“Logic will get you from a to z; imagination will get you everywhere”

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147. In Holland for 3 weeks

Every year, around April and October, we go back to the Netherlands to visit family and friends and I also give trainings. We then leave our boat behind in the country where we are at that moment. In this case, we were in Split and flew to Amsterdam.

The occasion to come to the Netherlands in April this time, was the Next Learning conference at 10. April in Den Bosch, the largest conference in the Netherlands for trainers and learning professionals. The organizer called me around November 2023 to ask if I wanted to be a speaker at the conference.

Our good friend Margo and Robert invited us to their wedding at 26. April, so that would be our end date guideline. Of course after Kings’s day on 27. April! I bought plane tickets from 6-28 April, that meant we would be in the Netherlands for 22 days. Beginning of 2024, I started calling and writing to the organizations that I work with online and asked them if they would be interested in hiring me as a Trainer in April live at their on location, because I would be in the Netherlands. This went very successfully and in the end I had 12 workingsdays planned in the Netherlands during the 22 days!

We also met a lot of friends and family during that time and of course we attended the wedding!

Here is a review of our 3 weeks in the Netherlands!

Next Learning conference 2024

I have been a visitor for 15 years at this conference and I have spoken about 3 times at the conference before. So I was happy to do so, especially when I saw the theme of 2024: Learning is like an ecosystem, connect the dots. I was asked for 2 sessions at Next Learning: be 1 of the opening speakers and give a workshop on Designing learning trajectories.

At the opening of the conference I talked about that learning in 2024 changes much more quickly than 25 years ago when I started as a Trainer. Then we worked with an overhead projector and preprinted transparent sheets. In the last 10 years we went through phases like e-learning, online learning, blended learning, hybrid learning and now ChatGPT. Work changes so rapidly that a training could be outdated before it started! But you have to plan and have a goal, although the road to that goal might change a lot through innovations.

I made the comparison that we have been sailing over 10.000 seamiles in three years and I always make a sailplan: calculate the route, our way to the destination, taking into account windstrenght, windangle, swell, current. And in the 3 years exactly zero of our plans turned out the way we thought they would 😉. Does that mean you don’t have to plan? No, the opposite:

“You have to plan in order to be able to deviate from it”

Because if the harbor turns out to be full, I have looked at what a good bay we can choose before sunset. Or if the wind shifts, we will know whether there is a port that is more feasible. The same goes for work: know the marketcircumstances, the stakeholders, the learning objectives, so you can be flexible during your plan.

It turned out to be a great conference as you can see in this aftermovie, I met a lot of other trainers and learning advisors, so it also felt like a reunion! My sessions were well received, I was happy to have done them and working together with other L&D professionals.

Training on location

I also travelled in the Netherlands by car to organizations to give training. The topics were mainly Train-the-Trainer, Learning & Development skills, but also how to do good assessments, writing tests and multiple choice exams. A lot of the times, I trained learningprofessionals in using ChatGPT, because it can help them a lot.

I was very thankful for all the assignments I have done in for example Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Petten, Amsterdam, Utrecht. Sometimes organisations I have worked with for over 5 to 10 years already and sometimes new companies to meet live at location, because we worked only together during Covid-19 and this was the first time we would meet live at a trainingroom!

Here are some reviews of the trainings I received via e-mail or LinkedIn:

Sometimes the traininglocation was very special, for instance in this church, we had an impressive room with organ and 24 trainers who came from all over the Netherlands! Some of them I had worked with several times online from 2020 and the meeting and greeting was so warm!

Podcasts

On my mission to help people use ChatGPT, I was invited to speak about this topic in podcasts in the Netherlands.

For instance, I was in the Tjipcast and the NOBTRA podcast:

But also I spoke in a podcast about the 5 month education Opleidingskunde that I execute together with fellow teacher Eric Mooijman, we work together for SBO.

I was also happy to have been invited at the HRD café podcast in Utrecht, where Derk interviewed me about the session ’10 Brainboosters in Online Training’ that I am giving at the ATD conference in New Orleans. It was as very nice conversation, with a lot of good energy.

Online Training

I was also pleasantly surprised that I although I was in the Netherlands, 2 organizations specifically asked for online training from me. For instance, I gave a 1,5 hour training about online training with 15 trainers who had a Train-the-Trainer day on a location together. I was a guest speaker and the manager and I decided that the closest we could get about learning about online training, would be that the group would also be online. So after the lunch, the 15 trainers opened their laptops and checked in my MS Team link and we had a great time working together about brain facts during online training, online teaching forms and online training. Happy with the reaction of the manager afterwards:

Also I was a moderator for a international Health Care organization. We have had 3 meetings with international speakers (from Ireland and the Netherlands) and also our audience was from the Netherlands, Ireland and a class in nursing attended from London! It went great and I was proud of the team that the 2 hour session was a success!

Meeting friends and family

During the evenings and in the weekend Gilles and I went to see family and friends. For dinner, lunch, hanging out in their homes and chatting and laughing a lot. Or sometimes helping them to do odd jobs!

I also had dinner with friends in restaurants which I enjoyed a lot.

I also liked having typically Dutch drinks, like hot chocolate milk or fresh mint tea’s, with girlfriends.

Or going bowling with Gilles with my friend Susan and Jeroen and their 2 sons of 11 and 12 years old, I am also their godmother.  Or going to the Dutch Pinball museum in Rotterdam, after having a nice dinner with our friend Dick, was also a special moment: he is the chairman of this museum in historic Delftshaven and opened up the museum especially for us. We played on 2 machines and learned a lot about the history of pinball and Dick’s knowledge about the topic!

It was a great time, seeing friends and family again. We drove almost 5.000 kilometers in the 22 days and it was worth it!

The Wedding

We were looking forward to the wedding of Margo and Robert. They have been together for 11 years now and they also went on holiday on our catamaran for 5 days in July 2023 at the Cote d’Azur. It was a surprise for Robert, to celebrate his 60th birthday. A present from Margo to him. But Gilles and I didn’t know that Margo asked Robert to marry her 1 day before they stepped on the catamaran in France!

I was honored that they invited us on their wedding day as day guests. We had a great time, the location was beautiful,  Landgoed De Salentein in Nijkerk, which is known for it’s fine wines. The entire enstate was available for the wedding and luckily the weather was sunny. We danced the whole night and had a great time with Margo’s and Robert’s friends and family.

Kings Day

During the time in the Netherlands, we slept on our second boat, in front of our house in the Netherlands, because our house is rented. We decided last year that staying in hotels and sleeping over at family and friends is quite intensive, when you also travel around. How about staying on a little boat during that time, which is cheaper and flexible. And we are used to live on a boat and like it a lot ;). So we did for 3 weeks, it was nice and cosy time and really like a hotel, because we left early in the morning for my training days and arrived late at night after having had dinner with friends!

Returning to Split

After 22 days, we sat tired but satisfied in the plane back to our catamaran in the harbor of Split. And once I saw the green islands, blue water and small white boats from the plane window, I was very happy to return back to our lifestyle again of sailing and enjoying nature and people abroad!   

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