"Ever since we turned our clocks forward to welcome summertime, I put my winter coat away. Luckily not too far! Although we had the first 'warm' day of the year in the Netherlands this week, the temperature was well below zero in Moscow and the city was completely covered in snow, which meant one thing - time for my winter coat again..." Read Jeroen Plag's new blog.Read more
Speaking of Russia... 1000 Dutch words and more
Looking for storks, swallows and flowering trees in Sofia
“It’s been at least 10 years since I have been in Bulgaria, and a lot appears to have changed - and not… Upon landing in Sofia on the 1st of March, the Bulgaria Air cabin staff handed all passengers a martenitsa, a small red and white yarn made bracelet, which I tied around my wrist." Read Jeroen Plag's new blog.Read more
Swiss tax clockwork
"Having started my new role as head of Corporate Client Coverage Europe at ING five weeks ago, I have already had the pleasure of visiting four countries, meeting the teams on the ground, as well as clients." Read the new blog of Jeroen Plag.Read more
The Emirates' hyperloop and other unknown unknowns
'Last week I joined our colleagues from the Dubai office as we flew across the region: Kuwait and Bahrein in the north and Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi further south. The latter is actually the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Dubai is one of the other 6 emirates making up the UAE.' A blog by Jeroen Plag, head of Client Coverage Americas, Asia & UK, ING.Read more
Crisp and colourful
"Blue skies, very crisp weather and colourful sights - the leaves on the trees appear to be on fire once again as I landed in Minneapolis. 'On fire' is maybe not strong enough to describe the atmosphere around the ongoing US election debates...". A blog by Jeroen Plag, head of Client Coverage Americas, Asia & UK, ING, on a business trip in the US.Read more
Going Dutch in Korea
“After China, South Korea is the most important trading partner of the Netherlands in Asia, with exports growing 30% over the past five years. Conversely, Korean companies exported goods and services to us worth €2.6bn as we are the fourth destination in Europe. So every reason for the Dutch government to organise another trade mission."Read more
Dublin, a colourful alternative for Brexit, or not?
“Marking the celebration of the opening of our new London office in the City, more than 100 London based clients joint ING staff last week. I used the opportunity to travel to London as well, followed by a visit to Dublin, mentioned many times as an alternative to (financial) companies to set up their regional offices..." A blog by Jeroen Plag, ING, on a business trip in the UK and Ireland.Read more
Dubai - vision, ambition, or both?
"When leaving Dubai airport aboard a KLM Dreamliner, I counted the number of Emirates aircraft preparing to leave. Among more than the 50 I counted, 16 A380s were ready for take-off that night! Dubai’s airport, as well as the other regional airports, are busy 24/7 and have surpassed Heathrow as the busiest in the world."Read more
Chinese tourists are landing everywhere – hard or soft
“After some 20,000 kilometres travelling Westbound the week before last, Asia was the next long distance destination - covering innovation, sustainability and Chinese growth plans. Via Singapore, where we kicked of the regional sustainability approach, I visited Asian and international corporate clients in Hong Kong and Shanghai."Read more
A turbulent trip across the US
“This week, an old fashioned US round trip, flying some 21,500 kilometers, took me via New York to Houston and Baton Rouge on to San Francisco, then via Houston and back to Amsterdam via New York." A blog by Jeroen Plag, head of Client Coverage Americas, Asia & UK, ING, on a business trip in the US.Read more
Focusing on the primary relationship, like the Swiss railroads
“My first business trip of 2016 took me on client visits in Zurich and Geneva, which allowed for a relaxing train ride across Switzerland as I travelled between the two offices. Spending ample time on trains, airplanes and taxis, I am always impressed with the accurate times schedule of the Swiss railway system. If they say they leave at 15:32, they leave at 15:32!”Read more
In top gear with Dracula
“It has been at least 12 years since I last visited Romania or Poland, and as part of reconnecting with our Eastern European franchise, Bucharest was the first stop. Home to many US and Asian corporates, Romania was one of the countries ING entered first after Eastern Europe opened up to business after communism fell.”Read more
Of smoky Asian tigers and 1000 year old ducklings
“Arriving in Singapore is always a breeze, as your suitcase arrives even before you have. But immediately after stepping outside the terminal, the welcoming breeze turned very unpleasant, as the side-effects of the massive forest fires in Indonesia hit me straight in the face.”Read more
Back to the USA: it’s all about playing the game
"After the summer break my first business trip was to the US. Apparently I lost my touch of being at airports, and half way through the flight I discovered that I had left my iPad at Schiphol Airport security." Jeroen Plag (ING) blogs about his recent trip to the States.Read more
Silver surfing, speed and Van Gogh's Sunflowers in Tokyo
“Flying via Singapore, where I attended the EuroFinance Singapore three-day conference, I arrived overnight in Tokyo last Friday. A momentous occasion indeed as we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the ING Bank Tokyo branch with some 60 Japanese and Dutch clients at a very special location, the Dutch residence.”Read more
Snail slime, traffic and more
Following my move to Singapore in 2007, as an expat for ING, I attended a week-long course at INSEAD called 'Building the business in Asia'. The first three (!) hours of that week we spent debating the definition of the region we would be working in: Asia.Read more
Selling sand in Dubai...
...applying wasta in Kuwait, and feathered 'hand luggage' in Qatar.Read more
Korea: Springboard to China?
In this latest blog, Jeroen Plag (ING) talks about the importance of meeting etiquette when doing business in South Korea, the opportunities in the country’s energy sector as well as the indirect trade opportunities for Dutch companies.Read more
Big in Japan, big in Korea
It has been 25 years since my internship on Kyushu, the southernmost Japanese island, and last week I returned to the country as a member of the Dutch trade mission and state visits to both Japan and South Korea. Two very different Asian countries, but both important to Dutch businesses.Read more
Code red for the US?
Last Sunday, I was waiting at Schiphol airport for my flight to Los Angeles to head off on a one-week trip to the US. Via the west coast to New York City to be precise. At the time, Iceland had issued an orange aviation alert due to the possible eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano. Four years ago, the Eyjafjallajökull eruption caused major delays in global air traffic.Read more
Growing along with China’s new metropoles
The bad weather in and around Shanghai meant that we left for Amsterdam with a delay of nearly three hours. Having taken in Hong Kong and Beijing, Shanghai was the last stop on our week-long trip to China.More about Growing along with China’s new metropoles
Orange mission: scoring in Vietnam
Not having been there for a number of years, I travelled to Vietnam for a visit last week as member of a trade delegation headed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. After celebrating forty years of close ties between the Netherlands and Vietnam last year, now was a good time to visit Hanoi with a very substantial delegation of Dutch companies and entrepreneurs. In addition to the Prime Minister, Secretary of State Sharon Dijksma and VNO-NCW chairman Bernard Wientjes joined the trade mission.Read more
Brazil under football’s spell?
I’m on my way from Mexico to São Paulo for my first visit to Brazil to get a better idea of the chances there for the Dutch – in football and in business of course!More about Brazil under football’s spell?
Kick-off for the Mexican economy?
Last week, en route to Brazil, I stopped off in Mexico, a little too early for the World Cup, but still a good opportunity to get a feel for the atmosphere. Opinions on the chances of Mexican national football team were unanimous: they’re going home after the first round. The joy of having won the play-off against New Zealand to secure the very last place in the World Cup turned to doubt the moment the Mexicans were drawn in the same pool as Brazil, Cameroon and Croatia.Read more
India: 1600 political parties in search of stability
I flew into Delhi from Korea, arriving at 2 a.m. My suitcase had been sent on a separate flight from Seoul, via Shanghai, so there was some uncertainty about whether it would arrive on time as well, but within half an hour I was en route to my hotel. At that time of the morning there was not much traffic but later in the day it would be a totally different story!Read more
Korea commits to creativity
In my previous blog I talked about the speed of getting through Singapore’s Changi Airport – a record that South Korea managed to crush. Upon arrival at Incheon Airport – an hour’s drive from Seoul – it took just five minutes for me to retrieve my suitcase and get the all familiar stamp in my passport, ready to take a taxi to the city. President Obama arrived an hour after me from Japan en route to Malaysia, but he probably didn’t need a stamp…Read more
Of lambs, lions and WiFi between NYC and Chicago
In Dutch we say 'maart roert zijn staart', which according to my American colleagues translates to 'March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb', or March starts stormy but come April, it’s spring. This was not the case in either New York or Chicago this week, where I was visiting American corporate clients with colleagues from our NYC office.Read more
Why Singapore trumped Rotterdam
May 2014 - I still remember the approach to Singapore’s Changi Airport from our stay in this Asian hub in 2007-2010. Since then, the skyline around the central business district or CBD has changed dramatically. Especially the developments around Marina Bay, which in seven years has seen a whole new district in Singapore emerge.Read more
Karakuri and Abenomics
Last Thursday I addressed the annual forum of Dujat, the Dutch & Japanese Trade FederationMore about Karakuri and Abenomics
Will China really open up now?
The weather is lovely when the boat brings me from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. This is where the enormous, 16-meter-high yellow plastic duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman floated before the summer – a great Dutch export product! Unfortunately, the duck exploded after the summer in Taiwan...Read more
Think global, act local
During the flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai the smog above northwest China was very visible, a current topic that is often brought up about China. It is a major problem in a number of regions...Read more
Korea, trade mission
From Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Gimpo in Seoul, the smaller airport close to the city centre. It is now over a year since we moved from Seoul to Amsterdam, and I enjoy coming back every time.Read more
Will China’s door finally open wider?
On the last morning of my trip to China, I attend a presentation about Shanghai’s recently announced Free Trade Zone and the opportunities it will offer foreign banks. The presentation takes place during a breakfast meeting of European bank country managers represented in the European Chamber of Commerce in China.Read more
Japan is energetic and organised
After an hour-and-a-half delay in the airport of Ulan Bator due to strong winds - enough for a large windmill farm! - I arrive in Tokyo. It immediately strikes me how energetic and organised Japan is...Read more
Mongolia, five years on
Mongolia is booming, something you notice in the plane from Moscow, which is filled with European businessmen and entrepreneurs, including from the Netherlands. The timing of my visit is perfect, as it coincides with the five-year anniversary of the local ING office in Ulan Bator.Read more