By Linda van Rooij
Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco

In 2028, the Summer Olympics will be hosted in Los Angeles, making it only one of three cities ever to host this prestigious event for the third time. This is no coincidence; with its eclectic sports scene and located on the innovative US West Coast, Los Angeles is the perfect host for a modern Summer Olympics.

A virtual fact-finding mission on sports and infrastructure July 14-16 will connect Dutch companies and organizations to the City of Angels, creating business opportunities to help create the smartest and most sustainable Olympics Games ever held, an important goals of the organization.

The mission is an initiative by the Netherlands e-Consulate General in San Francisco, in collaboration with FMENBSO LA and The HUP, and a first step in a multi-year trajectory.

“Preparations for the 2028 Olympics are in full swing and LA is investing heavily in its infrastructure and sport venues,” said Consul General Gerbert Kunst. “As a frontrunner in sustainability and smart cities,  Dutch businesses and sport associations can really lend their expertise in this preparatory stage, offering innovative and sustainable Dutch best practices to the US. Our mission helps connect the biggest players from both sides of the Atlantic. And all online.”

The US West Coast and the Netherlands are leading business partners in many sectors, from e-mobility to cyber security. Their shared entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset is what keeps attracting American and Dutch businesses from different sectors to each other.

CEO Hans Verhoeven of MTD, which offers temporary water infrastructure, is looking forward to participating in the fact-finding mission: “MTD has supplied their products and services at all Olympic venues since the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010. It is important as MTD to connect early in the process to show interest in LA2028 to know the people and find out the way they want to organize the venues.”

Built into a virtual format, the sports mission is a three-day program comprised of online sessions on a personal and interactive platform. The outcome of the mission will be used to prepare for a broader Dutch approach for the road to LA2028.

Participants follow a preparatory program with Dutch Olympic association NOC-NSF sharing its expertise on the preparations for Rio 2016 and Paris 2024.

Verhoeven said it is clear what would make this mission a success: “We’d like to hear what focus points the organization has, because that decides our strategy. For instance, what is the split between temporary venues and permanent venues? And, of course, we hope to meet some people from the venues and infrastructure department of the Olympic organization.”

The Consulate General in San Francisco has moved all its services online, as the Covid-19 pandemic halted all travel and business meetings.

Consul General Kunst: “We conduct all our economic diplomacy online in our so-called eConsulate. This online fact-finding mission is part of our efforts to keep creating business opportunities for Dutch companies. It offers tailored matchmaking, interactive roundtables, and a daily talk show and webinar for the participants. Through innovative diplomacy, we’ll kick off a fruitful collaboration between the Netherlands and the US West Coast, leading to a world-class Olympic event. It will be the preparation towards a real visit to Los Angeles, when travel is possible again.”

The Dutch virtual mission setting has proven to be a successful format.

The first Dutch virtual mission on smart and e-mobility last month was a successful pilot and we’ll continue to further develop the virtual mission format.  We really were able to foster international connections, and the overall response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Consul General Kunst. “Being able to offer our multi-faceted Dutch delegation the chance to virtually travel to Los Angeles Valley and deliver Dutch expertise, to help make the 2028 Olympic Games into a success story, is inspiring. As an innovation nation, well known for its sustainable approach, the Dutch have what it takes to help make the 2028 Olympics an unforgettable event. I’m looking forward to it already.”