3328 

The Port of Rotterdam sees the most activity in Europe.  It was the busiest port on earth from 1962 until 2002, when a port in Singapore took over the top spot.  Much European cargo from underdeveloped areas goes through this port.  From working at US Customs and Border Protection for 3 years, I’m aware that very few shipments are manually inspected.  The supply chain efficiencies will come to a grinding halt if too many boxes are checked. rotte The Netherlands calls the 17th-century their Golden Age, when Dutch traders established a global economy.   Much cargo still flows through the port.  I wrote another article about consumer durables that discusses the Port of Rotterdam.  Here is one of many control towers on the port.  It’s an enormous operation. IMG_3239

Next was a site tour to the famous Van Nelle Factory IMG_3230.JPG

up “From 1931 until 1990, the Van Nelle Factory (Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek) was a factory used to produce coffee, tea and tobacco. When it opened its doors in 1931, it was one of the most innovative and modern buildings of its time.”  (Holland.com)   This original structure was a destination for global production architects.  It was one of the first factories to create space between the areas rather than cram everything in and ended be oming an architecture envy.


It was considered a modern marvel when it was erected in the 1920s during the country’s economic expansion and originally produced tobacco, tea, and coffee by a local family business that was established in 1798.

Here, they have a display showing the traditional tobacco labels.
Every floor was a separate production line. This floor was for tabak, or “tobacco”.

German intentionally didn’t bomb it but production facilities nearby were bombed and it caught some of the shrapnel and damaged some of the building.  The Germans utilized the top floor of the building for lookout posts.

The Germans utilized the top floor of the building for lookout posts.
Men and women walked up different stairways- it was far away enough to “shake hands but not kiss”, as seen in the different stairs for the different genders.
The famous diagonal walkways around the facilities were not planned that way. They weren’t horizontal because they were built on one side during the 1920s to connect the upper levels, but when there wasn’t enough money to build the upper level on the opposite side, they just connected them with the lower floor on the opposite side instead.

Philip Morris acquired it in the 1990s but didn’t operate for too long.  Today, the ground floor is booked as a venue for events, as it has appeal as a historic brand and venue.  It is primarily used for multimedia and video design, architecture firms, and other companies that operate but not produce there.  Mostly service organizations work there now. – My favorite part of the trip was the trip to a Rotterdam Rotary club meeting.  It was in the municipality of Delfshaven, which grew in population and economic might due to their harbour.  When I arrived, I was surprised to notice that it wasn’t at a hotel like I was accustomed.  The gentleman that opened the door informed me that he owned the building and that it was a microbrewery.  The downstairs was a restaurant and the upstairs, where the Rotary meetings are held, is an event room.  He showed me where he brews the beer and we discussed the industry for awhile.  There seem to be lots of similar microbreweries popping up in America but there have been quite a few operating already in Rotterdam for many years.  People like to keep their money local and take pride in drinking a local beer.

Here is the production operations where the Rotary club has their meetings.Enter a caption

I was surprised to learn that prior inhabitants next door were the “Pilgrim” family.  In 1960, the Pilgrim Fathers had their last church service, left to America and the rest is history.


The other Rotarians were extremely nice and personable.  They couldn’t have been better hosts.  They socialized for about 20 minutes before the meeting began.  Everyone ordered a drink, so I thought I should do the same.

A Classy Setup

I had a chance to look around the room and noticed this picture of a Dutch nobleman.  Is it just me or does this look like Curly from the 3 Stooges with a mustache?

Dutch Nobleman or Curly with a mustache?

They presented me with their flag and I gave them one from our local chapter. IMG_3270

The Changing of the Guard included the typical European kiss on the cheek. The new President wore the medal and made his speech about the upcoming year.

IMG_3286 IMG_3288

A doctor offered me a ride from Rotary back to the conference.  Here, he shows me a Russian Orthodox church, which is the gold building in the background. IMG_3299

There were too many other “cultural” places to mention, but Rotterdam is a great city with many of the same challenges of our cities.  It was a wonderful treat to be able to go watch the soccer games.  Fans are very passionate and they don’t just watch the games with their favorite teams but have an interest in other games and the sport in general.  I didn’t mind being the sole American in most every establishment.  Since Americans are usually loud, I did my best to blend in and not offend.IMG_3330

On to Athens.

information about the conference can be found here

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