Thrilling Day Three!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Utrecht,
Monday, June 28, 2010

Thrilling Day Three

Workshops at Fortis Bank – Access to Finance Day:

Today was a very long yet thrilling day. We attended a workshop on Access to Finance at the Fortis Bank, Archimedeslaan, Utrecht. We gained insights into how Fortis Bank assesses credit applications during first session. During second session, we learnt tools to boost financial management. This was an interactive session consisting of topics like internal & external reporting, management accounting, compliance, treasury and cash-flow management. During last session, we got acquainted with a new way of credit appraisal, aimed at sustainable agricultural farmers. ForeFinance, is an initiative which is making farmers bankable and banks farmerable! I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop.

Fortis Bank is one of the largest banks in Europe. The bank has acquired European business of ABN Amro Bank and this merger is going to be effective from 1st July 2010.

Great evening with Sam:

Rotary Meeting:

Mr. Sam van der Meij picked me from Fortis Bank. He gave surprise news that he is taking me to Rotary Club of Zeist. I was, in fact, trying to connect with Dutch Rotarians. However, SharePeople and Sam helped me to get access to Rotarians. It was a very special meeting of Rotary Club of Zeist as today was the day of change of management. Dutch Rotarians welcomed us utmost respect. This club is working since 75 years (one of the oldest clubs of Holland and the oldest of Zeist City). Average age of members of the club is not less than 45 years. Where as, our club's (Rotary Club of Bidar New Century, RID 3160) average age is < 35 years. Our club is just 5 years old and is youngest club of Bidar town.

While having drinks in Figi Hotel Theater, where they meet every week, I learnt that the club has about 60 members and have done considerable community work. It is a mix of various classifications, including doctors, bankers, Chartered Accountants, Industrialists, businessmen, shop-owners, employees, etc. I found several women members during the meeting. In fact, one lady joined the club formally today as she was pinned by a senior Rotarian. The club is also involved in many international projects.

All the members were celebrating victory of Dutch football team in FIFA World Cup. Now Dutch football team is in last-8 and entire country is celebrating this. I have never seen such an exciting crowd celebrating the occasion.

The meeting started with our introduction. Mr. Rob Wagenaak, outgoing President of the club welcomed Sam to introduce me and Sam gave my intro to all the members. Then there was an event of exchange of our clubs. They also allowed me to speak for a while and in my one-minute 'elevator pitch’, I talked about my club and Nirantara. I also gifted our proud product, Bidri handicraft to the Rotary Club of Zeist. Then there was event of change of management. The new President, Mr. Wim Vermaak, addressed the club members. The President had arranged vegetarian food especially for me. Potato stuffed dinner with white wine tasted very special during the occasion.

Although all the discussion was in Dutch, Sam was giving a running translation. I am carrying many lessons from this meeting. I observed that the meeting started on-time and ended on-time. Members enjoyed every moment of their presence. No one received/took mobile calls during the meeting. Everybody greeted the occasion of birthday, anniversary and child birth. In fact, all the members sang on the occasion! All were quite excited while greeting. Everyone was smiling and greeting. There was a great level of attention to speakers. The fellowship was extremely well organized. This meeting was different than our Club meeting and the meeting that I attended in Daka. Wow! What a meeting it was! We need to improve a lot. Fellow Rotarians of my club may feel bad about this statement. But I mean it. Although we are doing fairly good community services, we need to be more professional in conduct of our meetings and services.

Visit to Zeist City Centre and meeting with Mayor of Zeist:

Sam is member of Zeist Council. This is his second term and he took me to Zeist City Centre, opposite Figi Hotel, where I met Mayor of Zeist City (Mr. Koos Janssen aka Jacob) and few council members. Indeed a nice moment for me! The City Centre (City Corporation) building is well maintained with well appointed rooms/chambers of council members and officials. Sam took me to a meeting hall where a council member was making a presentation on proposal relating to shifting of a road to some other place and construction of a building in the place of the road. I was there for few minutes as Sam was busy briefing his secretary. I could see a professional politician making a hi-tech power-point presentation. I observed high level of ‘listening comprehension’ of Dutch politicians. Some of them were busy taking notes and my entry & photo clicking didn’t deter them.

Good Politicians, indeed!! Yesterday, during our visit to Dutch Parliament, someone was telling that Indian politicians should be sent for an exposure program to Holland as soon as they get elected. This indeed happens. They do visit Europe and other countries on work.

A long bicycle ride in the evening:

Sam dropped me back at De Horst at 9pm. It was a wonderful evening, a prefect evening which lasted till 11.30pm with a 20 km bicycle ride with Archana. This was my longest bicycle cruise of my life! We rode crossing small towns, beautiful neighborhoods, castles, forest, institutions, coffee shops/bars, gasoline stations, banks, houses, windmills and so on. Car drivers stopped for us and allowed us to cross the road (I guess both – courtesy & fear of hitting a bicycle rider!) even though we were riding slowly. It was a cool & refreshing weather. The 20 km ride was like a 200 m walk. Believe me, it is now 1.47am here and I am still not tired!

In Holland, pedestrian is important than a bicycle rider. The bicycle rider is more important than a car/bus/truck driver! So far I have not seen a train stopping for a bicycle rider! In Holland, trains stop only in railway stations!!

On 4th July, I am going to Rotterdam, with Maurice & Sam, where Tour de France is kicking off. Tour de France is world’s most challenging cycle race championships. It is like Wimbledon for cyclists. Mr. Lance Armstrong is a well known cyclist and has won several championships, despite of deadly testicle cancer. What a passion!

I have decided that I am going to buy a bicycle for me as soon as I reach home. I have also decided that I’ll promote cycling among youth in my Bidar. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I am going to MicroNED conference at Rabo Bank.
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Dr Raghu Krishnamurthy on

I agree with you Niranjan that we lack professionalism in conducting the meetings. we are a evolving club so excused. once you get back here you can share all the experience with us. keep having fun.

niranjan on

Dr. Raghu,

Yes. We have scope for improvement and we can definitely do that. I am also looking forward to attend some more meetings in Holland and other countries. Dutch Rotarians, yesterday, liked our flag & Bidri handicraft.



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