Ambassador Rudolf Bekink presents the Hill Heineken Award to Unilever CEO Paul Polman on May 15, 2015.


Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, will receive the second annual Holland on the Hill Heineken Award on May 15, 2015, for his entrepreneurial endeavors in both the Netherlands and the United States. Under his leadership, Unilever has adopted an ambitious vision to double its size while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

The Holland on the Hill Heineken Award honors an entrepreneur who has made a substantial and positive contribution to the US-Dutch economic relationship. The award embodies the spirit of Freddy Heineken, who in the 1940s came to the United States to expand Heineken’s US market. Using innovative American marketing techniques and his Dutch entrepreneurial spirit, Heineken increased sales by 260 percent, and helped lay the foundation for the worldwide brand. Dr. Werner Vogels, vice president and chief technology officer at Amazon.com, received the inaugural award in 2014.

Under Mr. Polman’s leadership, Unilever has become the third largest consumer goods company in the world while maintaining the highest standards of corporate behavior toward its employees, consumers, and society. As a result of his efforts, Mr. Polman has become highly regarded as a world leader in sustainable supply-chain management.

Mr. Polman is a great example of a Dutch entrepreneur who combines his passion for sustainability with a business acumen he developed while studying and working in both the Netherlands and the United States. Mr. Polman earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands before coming to the US to earn a Master of Arts in economics and Master of Business Administration in finance and international marketing from the University of Cincinnati.

As part of the award ceremony, Mr. Polman will give a lecture, “Sustainable Growth and Transformational Change in Business,” before participating in a discussion moderated by Diane Brady, an award-winning journalist, author and interviewer. Representatives William P. Huizenga and Derek Kilmer, co-chairs of the Dutch Caucus, will deliver opening and closing remarks respectively.

The economic relationship between the Netherlands and the United States dates back more than 400 years. The US invests more than $625 billion in the Netherlands, while the Netherlands invests more than $250 billion in the United States.

Holland on the Hill illustrates the longstanding relationship between the Netherlands and the United States and builds on the shared ties between the two nations in the economic, cultural and political arenas. The initiative is a joint project of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Dutch Congressional Caucus, the Netherlands business community and the Netherland-America Foundation.

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