Alumni of Founding Partners back at Nyenrode

May 4 2022

Several alumni of the Founding Partners have returned on April 25 to strengthen the ties between the Nyenrode Business Universiteit and the Founding Partners. During its 75th anniversary this year, Nyenrode wants to strengthen the bond with its Founding Partners.

It was 75 years ago when the Founding Partners laid the foundation for an educational institute that was unique in the Netherlands. According to the pioneers, the existing universities and institutions did not give students the necessary tools to rebuild the international position of Dutch business. Under the inspiring leadership of aviation pioneer Albert Plesman, (the forerunners) of KLM, Shell, Philips, Unilever, Akzo, ABN-AMRO Bank, TPG (now known as PostNL), the Dutch Railways and many other companies and organizations built the Netherlands Training Institute for Abroad, today known as the Nyenrode Business Universiteit. Almost 75 years ago, this initiative led to an educational innovation that would probably not have been possible in any other way.


All guests were welcomed by Petri Hofsté, Chairman of the Nyenrode Foundation, and Koen Becking, Rector Magnificus of Nyenrode, at the castle’s Knights' Hall (the Ridderzaal). After shaking many hands and providing everyone with a drink and a small appetizer, the guests were asked to take place on the castle terrace for a photo.

75 years ahead

Chairman for the day, Jessica Peters-Hondelink, opened with a heartwarming story about the importance of founders for an organization. This was followed by a short interview by Peters-Hondelink with Hofsté and Becking, which gave the guests a better idea of how history still runs as a red thread through the development of Nyenrode. At a time when Nyenrode's LES values are more relevant than ever, Nyenrode's mission of “Serving society by shaping responsible leaders” helps students and participants to make an impact on society.

After this link between the past and the present, Bas Kodden, Professor of Leadership and Management Development at Nyenrode, gave a short and succinct presentation, motivating everyone to work sustainably. Once they started with the interesting question: Why is U2 be the most sustainable band, the guests quickly learned more about the importance of motivating employees for continuity within a company. Laissez faire leadership was unanimously declared the worst style of leadership.


After this presentation, the guests were escorted to the Coach House (Koetshuis), where dinner was served, and where two surprises awaited: Becking talked to a hologram of Albert Plesman. In between the courses, the guests were entertained with several short performances by Pierre Bokma and Gijs Scholten van Aschat. The evening was filled with Shakespeare plays such as Richard II, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello.

On behalf of the board, Becking spoke a word of thanks for organizing the evening, and he thanked all guests for coming, after which he gave the floor to Micha van Os, third-year Bachelor student in Business Administration. She pointed out that the students look forward to strengthening the ties with the Founding Partners and see it as their goal to maintain those ties for the next 75 years.

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