The HISWA Holland Yachting Group will celebrate its golden jubilee in 2019. Over the past 50 years, members of the association and the wider industry they serve have seen the enormous value of close cooperation and a truly professional approach. With the Dutch superyacht sector now having a global market share of close to 30 percent, the group will continue to lead the way in showcasing premium Dutch quality.
The influential association known today as the HISWA Holland Yachting Group started out as the HISWA Export Group almost 50 years ago. It was formed to create a distinctive branch of the HISWA Holland Marine Industry association in the Netherlands, which has an even longer history dating back to 1932. Today, the group gives top Dutch yacht builders and maritime suppliers a distinctive voice around the world and partners with key players in industries related to the superyacht lifestyle. Meanwhile, the smaller yachtbuilders and their suppliers have combined their export activities under the auspices of the HISWA Orange Yachting Group.
“At the heart of the success of the Dutch superyacht sector and HISWA Holland Yachting Group has been the way leading yards and supply companies invest time, money and energy into the collective future of their industry,” says Export Director Jeroen Sirag. “Many of our members have been at the top of their profession for decades. All are renowned for their innovative capacity and used to cooperating in order to enhance quality and give owners the best possible service. We bring structure to these partnerships with a wide range of result-driven networking, branding and marketing activities.”
Where supply meets demand
The group has proved very adept at bringing supply and demand together across the oceans. It networks with the international community and all key stakeholders, from captains to owners, B2B relations to the media. “Our role is to enhance the already strong brand image of the Dutch yachting sector on a structural and strategic basis,” adds Sirag. “We take a highly professional approach to present the Dutch superyacht sector globally. Our ‘Think Yachts, Think Holland’ campaign captures our clear vision on branding. Using targeted research, we explore upcoming counties and examine ways to maintain our presence in established markets.”
In 2001 the Holland Yachting Group introduced the pioneering ‘Yacht Valley Tours’ – incoming trade missions offering the press, project & purchase managers, and naval architects & interior designers unprecedented access behind the scenes at Dutch yards and suppliers. This concept has been especially effective due to the small size geographically of the Netherlands: with all members being within a 200-km radius of each other, tour participants can visit all the companies of their choice in a couple of days.
The clustering of expertise in a small physical area is also one of the reasons why Dutch yachtbuilding has been so successful. In addition to the top yards, Holland has many of the world’s leading companies in electronics, hydraulic equipment, entertainment systems, interior design, fueling systems, navcom solutions, rigging and so on. They are used to working in close cooperation with the yards and innovating together so the HISWA Holland Yachting Group helps facilitate a process that has been going on for decades.
It has been part of Holland’s business culture to join forces since the days of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the 1600s, where companies competing in the European market shared the risks of sailing to Asia. Further back in time, the first dikes were built a thousand years ago when villages cooperated to hold back flood waters. Going it alone was far less effective and Dutch people have worked together in many remarkable ways to ensure their country stays afloat.
There is also a rich heritage of boatbuilding in the country that is important in the cooperative context. All yards are based in towns and villages with an historical connection to the industry that in many cases dates back centuries. The passing down of expertise from generation to generation has proved an invaluable resource, and many yards are still family run. This in turn has led to an unrivalled willingness to share information with the wider yachting community.
“It is impressive to see the sense of shared pride among the members of the Holland Yachting Group,” says Sirag “Our association has blazed new trials in this industry for decades, and we will continue to do so as we support and advise on the challenges and opportunities of this sector.”
The recently announced project to promote Amsterdam as a superyacht destination is a prime example of how the future is being shaped by co-creative efforts today. The Holland Yachting Group is working closely with the Port of Amsterdam and other parties to bring attention to the attractions of the Dutch capital and encourage even more calls by superyachts.
Holland is also becoming an increasingly good option for recruiting and training crew members since the Dutch government introduced regulations that provide significant benefits for yachts flying the Dutch flag. The Holland Yachting Group played a part in this development too and there will clearly be plenty to occupy both the association and its members in the next half century too.