Marc van Rooij

Marc van Rooij

Executive MBA, 2006
Almere, the Netherlands
Owner of MVRC
Nominated by former classmate Harrold Kuiper

Repositioning a city brand

Marc van Rooij works as independent strategy consultant for national and international clients. He has worked all over the international business world; London, Brussels, New York, Vancouver, Amsterdam, South Pacific and Paris.

He moved back to Almere in 2002. It’s one of the Netherlands’ newest cities – with 200,000 inhabitants – which are often poorly regarded because of their lack of history and culture. He became involved with the community here in local politics as an independent advisor, offering advice based upon his experiences and education to political parties across the spectrum.

Knowledge to change the perception of a city

In 2009 Marc made a proposal for the city based on a strategy that has the potential to change the perception of cities, regions and even nations, adding value to their economic and social capital. Almere sits between metropolitan Amsterdam and Flevoland, the Netherland’s largest food producing province. It would be an ideal host for the Netherlands’ World Horticultural Exposition in 2022, The Floriade, an event held every 10 years in a different city or region. It would elevate the reputation of Almere.

Marc proposed his idea to the Nederlandse Tuinbouw Raad (NTR), the Dutch horticultural association, which told him they would consider it after preparation for the 2012 event was complete.

Boosting the horticultural industry

The Floriade, a global network trade event, had not changed much since the first one in Rotterdam in 1960. The Floriade lacked a clear target audience and continuity; it didn’t have a strong brand, but the industry is hugely important. The Netherlands’ agriculture exports amounted to €80.7 billion in 2014, second only to the USA. Its horticultural exports were worth € 8.1 billion in 2014, the highest figure of any country in the world.

Marc’s proposal for Almere to host The Floriade used the event to position the Dutch national agricultural and horticultural industries. It shifted the Floriade concept from a six-month event once a decade to a continual project with the world expo as its highlight. The continual process would be emphasised by handing over the Floriade flag to the host of the 2022 event on the last day of the 2012 event.

Citizen’s initiative

Marc lobbied and created a unanimous following from local politicians and entrepreneurs, and all of Flevoland’s municipalities, from the province itself and the city of Almere. He secured initial funding to finance Almere’s bid, and the board of the NTR was unanimous; the 2022 Floriade would come to Almere.

What’s more, Marc van Rooij’s bottom-up citizens' initiative and strategy for positioning the city and the region won the City Marketing Innovation Award 2013.

Possibilities and persistence

During the Floriade 2022 bidding process, Marc maintained the RSM alumni network principle of ‘giving back’ and sharing his knowledge with the community. He puts effort into others so they can succeed, says his nominator Harrold Kuiper, who says Van Rooij ‘lives coming from possibility instead of dwelling on adversity.’ Kuiper also mentions Van Rooij’s persistence, and his abilities of keeping communications open, and convincing stakeholders. “He remains calm, with a firm focus on the target and the outcome. He just never gives up.”