For the second part of our Behind the Scenes of Interclean series, we take a closer look at the man in charge of keeping each show as fresh and as exciting as it can be – without ever losing the personal touch.
Staying one step ahead of the future
Keeping an eye on the professional cleaning and hygiene market is easily one of the most important parts of putting together a successful show. After all, how can Interclean Amsterdam reflect the innovation taking place in the industry if we haven’t kept up with it ourselves? That’s where our Director of Professional Cleaning & Hygiene, Rob den Hertog, comes in…
Boasting a huge amount of experience in what makes a show work, Rob knows what visitors are looking for on the exhibition hall floor and expert-led sessions. He has worked on our shows for more than 25 years, including seven Amsterdam events and many others in Poland and Istanbul.
Saying that, while he has his finger on the pulse of what matters to the industry, Rob’s always excited to see new and unexpected developments take place. It’s what makes each event different and fun for him.
Bringing the industry and its people together
While he might spend plenty of time immersed in the latest industry innovations and trends, Rob also likes to make sure Interclean Amsterdam never loses sight of the personal element involved – the people who make each event so special.
As he says, what he enjoys most about his role is “meeting and talking to people from around the world.” And that’s not just his own way of working. In fact, Rob sees these connections as integral to the development of the show.
“It’s vital to get a sense of our cultural and business differences,” he says. “Also, we have to take the time to find out what drives the people we interact with.” He’s right as well. When you’re bringing together people from more than 140 countries, they’re not all going to be looking for the same thing. That’s why Rob works hard to make sure everyone who visits Interclean Amsterdam comes away with the inspiration they need.
Making memories, one show at a time
If you’re not sure just how important the people who participate in Interclean Amsterdam are to each show, you only have to ask Rob what his favourite memory is from the events he’s been at the heart of.
“My favourite memory is also linked to the most impressive one – at the 25th edition of Interclean,” he says. “It was a hugely special show where we were able to honour some of the key industry figures who have contributed to the success of Interclean.”
The sense of community felt at the event was so great, it was even able to help Rob come to terms with a personal loss at the show.
“Unfortunately, during that edition of Interclean, Peter Holt – one of our main sources of support and inspiration over the years – suddenly passed away,” he explains. It was a tragic experience for us all, but I’ll never forget the warmth of feeling everyone shared along with their grief – it was overwhelming.”
For Rob, Interclean Amsterdam is far more than an exhibition; it’s a gathering of friends from across the industry.
Engineering remains a key passion
So, what does Rob do when he’s not finding new ideas to bring to the next edition of Interclean Amsterdam? Well, he’s still an engineer at heart; and that’s what inspires his hobbies.
“I love to relax and empty my head with a ride out on one of my motorbikes,” he says. “And then, in winter, I pretend to be an audiophile – fine tuning my hi-fi equipment. It’s the engineer in me wanting to make sure I get the best possible performance out of everything.”
“Both are the very definition of hobbies, though,” he laughs. “They cost a lot of time and money, despite being technically useless – unless you count the enjoyment I get from them.”
Looking forward to the future of Interclean
It hasn’t been long since the end of Interclean Amsterdam 2018, but Rob’s already working hard on the main themes for 2020. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with and how it will shape the future of our events.
In the meantime, watch out for our next post when we’ll look at how each show manages to maintain an incredibly high level of quality throughout.
Meet Robert Stelling »
Meet Marjolijn van Loon »
Meet Hilke de Vries »