Series on the experiences of PCO partners helping companies to migrate to The Netherlands
PCO partner Atlas International Movers is based next to Schiphol Airport off the A4 motorway. Maurice Pronk, Business Development Manager at Atlas International Movers, arranged for three of his colleagues to exhibit at two special housing fairs at its London Canary Wharf office to educate and prepare employees of the European Medicine Agency (EMA) for their move to the Netherlands. The EMA, a prestigious Brexit winner for the Netherlands, got the keys to their temporary Spark office at Amsterdam-Sloterdijk, last week. Atlas International Movers is working in partnership with the municipality of Amsterdam and Expat Help in the relocation of EMA staff and their families. They have already moved more than 80 EMA employees with families to The Netherlands, with a many more to come. The senior staff are expected to move in the coming months. After 11 March the EMA will be fully operational.
Fun toy boxes for kids
“The queue at our stand was long”, Maurice Pronk recalls. “The EMA staff had many practical questions, such as how to import cars and transport pets so we developed a special form to make an inventory of requirements. This way we differentiated ourselves from other suppliers.”.
Because of the ‘free’ international primary school in Bergen and shortage of space and affordable housing in Amsterdam, the majority of families moved mainly outside Amsterdam, near the coast or Almere and Lelystad in the polder. Relocating abroad is much more than just moving belongings to another location. It about moving your entire life – or family. For children this can be hard too. “We created special fun toy boxes for the kids to help get them involved in the moving process. They can pack their favourite toys themselves. We make sure that we load them onto the truck at the very end so that that they will be the first boxes to be moved into the new home,” says Maurice.
Atlas International Movers, established in 1982, is specialized in international moving services, and manages the entire door to door process. An international move coordinator supervises the complete process. Around 70 % of its client base is English speaking. Last year, the turnover of the company increased by over 20 %. “We focus on corporate accounts” Maurice Pronk explains: “We ensure a worry-free relocation process. We take care of the packing of the goods and handle it all ourselves thus reducing the risk of damage. We also disassemble furniture and reassemble it in the new accommodation.”
Service to non-EU countries
In case of a “no deal” Brexit in the British Parliament, Atlas International Movers has to treat the UK like any other non-EU member, such as Switzerland. “We are accustomed to that”, says Maurice Pronk. “So far, we haven’t made any specific preparation for Brexit”. In case of a hard deal, Atlas International Movers eventually need to assist their customers in customs clearance to The Netherlands and support them with other documents and forms. “This will create more paperwork.“
Asked which advice he would give other B2B partners that work with companies that want to migrate to The Netherlands, he says: “Quality should always be number one. Don’t become a low-cost business provider. Personal attention and high-level business services are key.” For his company that means focusing on the customer needs, smooth internal logical processes, dedicated in-house movers with an average of over 10 years of experience and the highest standard of customer service.
Spin-off bio science and medicine industry
The arrival of the prestigious EMA in The Netherlands is a spin-off for the bio science and medicine industry in The Netherlands. The Leiden Bio Science park with over 100 companies now the highest number of medical life sciences companies and research institutions still has potential to grow. Other international companies are also showing interest. Maurice Pronk, who describes himself as a hunter and a farmer says: “You need to be on top of these developments.“
Maurice is also looking into at other growth areas. “We also get requests from expats who need to arrange the move themselves as they are receiving a company allowance. Dubai is quite a booming area”, he says. “Atlas International Movers arranges a lot of moves from and to Dubai, mainly from Dutch expats who know us via Social Media, and from word of mouth. We are also in a WhatsApp group of the local residents.”
The moving company is becoming more selective to help private clients. “Adventures as in the Dutch TV programme “Ik vertrek / I am leaving“ with just 10 banana boxes and a pet to Aruba don’t fit in our client profile,” he says.