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The “Hiddink Syndrome”

Last night we enjoyed the company of about a hundred international water leaders at the traditional VEWIN KWR dinner party. At the occasion of this IWA congress in the Cine de Chef restaurant in Busan. Apart from its professional pride, the Dutch water sector wished to share its network with friends from the international water community. In an excellent atmosphere of companionship the conversation was very animated, not in the least because of a number of short inspiring intermezzo’s by Pavel Kabat, director IIASA, Tomas Michel of Suez, also president of WssTP, Theo Schmitz, director VEWIN and Mrs. Park Eun-Kyung, Korean ambassador for Water Resources.

It goes without saying that we touched upon the historical ties between Korea and the Netherlands. The most famous Dutchmen in Korea are Hendrick Hamel, an East India Company bookkeeper who was shipwrecked off the coast of Korea in 1653, and soccer coach Guus Hiddink with a, by now, almost mythical status. His coaching strategy and philosophies are characterized here as having mantralike qualities. Korean people even refer to this as the “Hiddink syndrome”.

Hopefully our water sector will gain similar appreciation in due time. Indeed, a very enjoyable evening, deepening the friendship between two water-innovative nations.

Wim van Vierssen