I never really mentioned this before, but did you know that Zuiver was declared the best enterprise of the Zaan region in 2015 and the best enterprise of the whole of North Holland in 2016? Now that’s something to be proud of. It’s high time we did some boasting about ourselves and our home ground!

A couple of facts for our foreign fans: the province of North Holland is located in the northwest of the Netherlands. It has a population of 2.8 million – out of a total of 17 million in the Netherlands – over 1.2 million homes and around 1600 home stores. North Holland has 3 million bicycles, 158 authentic windmills, 260 kilometres of coastline, over 5.2 million tourists a year and 1 Zuiver.

Photo: Zuiver photographer Robbert Frie

Zaan region, birthplace of well-known companies

North Holland is where you’ll find the Zaan region (as part of ‘Zaanstreek’), Europe’s oldest industrial area and birthplace of some large and well-known companies. You’ve probably heard of Verkade (known for its tasty biscuits and chocolate), Cacao de Zaan (hot chocolate in winter), Duyvis snacks (where’s the party?), Lassie (rice) and Ahold (supermarket Albert Heijn).

The old industrial buildings left behind by these companies in the Zaan region are nowadays being converted into beautiful business spaces and homes. A good example is Verskade, which opened in the Verkade factory. A delicatessen supermarket and coffee shop in one, VersKade is a really trendy place to relax.

"Delicatessen supermarket 'De VersKade' is a great place to relax with a nice cup of coffee and something sweet”

Mora S Black + Copper pendant lamps by Zuiver at de Koffiezaak in Verskade

Zaan resident is down to earth with heart in the right place

Situated within the Zaan region is Zaandam, the region’s largest city and the home ground of myself and my partners Arjen, Jaap and Richard. And that also makes it the home turf of Zuiver: our own brand! The fact we were born here makes us ‘Zaankanters’, a term that means we’re down to the ground, speak our minds, but have our hearts in the right place. ‘Zaankanters’ also have an enterprising and innovative personality and are not afraid to take risks.

This was precisely one of the decisive reasons for the juries of the Zaan and North Holland enterprise award to choose us. The jury was impressed with our fast-growing brand and our own Dutch design.

They praised our staff because… And I’m only too happy to quote the mayor: “Who wouldn’t want to work for a brand where you’re in the actual showroom with all your colleagues working on the growth of a distinctive brand that holds an important place in the Dutch, European and even worldwide styling and interior market”. Wow… It still gives me goosebumps. We stood there cheering on the stage. So proud of Zuiver!

"And I’m only too happy to quote the mayor: “Who wouldn’t want to work for Zuiver?"

Our own Dutch Design, on the left: Albert Kuip chair / on the right: Led-it-be floor lamp

Tonight I’m back on stage to pass the award for best enterprise of the Zaan region on to the next great company. That company may call himself best enterprise of the Zaan region 2016. One year long! I don’t know who will be the winner, but I’m sure he will receive lots of cake, flowers and of course eternal fame.