Sunday, June 8, 2014


Each Saturday of this program the people from Hanze have arranged a cultural/social trip.  Our third (and last) trip was to Amsterdam and was combined with our Friday business visit to Philips in a two-day bus trip.

I'll start with our visit to Philips, the 23.3 billion Euro international electronics firm.  "Electronics" might be a misnomer: they sold their TV division and now are organized around three main units: healthcare, consumer lifestyle, and lighting.

Yiran, Tony, and Tu ready for the Philips visit.
Philips' stated mission is "to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation" and they have a goal of improving the lives of 3 billion people by 2025.  Several of the people who made presentations said "innovation is in our DNA."  We had the great privilege of meeting with their impressive CEO, Franz van Houten, who gave a presentation on his vision for Philips and also spent a half hour answering student questions.
Student groups then "pitched" the new product ideas they had been working on to some Philips executives.  While they deliberated over which was the winner (a solar oven with a sun-charged battery pack attached to enable cooking when the sun isn't shining), we were served Dutch snacks and had the opportunity for informal conversations with some of their young professionals.  This was a great business visit.

After a group dinner at a restaurant in the center of Amsterdam,

Hanze arranged for us all to stay in a hostel outside of Amsterdam. Not just any ordinary hostel, but a castle turned into a hostel.  (Note: everything on this trip is included in the program fee students pay.)
We arrived around 10 p.m. (it stays light quite late here) but had time the next morning to walk the grounds. (Note: This is a hostel, not a hotel.  Bedding is provided, but you must bring your own towel and toiletries.)

After breakfast (quite the breakfast room),  we were off once again to Amsterdam.
We started with a canal boat tour.
then had free time to enjoy Amsterdam.  Small groups of students did various things: some made a quick trip to one of the museums, others took advantage of the gorgeous weather to wander around this U.N. World Heritage City.   

Tony and Yiran at the Begijnhof, a beautiful quiet courtyard in the middle of the busy city....and sampling some of the city's famous 'frites' with mayonnaise.
They day ended with a group tour of the very moving Anne Frank House.
Since Monday is a holiday in the Netherlands (Whit Monday), some of the students who are caught up on their assignments decided to take a little side trip to Brussels.  The rest of us returned to Groningen on Saturday evening, either to study or continue to explore this great little city. 

No comments:

Post a Comment