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Dutch Newspaper Lauds Business Opportunities in NE Ohio

An October 27, 2014 article in the Dutch “Het Financieel Dagblad” newspaper praises the positive assets of the North East Ohio region. The author credits the shale revolution for helping to create an industrial renaissance that has drawn dozens of Dutch companies to the region. For the article, our NACC President Bernardine van Kessel was interviewed.

This is a translation of the article, as it was posted on the website of Cleveland Plus (link) and a copy of the original article in “Het Financieel Dagblad” can be found here.


Former American “rustbelt” turns out to be a magnet for Dutch companies

Het Financieel Dagblad
By Marcel de Boer
Monday October 27, 2014

Local policymakers like to suggest that the economic turn-around was due to the decision to fix the sports stadiums, making the inner cities in the state of Ohio livable and appealing again. It is very clear that the State of Ohio, especially the counties surrounding Cleveland, is seeing an economic recovery again thanks to the shale revolution.

Dutch companies are riding the wave of this success, says Bernardine van Kessel, Director with Team NEO, a non-profit organization that attracts companies to Northeast Ohio. In recent years, several dozen Dutch companies have descended upon the region that lies half-way between Chicago and New York City, to benefit from the industrial renaissance that has been occurring. Akzo Nobel and Philips employ more than 1,000 people in their local facilities.



For more than three decades an enormous exodus had taken place, states the Dutch woman who landed in the US via a field hockey scholarship and who stuck around afterwards. Ohio, the state where John Rockefeller started his oil-imperium, where Wilbur and Orville Wright built their airplane factory and where aerospace icons John Glenn and Neil Armstrong were born, transformed along with other states south of the Great Lakes into the “rustbelt”.

But the tide has turned. In the United States there is a phenomenon that has been called “the Great Homecoming”. Many industrial companies are re-considering their offshored facilities and are repatriating their production to the United States. Areas that are part of the shale revolution, such as eastern Ohio which is part of the western part of the Utica Shale formation, are under consideration as part of this phenomenon, explains Van Kessel. “This is not only one of the largest, but also one of the richest shale regions. The minerals are easily converted into raw materials for the plastics industry. To this effect, Shell for example is building a cracker facility just over the border in Pennsylvania.”

Slowly, the region is starting to experience how this upstream development, meaning the oil and gas exploration, is being turned into downstream applications. For example, the farmers that earn money for the mineral and exploration rights from their properties are now investing in new machinery and farm equipment. A company such as John Deere profits from this, but also Goodyear. The tire maker is in turn a client of VMI, a subsidiary of (Dutch co) Twentsche Kabel, which has a facility in the region.


Diversified industry

“Many of the buildings that had been left empty over the thirty plus year exodus are being restored and leased”, says Van Kessel. She stresses that Ohio’s industrial base has always been diverse, in contrast to that of the economy of Michigan which traditionally has leaned on the auto and furniture industries. And now you see the flourishing of all of those different economic sectors: automotive, aerospace and defense industry, polymers and coatings, the biomedical sector and also the services industry and metalworking sectors. No wonder that companies such as Akzo, Philips, Randstad, Stork, Wolters Kluwer, CSM and Tata Steel now have Ohio facilities.

In order to unlock the hinterland and to tie into the world of global commerce, the Cleveland Port Authority has started a regularly scheduled container service with Amsterdam-based shipping company Spliethoff. Since April, a ship sails between the City of Antwerp and the city along Lake Erie, or, in the words of Bart Peters, Director of the Atlantic Department of the shipping company: “between Europe and the North-American heartland”. The shipping service has become such a success that Spliethoff announced last month that it will sail to and from Ohio not once but twice per month.

Cleveland and its surrounding area appear to be a true magnet for Dutch people, Van Kessel says. The cost of doing business and the cost of living are much lower than in Chicago or in New York City. The hourly wages and commercial lease rates are far below those in the large urban areas in the US. In addition, as an advantage for the Dutch people in the Cleveland area, a Dutch school was recently founded. This provides an extra appealing factor for the expats in the region.

November 16, 2014 – Dutch-American Heritage Day

Andrew Doria - Painting by Phillips MelvilleAs of 1990, November 16 is “Dutch-American Heritage Day”. On November 16, 1776, a small American warship, the Andrew Doria, sailed into the harbour of the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius in the West Indies. Only four months before, the United States had declared its independence from Great Britain. The American crew was delighted when the governor of the island ordered that his fort’s cannons be fired in a friendly salute. The first ever given by a foreign power to the flag of the United States, it was a risky and courageous act. Indeed, angered by Dutch trading and contraband with the rebellious colonies, the British seized the island a few years later. The Dutch recaptured the island in 1784, and it remains part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands today.

MH17 Tragedy hits VMI

As the Netherlands was mourning, and started the recovery from the terrible shock that was brought on by the tragedy with Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the incident came closer to home than we expected. The CFO of the VMI Group, who was also the former President of VMI Americas, Auke Dalstra and his wife Aafke were among the victims of MH17. Auke & Aafke lived in Hudson, OH from 2007-2009 and they were great people. When Auke was promoted to CFO we were sorry to see them return to the Netherlands. They leave behind two children.

VMI is one of the NACC-GL’s main sponsors, and the organization that so graciously organizes the annual King’s Day celebration together with us.

A statement from VMI can be found on their website:

Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Auke & Aafke, and to our friends at VMI.

MH17 Tragedy – Consular response

Like most of the world, we are saddened and shocked by the news about the terrible tragedy regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine. Our Consulate General in Chicago released a statement earlier today, which was forwarded to us by our Honorary Consul Mr. Peter de la Porte:

Er is ook in Chicago en in het Middenwesten in zijn geheel belangstelling en sympathie voor de ramp met vlucht MH17 in Oekraine is gebeurd. Vanochtend ontvingen we in Chicago bloemen van het publiek. Zoals jullie weten is minstens twee derde van de passagiers Nederlander, en heel Nederland is in rouw. Vlaggen zijn halfstok, ook hier op het CG.

We treuren met alle nabestaanden en  de vrienden van alle slachtoffers. We willen ook graag anderen gelegenheid geven hun sympathie te betuigen.

Daarom openen we  een condoleance register op het Consulaat Generaal  op maandag en dinsdag, van 10-12 AM en 2 tot 4 PM.  Locatie wordt het kamertje naast de wachtkamer van het CG.

Er zijn ook links met condoleance registers:

July 12, 2014 – USS COD / O19 Commemoration Day

Join us on Saturday July 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm for the reenactment of a unique event in naval history: USS COD’s rescue of the crew of the stranded Dutch submarine O19 in the South China Sea.

On July 8, 1945 the O19 was on her way from a patrol in the South China Sea to the Philippines when it struck Ladd Reef, a coral reef in the South China Sea, submerged due to high tide. They sent out a distress call, and the next day the USS COD arrived on the scene. For two days the USS COD tried to pull the O19 off the reef. When all attempts had failed the decision was made to destroy the O19 as to not let its secrets fall in Japanese hands. Demolition charges were placed, two torpedoes were fired and destroy the aft, and 16 shells of the 5-inch deck gun finished the job.

153 American and Dutch submariners lived together on the USS COD for several days traveling to safety. The USS COD became an adopted member of the Dutch Onderzeedienst (submarine service) to pay tribute to the unique rescue mission and friendship between submariners of two allied nations.

USS COD - Cleveland, Ohio
The only international sub-to-sub rescue in history is commemorated every year aboard the USS COD with a reenactment of the transfer of the Dutch flag aboard the US sub, and a celebration of the enduring friendship between two submarine crews and two great nations. A punch and cake reception follows the ceremony on USS COD grounds. Admission to the event (between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm only) is free of charge.

The submarine USS COD is docked on North Marginal Road, between E. 9th St. and Burke Lakefront Airport, on Cleveland’s North-coast Harbor.
For questions and more information about the USS COD, please visit their website


Our sister organization the NASO (Netherlands American Society of Ohio) is organizing a watch party for the semi-finals game of the Netherlands against Argentina on Wednesday July 9, 2014. All NACC members and supporters are welcome to join this ‘Oranje Festijn’ at:

PANINIS of Solon
6150 SOM Center Rd.
Solon, OH 44139

The ESPN Pre-Game Program starts at 3:30 pm, with the match starting at 4:00 pm.
Come dressed wearing your favorite “Orange” attire and/or accessories to root for the Dutch as they take on Argentina!

Parking is free, the menu is great. Come and enjoy the match!
Weyn Soccer Group” and “Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners” are the official sponsors of the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce (NACC – Great Lakes) for the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Weyn Soccer Group        Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners

FIFA World Cup: NETHERLANDS – CHILE watch party

Come and cheer on the Dutch, as they take on Chile in the last group game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Watch Party organized by the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce (NACC – Great Lakes) and sponsored by “Weyn Soccer Group” and “Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners”.

Weyn Soccer Group        Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners

Monday, June 23, 2014
11:30 AM – ESPN Pre-Game Program
12:00 PM – Start of Match (ESPN)

Free for both NACC members & prospective members

Location: Flannery’s Irish Pub
323 E. Prospect, Cleveland, Ohio

Dress code: ORANGE!


Come and cheer on the Dutch, as they take on Australia in their second game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Watch Party organized by the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce (NACC – Great Lakes) and sponsored by “Weyn Soccer Group” and “Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners”.

Weyn Soccer Group        Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
11:30 AM – ESPN Pre-Game Program
12:00 PM – Start of Match (ESPN)

Free for both NACC members & prospective members

Location: Flannery’s Irish Pub
323 E. Prospect, Cleveland, Ohio

Dress code: ORANGE!

FIFA World Cup: HOLLAND – SPAIN watch party

Come and cheer on the Dutch team for their opening match of the FIFA World Championship Soccer tournament in Brazil. “Holland” will take on Spain for a rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final.

Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners
Watch Party organized by the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce (NACC – Great Lakes) and sponsored by “Rosner, Ortman & Moss Partners



Friday, June 13, 2014
2:30 PM – ESPN Pre-Game Program
3:00 PM – Start of Match (ESPN)

Free for both NACC members & prospective members

Location: Parnell’s Pub
Address: 2167 Lee Road, Cleveland, Ohio

Dress code: ORANGE!