Ambassador Henne Schuwer (left) hands David Hyman, general counsel of Netflix, the Holland on the Hill Heineken Award. Photo: Stephen Voss
When Netflix was looking to relocate its European headquarters three years ago, company officials found in Amsterdam what they were looking for: an entrepreneurial spirit, a large talent pool, and an open culture.
And when the Holland on the Hill Heineken Award committee was looking for the right person to honor with this year’s award, they found what they were looking for in David Hyman, general counsel of Netflix.
Mr. Hyman accepted the fifth annual Holland on the Hill Heineken Award from Ambassador Henne Schuwer on April 12. The Heineken Award honors an entrepreneur who has made a substantial contribution to the Dutch-American economic relationship, exemplifying both worlds.
The award ceremony took place in the Library of Congress as part of the Dutch embassy’s ongoing effort to celebrate the values that the Netherlands and the United States have shared for more than 400 years, including freedom, justice, and entrepreneurship.
Also present for the ceremony were Representatives and co-chairs of the Congressional Dutch Caucus Bill Huizenga and Derek Kilmer, and David Morgenstern, representative of Heineken USA.
The story of Netflix
Before becoming the world’s leading streaming service with over 117 million members in more than 190 countries, Netflix started in 1997 as a small company that rented DVDs by mail.
Shortly after introducing video streaming services in 2007, the company became the leading name in the business. Since entering Europe in 2012, Netflix has invested $2 billion in European productions ranging from original content to co-productions and licensed content.
“Netflix has revolutionized the way the world consumes entertainment programs. At the touch of a button, anyone can create their own custom-made network of television shows, movies, documentaries and stand-up comedy specials,” said Ambassador Schuwer.
Netflix announced in 2015 that it would open its European headquarters in Amsterdam, creating more than 400 jobs. Hyman explained that the company decided on Amsterdam because of the large talent pool available, the open culture, and the Dutch entrepreneurial spirit.
“This innovation by an American startup with a hub in the Netherlands is a perfect illustration of the vibrant US-Dutch economic relationship,” said Ambassador Schuwer.
Bringing people together
Many employees of Netflix at other locations were eager to move to the new headquarters in Amsterdam, Mr. Hyman said.
The new office represents more than 20 nationalities and supports customers across 11 European countries. “Our employees in Amsterdam speak German, French, English, Italian, Turkish, and many other languages,” said Mr. Hyman.
Rep. Derek Kilmer added that “other than physically bringing people from different cultures together in their headquarters, the streaming service is also a great way for anyone to learn about other people’s cultures.”
Part of this effort to increase the diversity of cultures represented on the streaming platform is the ever-growing investment in European productions (licensed, original, and co-productions).
The Heineken Award
The award is named after the late Freddy Heineken, who went to the United States in the 1940s to establish Heineken as a brand overseas. Using what he had learned about American efficiency and productivity, he transformed Heineken into one of the world’s most recognized brands. After his return from the US, the company’s sales were boosted by 260 percent, and the foundation for future success was laid.
To highlight the shared values between the United States and the Netherlands, as personified in Freddy Heineken, the Holland on the Hill program was launched in 2014 as a joint effort of the US Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, corporate partners, and the Netherland-America Foundation.
Past award winners include: Dr. Werner Vogels, vice president and chief technology officer at Amazon.com (2014); Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever (2015); Victoria B. Mars, chairman of the board of Mars Inc (2016); and Dick Boer, President & CEO of Ahold Delhaize (2017).