Willy’s (former) Workplace, located in a beautiful renovated 17th Century Amsterdam Canalhouse, Prinsengracht 771-773

28 03 2014

Once upon a time, as all stories start I came into the world. Then one day as a young adult I had the great good fortune to get *a job*, WORKING  for the former British Crown Colony HONG KONG. I began on the 1st of May, 1972 and I left those beautiful offices on 31st October, 1988.

Today, fast forward I am a resident of TURKEY, I live in the southern part of this beautiful country and life is really g.o.o.d. Lots and lots of fresh, clean air, organically grown veggies, fruit, similar eggs, and an extremely PRIVATE comfortable place to enjoy, day in day out.

Yesterday I talked to an old business friend of mine and because of it, my memories returned to what I used to do with so much love and passion: working for HONG KONG, which always was easier to explain than telling others what my job really entailed. You see, saying: I am The Representative BENELUX for The Hong Kong Trade Development Council always drew blanks.

People had no idea what that meant nor what I was busy doing. That quasi-governmental organization (HKTDC) which opened its doors – in Hong Kong –  in 1966 had the commitment to *put Hong Kong* at everyone’s door. Imports-Exports and above all promoting FREE TRADE between the former British Crown Colony and every country on the globe.

The Amsterdam Office was one of the first HKTDC offices opening that door on the 1st of May, 1972, after offices in the first chosen MAJOR countries such as Great Britain, the USA, Germany. Great! I was there from the start. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do and back then: yes –  we hired some premises, we registered with the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, got ourselves some desks and chairs, a telephone, a typewriter, a COFFEE machine and: we were ready for business, doors open  Monday to Friday 09.00-1700.

Today this sounds very peculiar, but in 1972 no faxes, printers, PC’s, photocopiers, not even a secretary we started out with. But I was HAPPY simply because I *was working for HONG KONG*, a place that had always been a MAGICAL one for me. Yes. Ever since I was in my early 20-ies, as a Stewardess (now called Flight/Cabin attendant) HONG KONG had been a place of magic.

Also today I decided to check online if I -at last- could find something about my former boss LEN DUNNING. He had the creative mind and foresight to convince the Hong Government that such an organization was NEEDED. With *carte blanche*, an open ticket around the world he visited countries where similar bodies already existed, and with that personal in-depth, he founded the HKTDC (1966).

LEN DUNNING – *In Memoriam*  12th March,1930 to 6th July,2011 and an excellent Obituary. He did become 81, yet I was *shocked*. Not because I thought *far too young to die*, but just shocked that Len is no longer alive and of course that because of circumstances, preventing  I had never seen or talked to him again. It was not that I ever was close to him, but he was my *ultimate* superior for many many years. Boy, do I hate it, does such make me sad…now I can never tell him just how much I respected him for CREATING such a fantastic organization, that Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The ideas that were born in his head and also realized were so unbelievably great. Spectacular shows, real fireworks, always and exclusively to attract the attention of foreign officials and public.

For me personally, as just one of those Overseas Reps. i.e. Willy Holmes from The Amsterdam Office, thank you Len Dunning, thank you. Without you I would never have had the opportunity to have such a great career as The BENELUX Representative HKTDC. Also, I would never have met such a melange of interesting people: from pauper to king. Always with only one mission and that was, still is:  to get them GO –  visit HONG KONG.