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Artikel 1 dec 2023

135 jaar van verandering en stabiliteit

-- Dit artikel is onderdeel van NLO's Fortify Magazine en gaat verder in het Engels -- The year 1888 marked the foundation of NLO. In 2023, our firm is celebrating its 135th anniversary. What does it mean to work for a company with such a long history? For Fortify, we talked to two colleagues with very different perspectives on NLO. Fred van Veen, supervisor renewals, looks back on 43 years with NLO, while Yara Huppelschoten, trainee patent attorney, joined less than a year ago. An interesting contrast that reflects NLO’s evolution over the decades.
I like the dynamics between colleagues from various cultural backgrounds and the good gender balance at NLO.
Yara van Huppelschoten - Trainee patent attorney

Back to 1980, the year when Joop Zoetemelk won the Tour de France and John Lennon left us. This was the year when Fred van Veen started his long career at NLO as junior clerk. In the 1980s, a standard day consisted of typing texts on typewriters and word processors, while colleagues did registrations. Fax, telex and telegram were the main means of communication, and desks were piled high with paper dossiers and ashtrays. Smoking in the office was very normal in those days, and Fred remembers the clouds of smoke hanging everywhere. Offices were divided into separate rooms, and the concept of open offices and flex workplaces had not yet been born.

Fred van Veen & Yara van Huppelschoten

Yara Huppelschoten, at the start of her career, experiences NLO as a modern, open working environment, equipped with the latest technology. No more paper dossiers, but her own laptop on which she can work undisturbed in 'the cloud'. Although NLO’s long history was not the immediate reason for her choosing the firm, Yara appreciates the fact that NLO has already been successful for 135 years and continues to grow. With her background in chemistry, she not only feels at home in her team, but also in the international organisation. 

Yara particularly notes the dynamics between colleagues from various cultural backgrounds and the good gender balance at NLO.

Unlike the hierarchical structures of the past, Yara emphasises the short lines between colleagues and the accessibility of the management team. This is in sharp contrast to the past, says Fred, when you had to knock at the door of the board room and could only enter on invitation. Something that is unimaginable today!

A look back to 1988 also reveals the tradition of anniversary trips which began at that time. The first trip to Paris to mark the centenary was the start of a cycle in which staff discovered new places like Budapest and Valencia every five years. This year, around 200 colleagues travelled to Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk to celebrate the anniversary. Luckily, the friendly atmosphere and good relationships between colleagues is something that hasn’t changed over the years.

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