The end is near, and that means time to look back. It was another special year, with no less than seven new Tribes offices in our network, a lot of new people, and also a few lessons. For example, I found out that the Netherlands doesn't have such a great entrepreneurial landscape as I have always thought (think of the dga tax) and that SMEs are no longer appreciated (this is shown by the fact that our new mayor Femke Halsema doesn't have the time to open the seventh site in her city).
In any case, it was a busy and special year. It all started in February, when we left for Düsseldorf to open our first branch in Germany at Graf Adolf Platz. A special day, such a foreign launch, and a lot of journalists came by for interviews, and the location was filled with fresh Tribes members, colleagues and people who just wanted to get to know Tribes through a nice party.
Not long after that I left on a journey again, but this time I took the plane to the Mosuo in China. What an experience, to see how a Mosuo girl makes the transformation to an adult woman, accompanied by her family. And I also made the third edition of the documentary series Nomads all over the World. This episode was of course about the Mosuo, and also contains my most special 'business dinner' of this year; with Apu, the host of the Mosuo family.
Once back in the Netherlands, in March, it was time to open the third Tribes location at the South Axis: Tribes Amsterdam Zuiderhof, dedicated to the Aboriginals. It turned out to be quite difficult to get a few normal sounds out of such a didgeridoo, but that opening was also successful.
In April, the third Brussels location was officially opened, complete with ambassadors from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, the ambassador of the Netherlands and the president of the Brussels parliament. It was great to see how all countries joined forces, because the Bajau, the hero-tribe of Tribes Brussels Central Station live on the water and are inhabitants of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Tribes Düsseldorf GAP proved to be a success, so it was time to open the second German location. Due to the Brexit there was a lot of interest in Frankfurt, so we turned to that city. The opening of Frankfurt Garden Tower was inaugurated with traditional Mongolian throat singers, and there were many representatives from the municipality and government present.
A month later we went back to Brussels and opened number four at the airport with the ambassador of Iceland. That same day we made a quick round with Suze Mens for another nice show of Business Class and in the evening, we followed the football match Belgium-England at Tribes Brussels Airport (in shirts of the Red Devils together with the Belgian members).
Then back to Frankfurt, because this year it turned out that our eastern neighbors are happy to have our concept. So, it was time to open the third German location and second in Frankfurt: Tribes Frankfurt Central Station in the Oval building.
In between all the openings I had a lot of personal conversations with our own people, suppliers, partners and Tribes members, and you can learn a lot from such conversations. The focus was on three questions: what do you think of Tribes, how are you at Tribes and what do you want to achieve at Tribes? I can only recommend it, because it has brought very valuable insights!
After that it was time for a short holiday, in which I was two whole weeks offline, and able to spend quality time with the kids. Back at the office, it was time for the pearl, the icing on the cake, or should I just say the National Monument? Tribes Amsterdam Raamplein, also known as the Kingdom of Women, was officially opened on November 14th by FCN-Founder Merlin Melles, together with my own power woman Véronique.
We’re closing 2018 with the Mosselgala at the end of November, where we raised no less than €160,220 for Foundation Movement on the Ground by Johnny de Mol, together with a lot of people from the Real Estate world. The money is needed and will be well spent to support refugees on Lesbos in their first steps towards a new and better life.
If you put it down on paper, it doesn't seem that much, but I am very happy with 2018. With the glass that I raise this year at 00.00 on 31-12-2018, I toast on the past year, with the wish that 2019 will be just as beautiful!