January 2004 - Association of Dutch Businessmen

adb.org.sg

January 2004 - Association of Dutch Businessmen

January 2004

MITA 373/03/2001

COMPANY PROFILE:

JTC Corporation

Happy New Year to all

ADB members!


PROLOGUE

First and foremost let me wish you and your family a prosperous 2004

in good health.

Secondly I would like to share with you our Best Wishes for Prince Willem-Alexander and

Princess Maxima with their newborn Princess Catharina-Amalia. On behalf of the ADB

I have added our congratulations onto the website of the Royal Family.

Tom de Jong

After an exciting year with major events like the Iraq war and , closer to home, the SARS

outbreak, 2004 will hopefully be a year of more stability and sustained economic growth,

although Shell’s scenario type thinking has learned us that straight line thinking is not

always appropriate.

The last event in 2003 was a visit to the VOPAK installations on Jurong and Sebarok together

with an overview of the regional activities by John Paul Broeders, the reginal Director.

It was particularly good to see that a Dutch company in Bulk Storage and Logistic Services

has manged to secure top spot in the world in this field.

During the following dinner I mentioned that two boardmembers, Lieke Rijken and Rob Nijst,

will be leaving us and return to Holland for new assignments with their respective companies.

I would like to thank both of them for their long standing contributions to the ADB board.

They made significant contributions over a long period of time as Secretary and Financial

controller to the board of the ADB. I wish them succes in their new jobs in the Netherlands.

At the same time I would like to welcome Wim Samlal from VOPAK as the new controller to

the board. To fill a vacancy as well as replacing Lieke we have found Charlotte Ruegg and

Frans van de Bospoort willing to take a role in the board. Charlotte works at the National

University Hospital and Frans represents NIB Capital Bank in Singapore.

It is good to note that in such an agile environment like Singapore we have again been able

to find people willing to take on additional roles on top of their often busy work commitments.

ADB remains committed to provide an intersting programme of activities , which give our

member an opportunity to network outside their normal work environment.

Hope to see many of you at the forthcoming ADB events, starting with the new year’s

borrel on January 5th, 2004.

Tom de Jong

President

Jeroen Keunen Lieke Rijken Rob Nijst Nick van Holstein Ruud Lantinga

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Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


A monthly publication of the

Association of Dutch Businessmen

ADB BOARD

Tom de Jong

President

Nick van Holstein Vice-President

Charlotte Ruegg Honorary Secretary

Wim Samlal

Honorary Treasurer

Jeroen Keunen

Member

Ruud Lantinga

Member

Frans van de Bospoort

Member

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE

Sascha Roosen

Olaf Botermans

Dorien Knaap

Francine Smissaert

Carolien Timmermans

Michael van Ommeren

Walter Moone

Mark Tilstra

SECRETARIAT

Carolien Timmermans

Mailing Address:

22 Camden Park, Singapore 299814

Telephone: 9030 9145 Fax: 6738 9962

email: adb@pacific.net.sg

Website : www.adb.org.sg

Email : webmaster@adb.org.sg

Editorial contributions for the next issue

may be sent or handed over to the ADB

Secretariat, before or on the day of the

monthly ADB meeting. The contents of

this newsbrief are partly based on information

received from third parties. The

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MITA 373/03/2001

Contents

PROLOGUE 1

REVIEW

‘The linking pin for the petrochemical industry’ 3

COMPANY PROFILE

JTC Corporation – 35 years of creating and

shaping 5

DOING BUSINESS IN…

How personal perseverance and humble

beginnings can lead to big business 10

10 QUESTIONS TO...

2 x 5 = 10 questions to…Rob Nijst and

Lieke Rijken 12

HEIR, THRONE & KINGDOM

Princess Amalia has arrived 14

COMPANY NEWS 15

KNOW YOUR TAX

Bosal case 16

FINANCIAL INSIGHT

China: Threat or engine of growth? 18

DUTCH DESK 21

WHEELS

Love and Carriage 22

EMBASSY INFO 24

ASSOCIATION INFO 24

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Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


REVIEW

‘The linking pin for the

petrochemical industry’

A visit to Vopak Terminals Singapore By Walter Moone

▲ Vopak Company Visit

Crossing Singapore

‘Is Jurong Island in

Malaysia?’ one of the

attendants of this month’s

excursion to Vopak Terminals

Singapore laughs when he is

asked to leave the bus and

proceed to the security

checkpoint. It is not a strange

thought as the S$ 30 million checkpoint at the

entrance of Jurong Island looks like a border

crossing, with heavily armed security guards, metal

detectors and all visitors required to carry their

passports. Vopak, which operates its Sakra tank

terminal on Jurong Island, gave the ADB members

a unique opportunity to visit this normally difficult

accessible industrial island. Next to a tour on

Jurong Island the excursion visited Vopak’s

industrial terminal on Sakra and the oil distribution

terminal on Sebarok.

Chemical hub on Jurong Island

As the ADB delegation entered the causeway to

Jurong Island Robert Dompeling, general manager

of Vopak Terminals Singapore, highlighted the

history and set up of this highly successful

industrial concept. Jurong Island originally

consisted of a flurry of tiny islands. The industrial

development started in the early 70’s when the

Vopak Terminal Sakra, the Industrial

Terminal on Jurong Island

three pioneers of the Singapore petroleum

industry opened their facilities on three of these

islands; Esso in Pulau Ayer Chawan, Singapore

Refinery Company in Pulau Merlimau and Mobil

Oil in Pulau Pesek. With these refineries the

fundament was created for the development of

related downstream industries that further

process the materials produced by these refineries

and crackers. In the 1990’s Jurong Island

Corporation reclaimed more land and provided the

required infrastructure to further develop the

chemical hub, including a causeway to the

mainland. Today, Jurong Island is home to leading

petrochemical companies, like ExxonMobil,

Celanese, Dupont, Mitsui Chemicals,

Chevron Oronite, Shell and

Sumitomo Chemical, their

total investment exceeding

S$ 21 billion.

Vopak as linking pin

on Sakra

Most of the companies on

Sakra deliver feedstock and

final products to each other.

In the middle of this chemical

cluster the Vopak terminal in

Sakra acts as the spider in the web delivering

feedstock to plants and receiving their end-products,

which in turn are delivered to other chemical

producers or are exported to their end users.

At the Sakra terminal the ADB delegation visited

the central control room and the jetty, where at

the time of the visit a large chemical ship of 45,000

deadweight ton - the maximum the Vopak terminal

in Sakra can handle – started discharging Methanol

to the feedstock shore tanks of one of the

customers. Terminal manager Teo Seow Ling and

operations manager Ku Chong Chang highlighted

the characteristics of an industrial terminal.

All infrastructure on the terminal – e.g. tanks,

pipelines, pumps, etc - is dedicated to the

customers. As Vopak is feeding the raw material,

usually hazardous chemicals, directly in the

customers’ production process tight control of

the process and stock and enhanced awareness

of safety issues is key.

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Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


REVIEW

The

competitive

advantage

Vopak seeks is

in providing

high quality

services, while

maintaining

equally high

safety

standards that

local players

cannot offer on

several

locations.

Facilitating the Oil Trade on Sebarok

After the Sakra visit the ADB members boarded

the ferry that was kindly provided by Shell to travel

to the Sebarok terminal. Sebarok is a small island

located behind Sentosa. The main inhabitant of

Sebarok is Vopak with over a million cubic meter

of storage capacity for petroleum products. The

Sebarok terminal was Vopak’s first terminal in Asia

and was established in 1983. Terminal manager

Randy Cheong demonstrated during a tour of the

island that an oil terminal is completely different

from a chemical terminal like Sakra. Tanks are

substantially bigger and the jetties can handle ships

up to 210,000 ton deadweight and a draft of 16

meter. Traders in gasoline, fuel oil and jet fuel

occupy the tanks.

Regional network

After the merger of Van Ommeren and Pakhoed in

1999 Vopak became the biggest independent tank

storage provider in the world, operating

20 million cubic meter of storage

capacity in 71 countries. Thirty

percent of the worldwide sales

is created in Asia. On the

Sebarok island John Paul

Broeders, president of

Vopak Asia, presented

Vopak’s strategy for its 15

terminals in 8 countries in

the region. Main components

of the strategy comprise

creating a regional network,

targeting the same key

customers, aiming one common

brand image with standardized quality of

services and developing long-term relationships

with customers. Vopak Asia puts this strategy

into operation by offering regional account

management, implementing common standards

on safety, health, environment and quality and

Leaving Honorary Secretary Lieke Rijken

and Tom de Jong

Leaving Honorary Treasurer

Rob Nijst receives his farewell gift

from President Tom de Jong

offering tailored supply chain solutions, using

partnerships for land based logistics (trucks,

drumming, etc).

One of the attendants raised the question why

not more people embark on the tank terminal

business, as the concept looks very profitable and

is simple at the same time. John Paul Broeders

acknowledged that indeed Vopak has to compete

with local players in every port they operate.

However, the competitive advantage Vopak seeks is

in providing high quality services, while maintaining

equally high safety standards that local players

cannot offer on several locations.’ Hence the reason

Vopak targets mainly the multi-national companies

that require a high quality service level. At the same

time this poses a challenge in the Asian region as

Vopak primarily operates in joint ventures. ‘The

advantage of having a joint venture with local

partners is that we have easy access to government

and port authorities if it concerns licenses and

regulation’, explained Broeders, ‘The

downside is that it takes a lot of

effort to convince these local

partners of the importance of

operating as a regional

network and to invest in the

quality and safety that

comes with this’. Another

question from the audience

was if Vopak also invested

in ERP software to help

accomplish a standard service

level across the various operating

companies. Broeders explained

that a corporate ERP system was

now in operation in the major hub locations of

Vopak in Houston, Rotterdam and Singapore. In the

Asian region rollouts are in progress or scheduled

in Malaysia, Thailand and Caojing. The ERP system

has to serve as a basis to establish tighter

relationships with customers through web- and

ERP-to-ERP applications.

The Shell ferry brought the attendants back

to the mainland where the successful excursions

was concluded with a drink and buffet at Villa

Frangipani. It was in these lush Balinese

surroundings that ADB president Tom de Jong took

the opportunity to thank Robert Dompeling and

John Paul Broeders for organising and hosting the

excursion. Tom de Jong also bid farewell to two

long sitting board members who will continue their

careers outside Singapore, Lieke Rijken and Rob

Nijst. The president thanked both for their

outstanding contribution to the ADB and wished

them all the best in the new challenges ahead of

them. As a last note of the evening Tom de Jong

introduced Wim Samlal, director finance of Vopak

Asia, as the new treasurer in the ADB board.

4

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


COMPANY PROFILE

JTC Corporation –

35 years of creating and shaping

Singapore’s industrial landscape

Standard low rise factory

Introduction

JTC Corporation is Singapore’s leading planner,

promoter and developer of high quality industrial

facilities and business parks. Since 1968, it has been

a key architect in shaping Singapore’s industrial

landscape and in supporting the growth of

industries and manufacturing in Singapore. It has

a track record of developing close to 7,000 hectares

of industrial land and over 4.5 million square

metres of ready built space.

Wide Array of Industrial and

Business Facilities

JTC offers a wide range of facilities for all types

of industries and activities. From

small office spaces for startup

companies to large land plots for

heavy manufacturing, companies

can invest with confidence in a JTC

facility. Currently, JTC manages 38

industrial and specialised parks,

including three wafer fab parks, a

chemicals hub at Jurong Island,

a biomedical manufacturing hub,

a biomedical research and

development facility (Biopolis),

two business parks as well as start up facilities.

Together, they house some 7,000 local and foreign

companies. JTC is also the master developer for

one-north at Buona Vista– a 200-hectare new

economy hub incorporating research laboratories,

offices, homes, parks and educational institutions

for entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers.

Indeed, JTC has played a pivotal role in

accelerating Singapore’s industrialisation drive

and is poised to take on new challenges even as it

celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2003. The future

looks to become even more exciting as JTC gears

up to transform the industrial landscape of

Singapore into a hip and happening place to worklive-play

and learn. Older industrial estates in

Singapore which were built up in the early years

will be rejuvenated, taking on the vibrancy and

dynamism that characterises new economy hubs.

JTC will also continue to focus strongly on its

customers, develop pro-business policies, create

innovative products and provide best in class

customer service to help companies doing

businesses in Singapore become more competitive

Adopting a customer-focused mindset has

always been part of JTC’s winning formula. Living

by this creed, development of its industrial parks

revolve around the concept of creating synergy for

customers. Clustering of companies that are similar

in nature or complementary to one another has

resulted in substantial savings for JTC customers.

Jurong Island is a shining example to showcase the

success of the cluster concept. Typically, output

from one plant becomes feedstock for another,

allowing them to feed off each other symbiotically.

One organisation who has recognised the

benefits of clustering on Jurong Island is Vopak

Terminals Singapore Pte Ltd, owned by Royal Vopak.

This Dutch company plays an integral role in Jurong

Island’s chemical value chain, providing essential

chemical logistics services to companies through

its Industrial Terminal. This allows companies to

better focus on their core business operations,

while reducing capital outlay in jetty and tankage

construction.

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Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


COMPANY PROFILE

operate in a pro-business environment to retain the

competitive edge against other global players. Cutting

out red tape is an essential part of the process to

create a pro-business environment. JTC had kickstarted

the process early last year through a rule

buster exercise to review and remove archaic rules

that are redundant and impede business operations.

Moving on, we will continue to regulate with a lighter

touch and revise our policies so that customers have

even more latitude in their business dealings.”

▲ High rise factory

This strategy is similarly being replicated in

JTC’s Tuas Biomedical Park and Airport Logistics

Park (ALPS), where pharmaceutical and third party

logistic companies enjoy cost savings from the

use of shared facilities such as utilities and waste

treatment plants.

While firm foundations have already been laid

by JTC for its hard infrastructure and facilities, it

is also building up its “software” and looking into

ways and means to work in even closer partnership

with its customers.

Pro Business Policies in a Changing

Environment

Mr Chong Lit Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of JTC

elaborates, “The industrialists of today need to

Exceeding Customer Expectations

While creating a pro-business environment is

important, customer service is also taken very

seriously at JTC. It is evident that the Corporation

is keeping its ears close to the ground, through its

formation of a Customer Panel last year. Out of

the 55 recommendations, submitted by its

Customer Panel, JTC has shown its firm

commitment to its customers’ needs by accepting

41 of them. In addition, it is also e-enabling its

services and strengthening its IT infrastructure to

help customers save time and costs. Process time

for some of the e-services found on its customer

portal Krypton have been slashed from the previous

five days to five minutes, bringing greater

convenience to its customers.

Future Plans

Changes in the new economy have also propelled

the Corporation to look beyond its traditional roles

of a landlord to embrace new roles and functions

aimed at creating a pro-business environment for

industrialists.

A tale of courage and determination – The Jurong Island Story

Situated off the western coast of Singapore is Jurong Island, home to some of the world’s

leading petrochemical companies like BASF, ExxonMobil and DuPont. With 72 lessees on the

island, it is one of the largest ethylene production centre and third largest oil refinery centre in

the world. The 72 companies have invested close to $22 billion in Jurong Island.

Jurong Island had its humble beginnings in the 1960s, when chemical companies such as

Esso Singapore, Singapore Refining Company and Mobil Oil Singapore began their operations

in some of the small and scarcely populated islands located just south of Singapore.

In the 1980s, the chemicals industry was identified as one of the pillars, which had

potential to contribute significantly to economic growth in Singapore. This gave rise to the

idea of amalgamating the seven southern offshore islands to form one colossal island through

reclamation. The process of joining seven separate islands into a site for a world-class

chemicals hub began in 1991. When fully completed in 2005, Jurong Island will span a total

of 3,200 hectares.

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Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


COMPANY PROFILE

Work communities of the

future @ one-north

one-north is Singapore’s icon of the knowledge

economy that would provide an intellectually

stimulating and creative physical environment

for entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers

to congregate, interact and exchange ideas.

With a focus on knowledge-intensive activities

in critical growth sectors – biomedical,

infocomms and media industries – it is slated

to be a vibrant hotspot for innovation and test

bedding.

Covering almost 200 hectares, it will be

developed in three phases over the next 15 –

20 years and will integrate residential units,

commercial hubs, tertiary and research

institutes, sports facilities as well as green

lungs. It is strategically located in the Buona

Vista area (southern part of Singapore) near

the National University of Singapore and

Singapore Science Park and aims to be a focal

point for research and development and

technopreneurial activities.

The name, one-north, capitalises on

Singapore’s unique geographical location – one

degree north of the equator, in the globe and

its aspirations to be connected to the region,

the world, and be innovative. one-north has

very positive associations – new, first, winning

and leading. The Chinese name “Wei Yi” is a

direct and expressive interpretation of the

English name one-north. Its meaning may

also be translated as “the only one”.

“In the early years, our pioneers had taken

bold strides in developing the Jurong Industrial

Estate. Following in their footsteps to challenge

norms and traditional conventions, JTC continues

to think out-of-the-box in coming up with

revolutionary ways to benefit industrialists. To

ensure that JTC continues to support Singapore’s

growth for the next 35 years and beyond, we have

drawn up an industrial blueprint for the future,”

says Mr Chong.

One of the highlights in JTC’s industrial

blueprint for the future is a more vibrant industrial

property market. To achieve this, JTC is adopting

a ‘private sector first’ approach to encourage

greater private sector participation. Signs of this

new approach have already surfaced through its

latest development projects such as one-north,

where up to 80% of the project will be developed

by private sector developers over the next 15-20

years.

JTC’s continual advancement has mirrored

Singapore’s own rapid economic development. As

Singapore steps forward into the future, JTC’s

journey ahead will surely be as exciting as her

past.

JTC’s

continual

advancement

has mirrored

Singapore’s own

rapid economic

development. As

Singapore steps

forward into the

future, JTC’s

journey ahead will

surely be as

exciting as her

past.

Stack-Up factory — Woodlands Spectrum

9

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


DOING BUSINESS IN…

Aeilco Janz. Zijlker

In the 1860s, a young man left the Netherlands,

disappointed in love. His destination was

Batavia, at that time capital of the Dutch East

Indies, to start a new life. His name was Aeilco

Janz. Zijlker, descendant of a distinguished farmers

family from Nieuw Beerta, in the province

of Groningen. Through the years, Zijlker

worked his way up to be manager of the

East Sumatra Tobacco Company. In 1880,

when he was working on a plantation in

the north of the island of Sumatra, he

was overtaken by a by a tropical storm.

Sheltering in a tobacco shed, he witnessed

a watchman light a bamboo torch from wet,

sticky twigs. At first he thought the torch

was made of a wood containing resin. He

asked the watchman about the substance

and the next day he was shown a big pool

with black liquid. He recognised the smell

of lamp oil, which was at that time,

imported to the Indies. The watchman told him

the liquid had been around for centuries and was

used for all kinds of purposes by the locals. Zijlker

took some samples of the liquid and send it to

But Aeilco Zijlker was determined to make

his venture a success. He first tried to secure the

spot where he had found the petroleum. He visited

the landowner, the emir of Langkat, to ask for a

concession. This would be granted, if Zijlker would

be able to raise enough money for exploration.

After that, Zijlker needed official permission from

the Dutch government to explore. This was not

easy, but Zijlker managed to raise money through

a consortium of banker’s and trading houses in

Batavia, to finance his prospect for the petroleum

in his concession area. In 1883 he travelled to the

Netherlands. Through his brother, Derk Zijlker, at

that time a Member of Parliament, he met the

Minister of Colonies, who gave him a recommendation

for the governor-general in Batavia. This helped

him to receive the permission of the Dutch-Indies

government. Zijlker returned to Sumatra to secure

the concession from the emir of Lankat. The

concession was granted to Zijlker, but only after

paying a large amount of money for royalties.

The consortium in Batavia was turned into a

company, the Provisional Sumatra Petroleum

Company. The consortium raised 25.000 guilders

How personal perseverance and humble

Batavia to have it examined. After a while he

received the information that the liquid was

petroleum and was very usable as lamp oil.

Zijlker realised he had a big opportunity at his

hands. But Zijlker would not be the first Dutchman

to find petroleum in the Dutch-Indies. Already in

1596, Jan Huygen van Linschoten had discovered

‘fountain of flowing balm’ in Sumatra. Later the

VOC would trade the balm as a medication for stiff

legs. Large exploitation of petroleum had only

become interesting after chemists discovered how

to distil kerosene, paraffin and naphtha from the

oil. The first petroleum well was exploited in

Pennsylvania in the US in 1859. This was the start

of what would become one of largest and successful

industries of that country. In the Dutch Indies, the

government legalised the exploration of oil wells

by a special decree, in 1866. This meant that a

well could only be exploited if there was proof

that it would be profitable. After the issue of the

decree, several individuals and companies had

started exploration all over the Dutch-Indies, but

without much success. The government was very

strict and it turned out to be very hard to raise

capital for undertakings like this.

to start the exploration. Zijlker himself tipped in

another 50.000 guilders. The drilling had to be

tendered to miners of the government. In 1884,

drilling started at Telaga Tiga. After a month they

had reached a depth of 51 metres. Weeks later, at

a depth of 96 metres petroleum was found. For a

short time the well produced 200 litres a day, which

was one fifth of an average oil well in the United

States. But after four months, when the drillers

had reached 116 metres, the well started producing

water. It was decided to start drilling at another

place, called Telaga Toenggal. Here, almost

immediately petroleum was found, but the

production was not enough to act as proof to

receive permission for exploitation. Zijlker, who

by now had put in a lot of effort and spent most

of his money, was very disappointed in the cooperation

of the Dutch-Indies government. Another

four years were spent to search for usable wells,

but without much success. One day, the drillers

went back to Telaga Toenggal. It turned out the

well had started producing again. This time, the

production turned out to be enough proof

Zijlker travelled to the Netherlands to find

investors to exploit the well. He was lucky, he

10

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


DOING BUSINESS IN…

travelled on the same ship as the retired director

of the Bank of Java, N.P. van den Berg. During the

trip, Zijlker convinced Van den Berg of the

prospects of his petroleum venture in Sumatra. In

the Netherlands, Van den Berg introduced Zijlker

to bankers Gerard Dunlop and Edouard Boissevain.

They were prepared to invest each for more than

400.000 guilders. Zijlker and his brother also took

part, so that in the end a total of 1,3 million

guilders were raised. On June 16 1890 a new

company was founded, the Royal Dutch Company

for Exploitation of Oil Resources in the Netherlands

Indies. Zijlker brought in his concession for which

he received 171.000 guilders and shares. Zijlker

travelled back to Sumatra to find other areas in

Sumatra for exploration.

It took another two years before the well in

Talaga Toenggal officially started producing. But

getting production started had not been easy.

Workers at the spot had to improvise with little

means and were troubled by tropical storms,

mosquitoes and disease. Production started slowly

because the lack of capital. The petroleum was

refined at the spot in a new built refinery. The

In February 1907, the Royal Dutch,

which by that time exploited several

oil fields and refineries, merged with Shell,

a British company which had tankers and also the

ability to market the oil, into a new company

called the Royal Dutch Shell.

Drilling at Telaga Said 1893 At the drilling floor

beginnings can lead to big business

most important product of the company during the

first ten years was Crown Oil, which was sold all

over Asia, but especially to Singapore and Penang.

Only after raising new capital by selling more

shares, production could be increased and activities

broadened. This first well would later be known as

Telaga Said I, and was the first production site of

the Royal Dutch. It would produce oil for more than

half a century. During the 1890s a sales department

was erected, and the company started to build its

own tanker fleet to transport the oil. In 1894 the

first profit was made of half a million guilders. A

new oilfield was opened in Perlak in North-Sumatra

in 1896. By then the company had really started

expanding as a result of increasing demand of fuel

from Europe. To meet this demand a refinery was

build in Rotterdam in 1902.

In February 1907, the Royal Dutch, which by that

time exploited several oil fields and refineries,

merged with Shell, a British company which had

tankers and also the ability to market the oil, into a

new company called the Royal Dutch Shell. The two

companies merged their interests on a 60:40 basis

while keeping their separate identities. Throughout

the early twentieth century, the Group expanded

with acquisitions in Europe, Africa and the Americas.

These were exciting times for the oil industry, as

the mass production of cars had opened up a vast

new market. The 1920s and 1930s were expansion

years, with Shell businesses in new regions and new

industry sectors; Shell’s first foray into chemicals

began in 1929. Today, Royal Dutch and Shell

Transport owns investments in numerous companies

in which are collectively referred to as the Royal

Dutch/Shell Group of Companies. Shell operates in

more than 145 countries and territories around the

world and employs more than 115,000 people.

Aeilco Zijlker would not live to see the success

of the Royal Dutch. In December 1890, not long

after the founding of the company, Zijlker suddenly

died in Singapore, while travelling from Sumatra

to Batavia. Singapore would be the last restingplace

of this pioneer in the modern petroleum

industry in Southeast Asia.

By Dorien Knaap

First brands of the Royal

Dutch

Sources:

H. Gabriëls, Koninklijke Olie: de eerste honderd jaar (1890-1990) (‘s Gravenhage 1990)

W. Wennekes, De aartsvaders. Grondleggers van het Nederlandse bedrijfsleven

(Amsterdam 1997).

www.shell.com

11

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


10 QUESTIONS

2 x 5 =10Questions To

…Rob Nijst and Lieke Rijken

By Walter Moone

In January two highly appreciated board member, Lieke Rijken

(Honorary Secretary) and Rob Nijst (Honorary Treasurer), will leave

Singapore and the ADB. In this months’ 10 Questions To’ we take the

opportunity to look back at their stay in Singapore and their work

for the ADB and look forward to the new challenges ahead of them

and the future of the ADB.

5 Questions to Lieke Rijken

Can you give us a short insight of

1 your time in Singapore?

I find it an enormous opportunity, both

in a professional and a personal way that I had the

possibility to stay for a while in Asia. To live and

work in a totally different culture, with different

people, really opens your mind. You learn that

things can be done differently, that people think

and act differently but also that a lot of things

are the same where ever you go. But also Laksa,

Chicken Rice, Hang Boa, cheap taxi’s, expensive

wines, the queues for the 10% discount at the petrol

stations, SARS, efficient Changi and no chewing

gum (very difficult for a person formally responsible

for Sportlife!).

What are your plans now you leave

2 Singapore?

First we go for a long holiday to Australia

and New Zealand, then we will head to the

Netherlands to continue our careers over there.

What achievements as a board

4 member of the ADB make you proud

and are there things you wanted

but failed to achieve?

I am proud of the very interesting program of the

last year with outstanding events. What I wanted

but failed to realise (especially for me as a female

board member!) is that we did not get the

name changed.

What tips do you have

5 for the future of the

ADB?

The board is revising its strategy,

which has some very interesting

elements in it. Watch

these developments

closely!

What will be your fondest

3 memories of living in

Singapore?

We will miss our Black and White

house, the waving palms in our

garden, and having breakfast every

morning on the veranda.

12

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


10 QUESTIONS

5 Questions to Rob Nijst

Can you give us a short insight of

1 your time in Singapore?

I started as a regional financial controller

for Van Ommeren in January 1998. During the 1999

merger between Van Ommeren and Pakhoed I took

part in the integration team for Asia. In 2000 I made

the move to business development and regional

commercial activities.

My involvement in the ADB board started about

three years ago. In reaction to a rumour that the

ADB board intended to split up the ADB in a group

for older and a group for younger members I

wrote an article in ‘Who the Pen fits’ claiming

that the ADB was becoming an ‘éminence grise’.

The article created a bit of commotion and shortly

after this I was asked to join the board as

treasurer.

What are your fondest memories of

2 living in Singapore?

For one the possibility to travel, both

for work and leisure, but also the outdoor living

and everything that comes with that – al

fresco dining, the ideal location for

sports like tennis and golf and never

having to dress your children in warm

winter clothes. Which brings me to

one of the best memories, the

fact that two of my children were

born here. Live with my family in

Singapore has been great. We were

also blessed with a maid

that made the Dutch

apple tart better

than the Dutch

themselves.

In your prologue of ADB Newsbrief

3

last month you mentioned your new

challenge in the Netherlands. Can

you tell us something about this challenge?

For 6 years I worked in the growing markets in

Asia. Especially in my capacity as director business

development, this meant an ongoing effort to

identify opportunities and to manage growth. In

the Netherlands I will work in a mature market,

where the emphasis will be much more on

organisational development and optimisation of

the service level. The additional big difference

will be the difference between the Dutch and the

Asian labour relations.

What achievements as a board

4 member of the ADB make you proud

and are there things you wanted

but failed to achieve?

As a treasurer I regard the added transparency

in the financial administration as a good

accomplishment. When I started as a treasurer I

came across a simple administration that had grown

very complex over the years. More in general,

I am proud of the fact that we were able to form

a high quality board and improved the quality

of the monthly meetings. The visit to Vopak last

month was a good example of this (smile).

What I had hoped but where we have not been

successful, was a growth of the number of

members. In itself explainable given the exodus

of expatriates from Singapore, but on the other

hand surprising as I still regard the ADB to be one

of the best networking platforms for the Dutch

business community.

How do you see the future of the

5 ADB?

In line with the vision of the current

board I see the ADB as a networking organisation

with a solid number of members that meet

frequently to attend high quality events. These

events can be presentations by excellent speakers,

interesting company visits, but also business

lunches. Not the number of meetings, but the

quality of the events is important.

However, one of the most important things for

the future of the ADB is the continuing feedback

from the members to the ADB board and editorial

committee. Only with a high level of involvement

and commitment from the members the ADB will

prove to be sustainable.

13

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


HEIR, THRONE & KINGDOM

Princess Amalia has arrived

by Brigitte Velema

Sunday, the 7th of

December the first

child of crown prince

Willem-Alexander and

his wife princess

Maxima was born. The

arrival of the little

princess ended the

speculations about

princess Maxima being

pregnant of a twin.

These speculations

came in to life as the

mother was ordered

bed rest for several months and after the sudden

announcement that the delivery would probably

take place more than a month before the initial

given delivery date. From hindsight the original

announced birth date in January was probably a

month after the real expected date. This was most

likely done to prevent too much media pressure

on the couple in the last weeks of the pregnancy,

as the Belgium crown prince and his wife practiced

the same tactic.

There was no twin, but a little baby girl

weighing 3310 grams with a length

of 52 cm. Both mother and child are

doing very well and crown prince

Willem-Alexander added that the

mother was intensely happy with her

daughter. Queen Beatrix announced

the birth in the Staats Courant, just

as the birth of her sons were

announced in the same paper by her

mother, at that time Queen Juliana.

The little princess is named

Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen

Victoria, princess of the Netherlands,

princess of Oranje Nassau. Prince Willem-Alexander

explained that it was difficult to decide on the

names as they did not know the gender of the baby

in advance, and by the time the baby was there it

turned out that a lot of historical royal names had

already been claimed for websites. In daily life

the little princess will go by the name of Amalia.

Amalia is a familiar name in the royal family’s

history. Amalia van Solms-Braunfels was the wife

of Prince Frederik Hendrik and the mother of

Willem II. She used her influence to improve the

position of the House of Orange. She introduced

court etiquette, had 3 palaces build (including

Huis ten Bosch) and took care of the finances. Her

major triumph was the arranged marriage of her

eldest son to English king’s daughter Mary Stuart,

who later gave birth to Willem III.

The newborn will get her own coins of 10 Euro,

special silver and gold coins and stamps with her

image. Several towns have declared that they will

name a square or a street after

the princess. The baby already

has a coat of arms, designed by

the “Hoge Raad van de Adel’. It

contains two blue fields with the

Dutch Lion and two gold colored

fields with a hunting horn. Both

symbols originate from the van Oranje Nassau

family. In the middle there is a small coat of arms

of the Zorreguieta family with a fortress, two

cypress trees and two wolves.

About an hour after the princess was born,

101 salutes were fired in Den Haag, Den Helder,

Willemstad (Curaçao) en Oranjestad (Aruba). This

is Dutch tradition to celebrate the

birth of a new future heir to the

throne. The Dutch responded in

generally very enthusiastic to the

news of the birth. A lot of people

raised the Dutch flag and within

hours after the birth more than

10.000 people congratulated the

royal family with the birth on the

website of the royal house and more

than 500.000 people visited the site.

On search engines on the Internet

the name Catharina-Amalia quickly

rose to the most searched subject. A lot of

people phoned each other after the official

announcement of the birth of the baby, as the

number of phone calls made increased with

50% according to KPN. SMS messages increased

with 100%.

It is still possible to congratulate the royal

family with the birth of the princess on the website

of the royal house: www.koninklijkhuis.nl.

14

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


COMPANY NEWS

2003, Dutch Media/Newspapers

Smit salvage to rescue Greek

Tasman Spirit Tanker

Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of Dutch maritime services provider Smit Internationale NV,

has signed a contract for the rescue of Greek tanker Tasman Spirit.

Tasman Spirit sank five months ago near Karachi, southern Pakistan. The rescue

operations will begin immediately and are expected to be completed in several months.

No financial details were disclosed. According to Smit Salvage public relations manager

L. Walder, the sum depends on the rescue operations. Smit Salvage will also remove the

rest of the oil from the ship before the operation.

Smit Internationale was founded in 1842 in Rotterdam. The company is divided into

four divisions providing harbour towage and additional port services, terminal management,

terminal operations, rescue and wreck removal, environment care and consultancy, civil

construction, ocean and coastal towage services.

Anglo-Dutch Shell, trade

unions do not agree on CAO

Shell Nederland Raffinaderij and Shell

Nederland Chemie, Dutch units of Anglo-

Dutch oil company Royal Dutch/Shell Group,

did not reach an agreement with the Dutch

trade unions FNV and CNV over the new

collective labour agreement (CAO) for a total

2,300 workers at the plants in Pernis and

Moerdijk, southern Netherlands, Shell said.

Shell wanted to stick to the terms of the

2004 CAO between the Dutch Cabinet, trade

unions and employers, which envisaged a

freeze of salary increases in 2004. FNV

demanded a structural wage increase of 650

euro in 2004 and a one-off 650 euro ($791.96)

result-related payment, while Shell offered

two one-off result-related payments of 1.0

pct in April 2004 and December 2004. Shell’s

offer concerns the period between October

1, 2003 and April 1, 2005. Both trade unions

will present Shell’s offer to their members

in the week ending December 19, 2003. A

total of 3,000 are currently employed at the

Pernis and Moerdijk plants, 2,300 of whom

are subjects to the CAO.

KLM and Air France

merger still on track

KLM and Air France expect to present US and

European Union regulators with their merger

filing “within four to five weeks”, the Dutch

flag carrier said yesterday, but added that

the timetable remained on track.

Regulators in Brussels and Washington are

expected to take six to eight weeks to weigh

the application to form what would be the

world’s largest airline by turnover and the

third biggest by traffic volumes, KLM said.

The companies are taking their time to

ensure the filing is thorough enough to satisfy

regulators who will look closely at pricing

and route overlap, and have twice already

pushed back the expected date by which

documents will be submitted.

“The regulators want very detailed

information, for instance on (ticket) pricing

and routes,” KLM said. “We are happy with

the progress we are making.” The merger,

announced on September 30, would then be

put to shareholders for approval. The

carriers expect to launch a share exchange

offer in March 2004. Ian Bickerton

KLM cancels test with on-board undercover

security officers

Royal Airlines KLM provisionally cancelled

a test with undercover security officers

aboard its aircraft, chairman of the pilot’s

trade union, H. de Vries, said.

KLM cancelled the test as the security

officers were supposed to be armed and

the company and the pilots feared that

these arms may be used against the

security officers and the crew, De Vries

said.

The airline company and the Dutch

Justice Ministry negotiated for months on

the improvement of security on board of

the aircraft. The security officers have to

prevent terrorist acts like the attacks in the

USA on September 11, 2001. Several airline

companies have on-board security officers

on some flights.

The Dutch security officers have passed

special training in Germany and in Israel

since end-2002. The so-called air-marshals

were to carry weapons under their civilian

clothes and to travel undercover. The

presence of undercover officers also has to

discourage terrorists to operate on board of

aircaft.

Ahold’s offering

succeeds, assures firm

of 3 billion euros

Ahold NV said its shareholders had subscribed

to more than 90% of an offering of 3 billion

euros in new shares. Ahold, the world’s

third-largest supermarket operator in

terms of sales after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of

the U.S. and Carrefour SA of France, was

hit by a major accounting scandal in

February involving improprieties at several

subsidiaries around the world.

Ahold hopes the rights issue coupled with

asset sales, which aims to raise 2.5 billion

euros, will end the company's financial

worries and will help meeting its debt

obligation during the next couple of years.

The Dutch retailer said shareholders

had exercised their rights to 94.6% of the

new shares by the close of the offering

Wednesday. Ahold’s banks placed the

remaining shares in a private placement

to a group of institutional investors.

Shareholders subscribed to 587.3 million

new Ahold shares, leaving 33.7 million shares

outstanding. Shareholders also subscribed

to 109.9 million depositary receipts as part

of the overall offering.

The new shares have started trading

in December 2003. The rights issue is fully

underwritten by the banks, meaning that

Ahold is assured of receiving the 3 billion

euros it wants to restructure the company

and bring down its debt of 11 billion euros.

When Ahold announced the offering

recently, it offered shareholders the right

to buy two new shares for every three they

own. The offer price of 4.83 euros was a

42% discount to the previous day’s closing

price of 8.27 euros. The remaining shares

in the rump placement were priced at

5.78 euros, Wednesday’s closing price.

Duinrell not to launch

smoke-free areas

Amusement park Duinrell in Wassenaar,

western Netherlands, is not obliged to make

its buildings smoke-free, a court in the Hague

said. Earlier Dutch non-smokers’ association

Clean Air Now (CAN) had asked for a smoking

ban in Duinrell. CAN mainly protested

smoking in the restaurants and cafeterias of

Duinrell, which affect employees’ health.

Employers in the Netherlands will be

obliged to provide a smoke-free working

place for their employees as of January 1,

2004, according to a new anti-smoking

regulation. Dutch Health Minister Hans

Hoogervorst proposed public catering

companies to develop their own strategy for

setting up smoke-free areas.

15

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


KNOW YOUR TAX

In order to level the open market playing field, the

EU has been trying to harmonise the Member States

tax systems for years. As far as indirect taxes are

concerned, the effort has been rather successful

with all EU countries adopting similar VAT systems.

In respect of direct taxes (i.e. income taxes), the

harmonisation has been less successful. This is caused by

the fact that Member States do not like to give up their

sovereign powers when it comes to direct taxation.

Direct taxation is by many States considered to be an

important policy instrument (e.g. fiets van de zaak etc.).

Furthermore, any proposal relating to the harmonisation

of direct taxation requires unanimous approval. This

delays matters further.

There has however been a strong proponent in

furthering the harmonisation of the Member States’ tax

systems and that is the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Taxpayers in the Member States can invoke the EU

legislation directly and if a Member State’s tax system is

considered not to be in

line with EU legislation,

Bosal case

the Member State is

required to amend its

domestic legislation.

The ECJ has recently

used this ‘power to

By Olaf Botermans destruct’ with respect to the Dutch tax system. The Court

& Pieter de Ridder

decided that one of the oldest features of the Dutch

Loyens & Loeff

corporate income tax system caused an infringement to

Singapore

the EU treaty. The non-deductibility of costs relating to

qualifying subsidiaries with foreign activities was held

incompatible with the ‘freedom of establishment’ as

codified in the EU Treaty.

Income from qualifying

subsidiaries is exempt in the

Netherlands. Expenses relating to

such a subsidiary are non deductible,

unless the subsidiary generates profits

which are taxable in the Netherlands

(‘13 (1) expenses’). The ECJ’s line of

reasoning was that it should not make

a difference whether the subsidiary

generates taxable income in the

Netherlands or any other EU State.

Following ECJ’s decision, the

Dutch government submitted a

proposal of law to the Dutch

parliament on October 13, 2003.

The proposal, which intends to limit

the budgetary consequences of the

Court’s decision contains thin

capitalisation rules and a measure aimed at ring fencing

prior and future year losses claimed by Dutch holding

companies. These tax losses (not to be confused with

commercial losses!) are the result of the fact that the

income from the qualifying subsidiary will be exempt in

the hands of the holding company, while on the basis of

Income from qualifying

subsidiaries is exempt in

the Netherlands. Expenses

relating to such subsidiary

are not deductible, unless

the subsidiary generates

profits which are taxable

in the Netherlands (‘13 (1)

expenses’).

the Bosal case, the interest will be deductible. The

proposal furthermore deletes the provision dealing

with the non-deductibility of expenses relating to

qualifying subsidiaries.

Instead, the thin capitalisation rules disallow

interest deductions on excessive debt financing.

Interest on loans from related parties is in principle

considered excessive to the extent that the debt-toequity

ratio of the taxpayer exceeds 3:1. For purposes

of calculating the debt-to-equity ratio, all loans and

receivables must be netted against each other at the

beginning and the end of the year. Then, the average

of the two net debt positions is taken into account

for purposes of calculating the ratio. Equity is defined

as the average fiscal equity at the beginning and the

end of the year. If the average (net) debt-to-equity

ratio exceeds 3:1, the interest relating to excessive

debt-financing is not deductible for corporate income

tax purposes. In addition to determining the holding

company’s debt to equity ration on a stand-alone basis,

the debt to equity ratio of the group to which the

holding company may belong may also be applied.

It is important to note that these thin

capitalisation rules only apply to qualifying holding

companies. For this purpose, a holding company is a

company which is for 90 percent or more engaged in

holding participations and financing related entities.

A company is not a holding company if it has at least

25 full time employees engaged in non-holding

activities.

Under the loss ring fencing rules, losses incurred

by a holding company may only be utilised against

income in a year in which the

taxpayer also qualifies as a

holding company. In addition, in

the year in which the loss is

utilised, the positive difference

between the book value of the

receivables on related parties

and the book value of the

payables to related parties may

not have increased when

compared to the year in which

the loss was incurred, unless the

taxpayer establishes that such

increase was not incurred with

a view to utilising the loss.

It is important to note that

before the Bosal case, 13 (1)

expenses were not deductible.

As such, no tax loss would arise.

Under the thin capitalisation rules, tax losses may arise

as a result of the deduction of expenses falling within

the prescribed debt-to-equity ratio. The resulting tax

losses may provide an interesting tax shelter for

income which would otherwise have been taxable

in the Netherlands.

The above intends to provide you with a general understanding of tax developments in the Netherlands. The

above should not be regarded as a substitute for appropriate detailed advice.

16

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


FINANCIAL INSIGHT

China: Threat or engine of growth?

Jan Lambregts

Economist / Strategist

Rabobank

A number of threats are supposed to originate from China. Flying accusations include the

export of deflation, responsibility for manufacturing employment losses in the rest of

the world and manipulation of its currency for unfair trade advantages, much to the

detriment of the US trade balance. Should the world be worried?

China’s export of deflation just one of many deflationary forces in play

China’s labor cost advantage over most other countries in the world is substantial. In an attempt to retain

high levels of profitability, many Western and Japanese companies have tried to winter the economic downturn

by aggressively cutting costs through a shift of (part of) their production facilities into China. The resulting

downwards pressure on global prices compounded to the weak price environment of the economic downturn,

which was in turn largely the result of the investment boom that preceded it. The spectre of a liquidity trap

surfaced, but appears to have passed. While it is true that the China factor added to the risk of a liquidity

trap at an unfortunate time, its cost deflation would normally be considered benign to consumers and

overall was a relatively limited factor compared to other deflationary forces in play.

Chart 1: Export deflation accusation may turn into export

inflation 1

Chart 2: What about China’s employment losses after Asian

Crisis?

Source: CEIC, Rabobank Research

Source: CEIC, Rabobank Research

1

Official Chinese data series

regularly draw heavy criticism

for their unreliability. Since

these are often the only data

sources available on China, it

is hard to escape using them.

In particular the charts on

export deflation/inflation and

employment losses above

should be interpreted with

caution. The charts on trade

are more reliable, while the

charts on export/GDP and

Hong Kong visitor arrivals draw

their data from other sources.

China will not absorb all manufacturing activity

It cannot be denied that the reallocation of production facilities to China has hurt (employment in) certain

industries and forces many countries to rethink their economic development strategies. The notion that

China is about to absorb most of the world’s manufacturing activity, however, is too simplistic. First, China’s

newfound capitalism is built on fragile fundamentals. The country still faces enormous challenges that will

likely limit its potential to endlessly absorb manufacturing activity. Second, standard economic trade theory

teaches us that allocation decisions are about comparative rather than absolute advantages. So while China

may be the cheapest place to produce just about anything, it can be expected to specialize in those industries

in which it is relatively speaking the most efficient, leaving plenty of other areas for other countries to

specialize in. True, some industries and countries will face painful decisions; yet rather than investing

energy in fighting these outcomes, countries ultimately stand to gain more from focussing on how best to

position and benefit from the emerging Chinese economy.

China not primarily to blame for large US trade deficit

Various studies have shown the Chinese renminbi, which has de facto been pegged to the US dollar since 1994,

to be undervalued by a range of 15-40% (REER basis). This has prompted the US to blame China for its growing

trade deficit, claiming Chinese policymakers are using the peg to gain unfair trade advantages. A casual

examination of the large bilateral trade deficit of the US with China would seem to confirm this, yet that road

is too simplistic. The large US trade deficit with the world is the combined result of the US consumer living it

large while the rest of the world has proven both willing to supply the products and plug the resulting financing

18

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


FINANCIAL INSIGHT

gap. One has to give the American consumer credit for at least picking one of the cheapest manufacturers

(China) to supply their products. To subsequently claim that the resulting large bilateral trade deficit with

China is the sole result of currency manipulation is however a statement for US domestic political consumption

rather than an expression of economic rationale. We think the undervaluation of the renminbi is likely to be

close to 15%. Even then one can wonder if that really calls for a correction given China’s fragile fundamentals

and enormous challenges ahead.

Chart 3: China continues to run a large bilateral trade

surplus with US

Chart 4: EU countries running a trade surplus recently

though

Source: CEIC, Rabobank Research

Source: CEIC, Rabobank Research

A potential engine of growth to the world…

If threats have been exaggerated, could China then be a boon to the world instead, i.e. a new engine of

growth? We think the potential is surely there. China’s 1.3 billion citizens present an enormous market to

the rest of the world as the country’s economy and purchasing power continues to expand rapidly. China’s

policymakers have clearly committed themselves to an ambitious growth program and seem determined to

continue economic reforms to further free market thinking and mechanisms. Moreover, unlike the successful

“Asian Tigers”, China is not overtly focussed on exports. This leaves more room for the development of

vibrant domestic demand, which in turn offers export opportunities to the rest of the world. China’s ascension

to the WTO at the end of 2001 initially saw a boost to Chinese exports and a rising trade surplus with the rest

of the world, but ultimately also acts to open up Chinese markets to foreign exporters. Japan and Euroland

are already enjoying a trade surplus with China, suggesting the US may be the exception rather than the rule.

…especially to the Asian region

For the Asian region (including Japan) in particular China could be an engine of growth. Geographical

proximity guarantees many Asian countries of an advantage over the rest of the world when it comes to

blending into new supply chains with China at the center. This also leaves Asian countries well positioned to

meet growing Chinese demand for products. A wealthier China should also produce a steady stream of

tourists to the rest of Asia.

But enormous economic and political challenges on the road limit our enthusiasm

The above illustrates the potential of China as an engine of growth to the rest of the world. Unfortunately

it cannot be denied that there are serious obstacles on the road. The country’s financial system is

underdeveloped by modern economies’ standards and features a particularly weak banking sector. Institutions

and legal systems in general require large overhauls to gear up China as a sustainable engine of growth.

Bureaucracy and corruption are widespread problems that need to be addressed. While Chinese policymakers

are strongly focussed on economic progress and probably have both the willingness and resolve to see

through significant reforms to face challenges in the years ahead, that is not to say there won’t be any

serious setbacks. The risk of such setbacks is far from academic and dampens our enthusiasm over China’s

potential as a growth locomotive in the coming years substantially. The transformation of the Chinese

economy is a monster project in all of its dimensions, of which the sociological one cannot be ignored. New

freedoms could change the very fabric of society and present additional challenges to political leaders and

sources of risk to the country’s stability.

19

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


FINANCIAL INSIGHT

Chart 5: China’s export/GDP ratio in line with OECD average

Chart 6: Chinese tourists promising boost for Asian region

Source: Worldbank Development Indicators 2003, Rabobank Research

Source: CEIC, Rabobank Research

The real threat to the world is for China to disappoint, rather than excel

The variety of threats that is said to originate from China are more often accusations from countries that

refuse to solve their own structural shortcomings that lie at the heart of the suggested problems. The real

threat the world should pay more attention to is a serious setback in the economic development of China

somewhere in the upcoming years, which could be triggered by economic and/or political factors. Not

only would this hurt many countries’ economies through their increasingly close economic ties with China,

but it would also do serious damage to the long-term potential engine of growth China could be for the

rest of the world.

20

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


DUTCH DESK

2003, Dutch Media/Newspapers

Tilburg Reeshof Train

Station Collapses

The new train station in the Dutch town of

Tilburg Reeshof, in Noord-Brabant province,

was closed when part of the platform

collapsed a day after the station was opened.

According to Dutch state-owned railways

authority ProRail, a large quantity of sand

used for the station’s construction spilled

and the pile collapsed after heavy rainfall.

An unnamed building company will repair

the collapsed platform.

The trains will not stop at the Tilburg

Reeshof station until the repair is completed.

Passengers will use buses. The reconstruction

of the station is expected to be completed

within a day. The trains will stop at the train

station on Sunday because they travel with

less passenger carriages and could avoid

the damaged station sections.

1,100 sea containers to

provide accommodation

to Amsterdam students

The Amsterdam executive municipal body

College of Mayor and Aldermen voted in

favour of converting 1,100 sea containers

into students’ lodgings. The move is aimed

at dealing with the current room shortage

for Amsterdam students. Students will pay

250 euro ($308) a month for these lodgings.

The containers will be located on the

H.J.E. Wenckebachweg street for a period of

five years and will then be moved to another

location. Dutch Keetwonen foundation will

be responsible for the construction of the

rooms and Amsterdam housing corporation

Intermezzo will maintain them.

Construction works will start in the

spring of 2004. The first students are

expected to move in the containers at the

beginning of the 2004/2005 academic year.

Smoking ban to be

introduced in

Dutch Crematoria

The National Association of Crematoria

(LVC) in the Netherlands will introduce

a smoking ban in its crematoria as of

January 1, 2004, LVC reported.

The smoking ban will be enforced on

the entire premises, and apply both to

employees and visitors. Employers in

the Netherlands will be obliged to

provide a smoke-free working place

for their employees as of January 1,

2004, according to a new anti-smoking

regulation.

Crematoria employees will have to

inform visitors about the ban on smoking

in advance, LVC said. All the crematoria

in the Netherlands, about 60, are

associated with LVC.

Three northern provinces to

report shortage in employees

The three northern provinces will report a shortage in teachers, medical employees,

police officers and employees in the agriculture sector in 2004, a survey carried out by

the Groningen University showed.

The shortage is mainly a result of the ageing of employees in these sectors, the

survey showed. An increasing unemployment rate was registered in the three provinces

Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.

The Groningen University expects a shortage of employees in more sectors if the

economical situation will improve. The northern provinces are more affected by the

ageing of employees compared to the other Dutch provinces. The working population

in the three provinces will decrease by more than 22,000 people until 2010, mainly in

the educational and agricultural sectors.

Zuid Holland proposes two regional

broadcasters to go bankrupt

The majority of the council of the western

Dutch province of Zuid Holland proposed the

troubled regional TV and radio broadcasters

RTV Rijnmond and RTV West to go bankrupt.

After the bankruptcy the broadcasters

have to resume operations after a

restructuring programme has been launched,

the provincial council said. A resumption of

the operations will cost the province

between 4.0 mln euro ($4.9 mln) and 5.0

mln euro ($6.1 mln) per broadcaster, while

a restructuring programme without a

bankruptcy will be less expensive. RTV West

will probably need 3.0 mln euro ($3.7 mln)

to start a restructuring programme, RTV

West director Binnendijk said.

RTV Rijnmond and RTV West face

financial difficulties mainly due to excessive

spending, big number of employees and

decreased advertising revenue, according to

a survey, which was carried out by the

province and published in November 2003.

RTV West has to cut 35 of its 146 jobs, and

RTV Rijnmond needs to cut 37 of the 147

jobs to keep operational, the survey showed.

The council of Zuid Holland will decide

later whether to allocate subsidies to the

regional broadcasters.

Rijksmuseum

moves Rembrandt’s

Night Watch

The Dutch Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

moved Rembrandt’s painting Night Watch

to the Philips Wing of the museum.

The Night Watch was moved for the first

time since 1945. All the 17th century

masterpieces of the museum, including Night

Watch, will be exhibited at the Philips Wing

until 2008, as the Rijksmuseum started a

272 mln euro ($332 mln) renovation project.

The transfer of the painting, which was

not announced due to security reasons,

started at 0630 local time. Conservators,

art-transport specialists and technical

employees placed the paining in a wooden

frame, which was specially made for the

operation. The frame was protected by a

cover, which was equipped with sensors

which had to control the temperature, the

vibrations and the humidity during the

transfer. Around 1200 local time, the Night

Watch was transported outside the museum

and brought to the Philips Wing. A large area

around the museum was closed by the police

forces during the move across the street.

The Philips Wing will open later in

December 2003. Rijksmuseum has lent part

of its collection to five museums in the

Netherlands during the renovation works

and several exhibitions will travel to Europe,

the United States and Japan.

21

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


WHEELS

Love and CarriageBy Olaf Botermans


Quinny not adept

at cornering

Singapore is a fertile place. Many people arrive in

Singapore childless, only to enter the phase of early

parenthood after a couple of years. This change

has a fascinating impact on the social lives of the

would—be parents. Not only do they now carry the

responsibility for raising a child, they also develop

a whole new circle of friends with whom they can

share their new and all encompassing interest.

Topics which were not considered interesting a

few months before become the main issue of

conversation.

And within this newfound palette of

conversation, the child’s first means of

transportation becomes one of the most fiercely

debated topics. The main advantage of carriages

over other aspects of baby life such as baby

clothing, is that a carriage has wheels. This feature

makes it OK for fathers to discuss this topic with

an attention for detail that rivals the purchase of

a new computer or a new car.

Carriages are compared, debated, criticised

and defended. Practical aspects such as weight

and durability becomes a point of concern where

previously average cornering speeds, low centre

of gravity and tyre pressures would have been the

first point of attention. It has been said that parents

are raised by their children and the purchase of

a carriage indeed seems to indicate a mature

tendency to place more emphasis on practicality

and function than before.

However, fashion and trends have not entirely

been eradicated from the minds of caring parents.

In the past ten years, carriages have become,

like almost any other product, a vital ‘life style’

accessory which demonstrates how active and hip

the parents actually are. It all started with the

three wheel carriages from Venice beach which

allowed babies and toddlers to participate in their

parents active lifestyles of jogging and rollerblading

along beaches and forest trails. The number

of life style carriages mushroomed and the days of

the old-fashioned carriage seemed truly gone.

One of the more recent additions to this long

line of parent tailored carriages is from Dutch origin

and has the non-Dutch name ‘Bugaboo’. What have

Catherina Zeta Jones, Zinedine Zidane, Paul de

Leeuw, Princess Maxima, Julianne Moore, Marco

Borsato, Frans Bauer, and Miranda (Sex in the City)

in common? They all carry their offspring in the

Bugaboo.

The Bugaboo Frog was designed by Max

Barenbrug, an industrial designer, and further

developed in collaboration with a medical doctor

Eduard Zanen in an attempt to create the ideal

baby stroller.

In 1994, at the Design Academy in Eindhoven,

Max Barenbrug developed a multi-functional

stroller for his graduation project. His stroller was

designed to function with a bike and convert to a

back-pack. The product awarded Barenbrug to

graduate Cum Laude in two graduation directions

‘Mobility and Leisure’ – with a stroller and a bike.

In particular, the design for his stroller was awarded

22

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004



Break ascent not a luxury when traversing

rough Singapore jungle


High speed ability of Quinny impresses

the ‘Best Design of the Year’. Eduard Zanen, Max’s

brother-in-law, runs a medical advice and CPR/

reanimation company and has been involved with

the development from the beginning.

The first designs of the Bugaboo turned out to

be not that sturdy, the push bar was not strong

enough and would break every now and then. There

were other weak points as well. According to Max

Barenbrug, the original manufacturer mixed old

plastics with new plastics in order to reduce costs.

In order to be able to maintain strict quality

control, Bugaboo set up their own manufacturing

plant in Taiwan.

The real success for the Bugaboo came when

Barenbrug and Zanen arranged for a product

placement with the comedy series ‘Sex in the City’.

One of the series’ characters walks around New

York City transporting her baby (Brady) in a brand

new Bugaboo. After that, the Bugaboo became a

phenomenon in the US with press attention from

unlikely sources. The article ‘Stroller Status Wars

Heat Up With Fancy Foreign Models’ appeared in

the Wall Street Journal on November 1, 2002.

Buyers of the exotic foreign models claim that these

are better made than their American counterparts,

with more-solid materials and well-thought-out

design. “They’re not plasticky or rickety”. And the

US would not be the US if it did not have parents

worrying about whether their stroller would fit

in nicely with the interior

design of their home.

People Magazine (US

equivalent of Privé)

called the Bugaboo the

‘hottest stroller’ in its

November 17 issue.

In Singapore context,

and then as far as

the Dutch community

is concerned the only

real competition to the

Bugaboo (some 9 red

Bugaboos were counted

Bugaboo comes with caravan option

at the last ZOAT tournament) seems to come from

the Quinny. The Quinny is a three wheel design

and that sums up its biggest forte. The three wheel

design looks good and the Quinny has an ingenious

folding mechanism which allows for easy storage.

However, due to the three wheel set-up, the Quinny

is not particular fond of cornering. The designers

of the Quinny, (the Quinny company recently

became Dutch owned) have attempted to solve this

problem by introducing a front wheel which carves

its way into the desired direction. However, even

with this modification the Quinny still has a turning

circle with the size of Denmark. In favour of the

Quinny, through the success of the Bugaboo it was

dealt a card which may become its biggest trump

yet; a Quinny is not a Bugaboo. With the Bugaboo

becoming more and more popular, hip parents are

turning away from the Bugaboo and looking into

the sleek design of Quinny.

So, where does that leave the fashionable yet

responsible parent?. Both strollers performed well

in our test, but the Bugaboo is more agile, lighter,

and does not require wide open spaces to make a

U turn. And as far as fashion is concerned, trends

come and go. As a reaction to the spiffy life style

strollers, some über-trendy parents have been

spotted taking the little ones in a old-fashioned

stroller as used by your parents. For the time

being, the Bugaboo seems the stroller of choice,

but tell your mother not

to throw out your first

means of transportation

as yet.

Stretch Strollers

A number of manufacturers

offers a stretched

version of their strollers.

Quinny offers the twoseater

Fashion Tandem.

Bugaboo does not offer

a limousine model.

23

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004


EMBASSY INFO

Elections European

Parliament / National

consulting referendum

The elections for the European Parliament will take place in the Netherlands on 10 June

2004. Dutch citizens living abroad can participate if they are 18 years old on the day of

election and not registered in any municipality in the Netherlands (bevolkingsadministratie).

How to vote?

In order to be able to vote you have to register before 28 April 2004. You have to send in

an election-registration form to be registered at the municipality of The Hague.

Dutch citizens in Singapore who have participated in the last European Parliament

Elections, should receive the election-registration forms at the last address known to

the municipality of The Hague;

• From 10 December 2003, you will be able to download the election-registration form

from the following websites: www.minbuza.nl/verkiezingen and www.ukomttochook.nl.

• In January 2004, the election-registration forms will be mailed to all Dutch citizens who

have registered themselves at the Embassy at the last known address.

If you are not registered at the Embassy, or have moved without notifying the Embassy,

you may collect the forms at the Embassy during opening hours or send in a request by fax:

6737 1940 or e-mail: sin@minbuza.nl . Please clearly state your full mailing address.

The forms with the relevant documents (copy of your Dutch passport) have to be send to:

Royal Netherlands Embassy (o.v.v. Verkiezingen), Tanglin P.O. Box 447, Singapore 912415

For more information:

✒ www.minbuza.nl/verkiezingen

✒ www.nethemb.org.sg

✒ www.ukomttochook.nl

National Consulting referendum:

On 10 June 2004 or at a later date, a national consulting referendum will be held with

regards to the European Constitution. If your request for registering as a voter is approved,

you will be registered for the referendum as well.

ASSOCIATION INFO

New Members

Mr. Jouke Tuinhof

Schering-Plough

Mr. Eduard Holtz

Mees Pierson

Leaving Members

Ms. Lieke Rijken

Leaff

Ms. Sabrina Rubin

Portelet Asia

Mr. Marc Jan Giesselink

Sigma Coatings

Mr. Rob Nijst

Vopak

This Months event

The Board of the ADB invites you and your partner to the

ADB New Year’s Borrel

January 2004

Monday 5 January 2004

1900 hour

Venue: Residence Chairman ADB Tom de Jong

69 King’s Close, Singapore.

Directions: Driving on Holland Road, turn into Farrer Road. At the

first traffic light turn left into Empress Road, at the end turn left again,

now take the second street on your right which is King’s Close.

Note: Parking is very limited. It is advisable to take a taxi.

Mr. Kees Vissers

Vopak

24

Vol.14 • No. 1 • January 2004

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