Gossip all around the last few weeks: Dutch Prince of Orange Constantijn to be named special startup envoy of The Netherlands, as ‘the Queen of Dutch startups’ Neelie Kroes is stepping down beginning of July after a 18 month reign at StartupDelta. Today, at StartupFest Europe, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs officially announced the new role of the 46 year old royal.
It’s an exciting move for the Netherlands, appointing King Willem Alexander’s younger brother to the role of special envoy – or startup ambassador as the position is called throughout the country and in the press. It’s also a bold move, as the Netherlands is a parlementary democracy. The royal house of Orange is under ‘ministerial responsibility‘, meaning the government is actually politically liable for all his actions.
‘Steelie’ Neelie Kroes was her usual self, fierce when she or what she believes in is under attack, touting questions about his responsibility as ‘typically Dutch’. “Lets not think small, but big, for a change.”
Constantijn officially approved
The Prince would have none of the talk about political implications either, claiming his role would be to address the most pressing matters to the Minister of Economic Affairs and his compadres, rather than to insitigate his own political agenda. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is said to be on board, having officially approved the new role for the junior royal.
With all the pros and cons taken into account, the Prince is the ideal candidate for the role. He has a feel for entrepreneurship, talks about it in public with great passion and authority. He finished a Master in Business Administration at INSEAD and served as the Deputy Chief of Cabinet when Neelie Kroes was Eurocommissioner. He was also her right hand at StartupDelta, the local startup-initiative that’s now being rebranded to StartupDelta2020. He is currently first and foremost the chairman of StartupFest Europe , the event where the appointment was announced today in Amsterdam.
West Coast of Europe
In The Netherlands, the royals are sometimes being frowned upon, as they have a mere ceremonial role. However, the appeal of having a real royal to lead the local startup-initiative Startupdelta goes without questioning. He was, for a long while, next in line to the throne. The prince promises to make the Netherlands the “West Coast of Europe”, referring to the glamour of Silicon Valley in the US.
One question we do have for the Prince. Can you think of a good nickname? ‘I don’t know, perhaps the “Fresh Prince” of hot air’. We have a better suggestion. How about Fresh Prince of Dutch startups?