Surrounded by heaths, forests, meadows and lakes, Hilversum sounds like an urban jewel in nature’s crown. And as enticing as that little slice of earth may be, it wasn’t the bucolic setting that prompted satis&fy Event Productions B.V. to pick up stakes in Amersfoort and set up camp at Hilversum, a Dutch media center, in 2011. Business was booming with new staff signing on and new customers discovering the benefits of the OSS, so the branch needed more room to grow.
David Kuijpers was on board from day one, and has been permanently employed since 2001. At the time, B.V. was domiciled rather modestly in an old office building at the company’s place of birth, Amstelhoek. The workload was manageable and coordinated by Karben. David, being a trilingual Dutch, English and German speaker as well as an experienced sound engineer, was the right man in the right place—the perfect het mannetje van alles, or jack of all trades.
In the dark days, before the dawn of digital tools to help plan and carry out projects, email was there to shed light on questions. Even so, David often drove to Karben for some face time with his German counterparts. As he recalls it, “It’s always easier to email and phone after you’ve met.” That was one of the reasons why the decision was made years ago to reinforce the team in the Netherlands and delegate more responsibility to the location. Today satis&fy Event Productions B.V. Hilversum employs around 30 people. The range of its services spans the full breadth of the one-stop solution and then some. “We used to be an offshoot of Karben; now we’re independent with our own services and everything that that entails, for example, dry hire and inventory. On top of that, we provide Premium Partnership Services to some clients as part of our service model,” says David. “Our team has a broad skill-set. With everything from specialists to generalists on board, we can carry out projects so as to meet customers’ demands and live up to our expectations for design and execution.”
David had to call on a lot of external support in the early years, but obstacles and problems were less of a linguistic or technical nature: “The communication always went smoothly, even from a purely technical perspective because DIN standards also apply in the Netherlands. But it was harder to get across exactly what we—that is, satis&fy—expect. We were already very design-savvy. Our Dutch partners were accustomed to their own ways of working; the creative people in Germany were coming up with conceptual approaches that were different by design, technically and artistically. My real job was to convey this philosophy to external personnel and make sure it is implemented accordingly.”
The Hilversum site’s operations now go far beyond what satis&fy had intended with this move, which was to be closer to sportswear maker Nike, a client satis&fy has served since the early days. “Today we support a number of customers – Nestlé, Douwe Egberts, Booking.com global, Converse, Red Bull global, H&M, Huawei, Merck,” notes David, adding that the branch also handles jobs for the AV Alliance.
Today equipment, trusses, stages and furniture are warehoused at Zuiderloswal 4, a location with a lot of storage space. The place was rented with a couple of other prerequisites in mind. It would also have to accommodate custom builds for customers and set the stage for growth right from the start. The facility has since been modified repeatedly to adapt it to changing requirements. Today it provides an inviting and inspiring working environment for employees and customers alike. Its vibe is hip, and a keen sense of detail is evident in its design. There’s a touch of dumpster chic with some of the fittings and furnishings rescued from the trash. As a workspace, it is most conducive to communication and sends a strong message: We live by the credo that design rules, and our offices look the part. Here’s wishing Hilversum continued veel succes!