Home » History » The making of…

Interactivity is essential

Since July 2016 an enthusiastic group of people picked up on the ideas that were launched at the inspiring and energetic USC Foundation (United St. Maarten Connection) / KPMG DC&S (Dutch Caribbean & Suriname) workshop, held in Amstelveen in June 2016.

Building on those events, which are essential to the improvement of the island of St. Maarten, this group expressed a mutual feeling that such good initiatives as those workshops and their output should be kept warm, alive and to be built on. That also makes those future events of this nature could build onto each other, which is of vital importance to get to a real change and improvement.

Start of the plan

UPG - Business meeting of the draft plans
Business meeting at the roof terrace of the Ramada Apollo Hotel, Amsterdam
Whiteboard scribbles on working out the ideas

A plan was drafted to collect all thoughts and to create a robust structure to look ahead and have building blocks that we could use to start adding value.

The plan was going to be based on the social-economic specifics of the island of St. Maarten, the movements of students from the island to Holland to acquire HBO or University level degrees.

Along with the required and indicated personal development of these students and post-graduates, this became a very interesting and stimulating fundament.

Inaugural dinner and kick-off

UPG - Inaugural Dinner
Inaugural Dinner – Ramada Apollo Hotel, Amsterdam
Draft plan UPG

During the inaugural dinner on September 8th, 2016, a walkthrough of the strategic plan and discussing changes and amendments, the basis of the plan was confirmed upon.

The group brainstormed on creating a long- listing of activities and ideas, and also determined the required events and actions for ourselves (how do we learn by doing at best) / what do we require from each other

At last, we discussed our branding and positioning to how we are going to present ourselves as a valuable group. The keywords on which we have based all of this are: Open, respectful and transparent

Modern and history meet

20161126_12535220161126_142505Over the weekend of November 26, 2016, UPG gathered for a day of promotional photos and filming. This included an impromptu history lesson about our location in Schiedam, a meeting to discuss issues on the island and more team bonding.

All of these events are for the purpose of branding and promoting UPG’s cause.

Location is key


The sponsored location of Saturday’s activities was The Camel Windmill (Korenmolen De Kameel) in Schiedam. The location itself is home to Ledge Law Advocaten, where the host, Ernst Richel, lawyer from the practice and caretaker of the windmill warmly welcomed UPG.

The view from the top of the 17-meter windmill was absolutely exquisite and as the mill now houses a law practice, the modern meeting areas made it a great place to take our photos and film our videos.

Nutritious start of the day

20161126_15553320161126_12534220161126_150409The day began with some socializing and lux-sandwiches provided by our chairman and the host of the location as the fresh and tasteful treats were from the host’s social bakery (Zorgboerderij) The Blue Fence (Het Blauwe Hek).

Most of the UPG team members have never been in an actual windmill and as a consequence, we received a full history lesson by the mill’s caretaker and were given a live demonstration of how a windmill operates.

Lights, Camera, Action

Soon thereafter, each UPG member had their star moment to have great professional photos taken by photographer and videographer, Alexander Nicodem.  


Each department was able to take photos that best represent them and their department. 

But the special photos were the photos of the entire UPG family with the Rotterdam Skyline in the background, at the top of the windmill. At the end of the day, the sunset reflected on the tall office buildings at the skyline of Rotterdam.

Skyline of Rotterdam

20161126_155537The most exciting and rewarding part of the day was filming both promotional videos. One video turned into an actual UPG meeting, where the viewer will get to see how UPG works as a unit, how we interact with each other and our zeal and passion to bring change to the island of St.Maarten. 

In another video, the viewer will learn about UPG and its purpose from the different perspectives of its members. It’s a deeply up-close open and personal look into the people that make UPG what it is.

Sneak preview of the video