How Sunflowers lead to meeting the Dutch King
Author: Harm Custers – Manager Marketing & Sales Flowers at Takii Europe
I had the honor to meet with his Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of The Netherlands. We shook hands and had a small conversation. It was an unforgettable experience. How did this happen? And why is it so special?
Takii is proud partner of the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam. It started 3 years ago with the opening of their new entrance. Takii co-created a gigantic labyrinth made up of 125.000 Sunflowers that was created on the Museumplein. We moved on and started a co-branding project. Also our head office in Japan started up several projects connecting our famous Sunflower brand Sunrich® with Van Gogh. The Museum recently asked Takii to partner for an exhibition that was travelling around the world, called “Van Gogh & Japan”. This blockbuster is now at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the opening took place on March 23rd.
Takii has helped the Museum with a special Japanese opening ceremony. Together with the floral decorator a special flower art was created, using 700 Sunflowers. This structure supported a ribbon, that had to be cut by a group of VIP’s. A few weeks ago we learned that the main person for this ceremonial opening would be his Majesty King Willem-Alexander!
As Takii we were invited to the opening. And there I was, representing our company. The entire opening was a true experience. But the biggest surprise for me was at the end. The museum organized a personal meeting with the King for a lucky few. It was one of those moments that you’ll never forget in life. I was introduced by the Director of the Museum, who mentioned to the King that 8 out of 10 of all ornamental Sunflowers grown on the world come from Takii. (Wow – best introduction ever!) King Willem-Alexander replied with a smile and a good question in return. This was the start of a short talk. I was very impressed by his knowledge about our industry. But moreover, it was his open and relaxed attitude. I completely forgot that it was the Dutch King I was talking to and we had a nice conversation.
Now this is what makes such meetings so special. You look up to certain people in life because of their rank or fame. You are delighted and look forward to meeting them. Then you discover that they are as human as you are yourself. You have interests in common, which lead to a true conversation. Until you realize afterwards how unique this meeting was. Incredible how this works in the human brain. And it was our Sunrich Sunflowers that made this happen! Great what flowers can do for you….
Images: Jan-Kees van Steen