What are our alumni up to? 8 alumni-owned businesses you should check out in The Netherlands (part 2)
We are back with another blog article about alumni-owned businesses in The Netherlands. The second part of our alumni stories showcases eight of our talented graduates who have started businesses, traveled the world, and made a difference.
Through innovative ideas, these entrepreneurs have established/run successful businesses in the hospitality industry and not only. From restaurants, coffee bars to beauty brands and hotels, we hope these success stories will enlighten and inspire our entire community!
Parkzicht hotel & Thym restaurant - Nicky and Derk van Westenbrugge
Just a few minutes walking from Eindhoven city centre, you can find Parkzicht hotel. From deluxe rooms to comfort ones and garden studios, you can enjoy the great decoration & atmosphere along with the green and quiet surroundings. Within the hotel, the french bistro Thym restaurant serves great food; from fresh croissants to bouillabaisse and from delicious coffee to Burgundian wines. Nicky and Derk met during their studies at HTH and apart from being life partners are also running together the hotel and the restaurant since 2012.
Milu - Milou Happé
Since she was a kid, she always wanted to have her own beauty brand. Coming from an entrepreneurial family and growing up in the color cosmetics industry, her passion became even bigger. After obtaining her BA from Hotelschool The Hague in 2011 and her MA Degree in de Vrije University in 2013, she decided to launch Milu, a vegan - cruelty & fuss-free beauty brand. Skincare, body care products, and beauty tools; all high-quality products, with a bold and colorful look & feel.
The good roll - Melle Schellekens
Everything started from a mutual frustration. There are 2.3 billion people worldwide who do not have access to safe and clean toilets, which is 1/3 of the world's population. At the same time, 27,000 trees are cut down every day for the production of toilet paper. These facts inspired our alumnus Melle Schellekens (who graduated from HTH in 2009) along with his partners Sander de Klerk and Faisal Ahmed to develop The Good Roll in 2018; a 100% tree-friendly toilet roll. The Good Roll donates 50% of its net profit to building toilets in Africa and is made of 100% European recycled paper, without chlorine, colorants, or fragrances.
Luuk’s coffee - Luuk Nijsen
Great coffee-great story. Luuk graduated from HTH in 2016 and he started working in the corporate world for a few years. In 2021, while recovering from his burnout, he decided to follow the entrepreneurial road and open his own coffee bar, Luuk's coffee. What's his mission? Excellent coffee served with a smile by a great team and Luuk makes specialty coffee available to a bigger crowd. You can find Luuk's cafe on the west side of Amsterdam and a brand new location in Vijzelgracht.
Risottini - Daan Klein and Merijn Kok
Daan and Merijn met during their HTH internship in Barcelona. They got to know each other better and realised that they share the same ideas and passion for good food. They came up with the concept of Risottini, which is something between an Italian arancini and a Dutch bitterbal). They served the first risottini at an alumni gathering and everyone was so excited about it, so they decided to take their idea to the next step and start selling them to catering companies. The company is now running successfully for more than 4 years and selling its products to wholesalers and retailers such as Crisp and Flink.
Otemba - Myrthe Slok & Bastiaan Slok
Otemba - from Japan to Amsterdam! A Japanese restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. OTEMBA means untamable, wild, and challenging. You can find classic and traditional Japanese ramen, bites & gyoza with a unique twist. Everything started when Myrthe and Bastiaan went with their family on holiday in Vietnam in 2011. There, their love for Asian culture was born and years later decided to put it into action. They both graduated from Hotelschool The Hague, and right before COVID (in January 2020) opened Otemba in Amsterdam.
Foodhallen - Chong Chu
Celebrate flavors at Foodhallen, which is home to a wide range of high-quality concepts for food lovers. A place that connects food cultures and concepts, located in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. All three venues have a vibrant atmosphere and you can find there 21 stands (in Amsterdam) 12 stands (in Rotterdam) and 11 stands (in The Hague). This concept was founded in 2014 by our alumnus Chong Chu and since Foodhallen is embraced by all locals and travelers from all over the world.
Elkaar Restaurant - Rob Hagen & Isabel Casallas
Rob (from The Netherlands) and Isabel (from Colombia) met at HTH where they were both living in Skotel at the same house. After their graduation, they moved to China and then to Abu Dhabi for some years working in the hospitality industry. However, they thought "Why don't we put this hard-working energy into our own business?" In 2016, they opened Elkaar, a restaurant with a cozy, hospitable atmosphere on the east side of Amsterdam which is now included in the Michelin Guide. Following the seasons, the menu is changing constantly and is a surprise 5,6, or 7-course menu suitable for lunch or dinner!