Influential Internationals: We present our selection
At the start of the year, the finals of The Voice of Holland were broadcast after months of searching for singing talent in The Netherlands. Nearly four million viewers voted: more even than the viewers who watch football. To be honest, even we at the International Correspondent were among them.
The biggest winner wasn’t, though, the unknown artiste with the golden voice who beat out the competition. It was the producer. Fans mailed and twittered for months in support of their favourite candidates. John de Mol’s studios received hundreds of thousands of SMSses – which meant millions of extra income, on top of the TV rights payments and merchandise produced for the show. And the success of the singing-formula hasn’t bypassed foreign broadcasters. De Mol has sold the format in scores of other countries, including Sweden, Poland, and Australia…
It’s no accident that The Voice is a Dutch success story. The Dutch are crazy about lists and rankings. The media is always coming up with a new way of ranking the 16 million people here: according to power, wealth and success. For years, de Volkskrant newspaper has been selecting the most influential Netherlanders, Quote magazine the richest ones. Others are jostling to define the most innovative Dutch business enterprises.
Tellingly, these lists don’t contain any internationals. A grave omission, in my view. The Netherlands has long had important internationals living here, imported into this country because of their unique talents. Nearly 25% of the top layer of our businesses is occupied by highly-skilled internationals, as is a remarkable part of our mid-range management. The art and design sector, consultancy and legal areas, as well as education, are heavily supported by foreign employees. Ignoring all that talent in national rankings, which are dominated 100% by locals, is denying the importance of the globalisering of this country.
Hence our decision, as the editors of The International Correspondent, to present a list of the most influential internationals in The Netherlands. In this issue, you can discover the foreigners who have found their way to the top of the Dutch business world, and in other sectors of society.
Our aim is to make Dutch people more conscious of the importance of internationalisation. And proud of the ten thousand internationals who choose each year to develop their talents here. But the list of 50 most influential internationals is primarily created for you, the international readers of this magazine. It symbolises what you, as internationals, have achieved and what you can achieve.
Greater attention to the international population here should lead to greater achievements – and to the making of a political, commercial and social point. We at the International Correspondent want our list to help facilitate this process.
Here’s hoping you enjoy this issue. Do contact us with comments.