Focus on Spain: report by Cäcilia Brenig

Barcelona - here we come!

Barcelona - here we come!

Don’t we all know something about Spain and the Spaniards?

A beautiful sunny country, sun-drenched beaches, beautiful cities, excellent food, delicious wines and some famous Spaniards cross our mind when we think of Spain.

Friday the 19th of January IMA Netherlands hosted Focus on Spain at the Apollo Hotel Vinkeveen.
All participants were overwhelmed by the enormous amount of new information from Jasper van Dorrestein, a Dutchman who works in Barcelona and lives in the south of Barcelona, succeeded in captivating us with an brilliant presentation (Pecha Kucha, a concept for holding short, mostly creative presentations). In his presentation he triggered us to count the number of famous Spaniards hidden in his 236 sheets (!). The exact number was 38! Some IMA members were very close by counting.

Jasper shared his story so passionately and contagiously that he kept his audience very attentive to his presentation. He shared so much information that I defined a few topics to share: “Fiesta and siesta" is what comes to mind when we think of Spain. But what about the work ethic? From Jasper we learned that "they work as hard as they party". Spaniards work very hard, are extremely proud, dynamic, have a high adaptability, a great deal of knowledge and working overtime is part of this every day. Spain has experienced a tremendous growth in recent years. Disastrous youth unemployment is decreasing and start-ups are growing extensively. Men and women are equally hard working human beings. Celebration of life goes along with good food, drinks, dancing and conviviality. In general, Spaniards and Dutch people do have the pleasure of doing business with each other, but only if certain rules are respected. Dutch people are direct and this could meet with resistance from the Spanish business partner. For him or her building a relationship based on trust is very important. Jasper advised to avoid sensitive subjects such as religion, politics, etc. and to take into account the fact that some things are not going as fast as expected. Spaniards give great importance to good conduct. It shouldn’t surprise us that they like to behave in a familiar way with each other. Touching each other goes hand in hand with trusting each other.

Initially, Spain was not up to speed in the application of digital innovations. That didn't fit in with their culture of "I don't buy from someone I don't know". Meanwhile, this has changed radically and the country is now ahead of digital applications.

LinkedIn has eight million participants in Spain compared to six million in the Netherlands. The platform provides an opportunity to show which relationships you have. The more common ground a potential employer or customer notices in your network, the sooner it will be possible to create a base for trust.

A few more nice to know facts:: Tourism is the main source of income. Spain has 47 million inhabitants and 4 official languages The average age is 40 96 percent are Roman Catholic

The second presentation was held by Cati Gómez. She took us into the world of the Spanish ham which was a new world to most of the participants.
Cati is a professional Cortadora; which is freely translated a professional ham cutter. In the meeting room there were two traditional hams presented on a table with special cutting knives. While she was slicing the ham Cati shared her immense knowledge of the history of the Iberico and similar pigs with us. Behind this story there is a complete regulation about this passion which appealed to our imagination. In a fascinating way she told us with passion how the hams are prepared. Then we were allowed to join her at the cutting table and she showed her art with the special knife. She cut off thin pieces of ham and presented them passionately with love on a plate. Luckily we were allowed to taste this delicious ham! An enormous tasty explosion as the ham melted in our mouth. She advised us to have this ham with a glass of Cava and that we will remember. According to her advice the sparkling bubbles of the Cava neutralizes the taste after consuming this ham and will spice up your appetite for wanting more ham.

We thank both speakers for this exciting evening! We also thank the IMA board for this well-organized event. The fact that Dutch people can also have fun in the Netherlands was also shown by our IMA members having drinks and enjoying a walking dinner at the Harbour Club of the Apollo Hotel in Vinkeveen!!

Cäcilia Brenig The Hague, 23 January 2018

Focus on Spain

January 19, 2018

Focus on Spain

January 19, 2018


17:30 - 18:00 hrs.
Aperitif & bites at the lounge of the
Event Centre

18:00 - 18:05 hrs.
Opening by Jannie Oosterhoff,
Chairman IMA Netherlands

18:05 - 18:15 hrs.
Introduction and welcome by Apollo Hotels, corporate partner

18:15 - 19:15 hrs.
Spanish working habits, customs and topics by Jasper van Dorrestein, International business developer, founder and CEO of BCN Business Agency

19:15 - 20:15 hrs.
History, culture and gastronomy of the Spanish ham by Cati Gómez, Cortadora Professional

20:15 - 22:00 hrs.
Walking dinner at the bar of the
Harbour Club

22:00 - 22:05 hrs.
Closure by Annemieke van Elst,
Deputy Chairman IMA Netherlands


Apollo Hotel Vinkeveen-Amsterdam
Groenlandsekade 1
3645 BA Vinkeveen

Recently Apollo Hotels became a corporate partner of IMA Netherlands and Apollo Hotel Vinkeveen - Amsterdam is the newest hotels of Apollo Hotels. This location has the great advantage of both worlds: the country side and the city. Not only a magnificent view on the Vinkeveense Plassen including a private marina but also a brand new meeting and event centre with private terraces directly located along the A2 highway and free parking in front of the hotel.

Overnight stay in Vinkeveen

Our new corporate partner Apollo Hotels offers IMA-members the possibility to use the special room rate of € 89,00 including breakfast (tourist tax excluded). Reservations can be made by sending a mail to by mentioning our IMA event Focus on Spain.

Price & Registration

€ 35,00 for IMA-members
€ 60,00 for NON IMA-members
For registration use this button!

Speakers Focus on Spain

  • About Jasper van Dorrestein

    Jasper van Dorrestein lives and works in Barcelona and travels especially to the Netherlands to share his personal and business experiences with us around the Spanish economy, the characteristics and distinctions compared to the Dutch economy, ranking and the latest developments. He takes us on board in many examples of successful and effective communication in Spain. He makes us think from the perspective of a Dutch professional in an international world. How do we distinguish ourselves and how do we actually come across? He will also discuss subjects such as glass ceilings, nepotism and the Dutch business professional operating in the foreign porcelain cupboard. Jasper van Dorrestein is a born Dutchman who spent most of his working life abroad. He lived as a global working nomad for seven years and then served over ten years in the private sector - multinationals as well as start-ups - in Belgium and Sweden. Between 2004 and 2016 Jasper served at the trade department of Netherlands embassies in Stockholm and Brussels and he headed his own embassy trade office in Barcelona. It allowed him to build up coherent business networks resulting in the founding of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, the Dutch Network Brussels and the lunch format La Mesa Naranja in Barcelona. Last year he was an external consultant to the Swedish Trade & invest Council in the Hague.
    In these roles, he helped numerous exporting companies from all sectors and sizes with establishing abroad, supported and coached them with their foreign market entry. Jasper is a generalist when it comes to sectors and a specialist in knowing international business.

  • About Cati Gómez

    Cati Gómez is originally Spanish and lives in the Netherlands. Cati introduces us into the world of Spanish ham that plays a central role in the history, culture and gastronomy of Spain. For centuries, pigs and Spanish ham have been part of the heritage. Throughout history the pig and the ham have had different meanings. In the time of the Celts the pig was adored and took an important place in all meals. On the other hand, in the days of the Romans the ham was seen as a luxury product that could only be consumed by the nobility. Over the last few decades, consumption and production of Spanish ham has increased and the quality of the ham has been given considerable attention through the use of traditional methods. The Spanish ham is now also internationally renowned and regarded as a delicacy and has an important place in the world of gastronomy. About Cati Gómez The love for Spanish ham and particularly Ibéricoham is Cati’s passion. As a Spanish girl Cati Gómez grew up with Ibéricoham and learned all about it at the farm of her grandparents. Through time she noticed that the knowledge about Ibéricoham in the Netherlands was limited and she decided to share her passion, knowledge and love for the Ibéricoham with the Dutch. She started her company in 2013 to connect the ham with Spain and the Netherlands. She followed various courses in Spain, including those of Cortadora Professional de Jamón and as a result of this she obtained the title of Maestra Cortadora (Master Carver).