The Johan Groothuizen Scholarship – awarding outstanding first-year students at HTH

In honour of Johan Groothuizen and in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the maritime hospitality industry, the boards of Holland America Line (HAL) and DE LIJN have established the Johan Groothuizen scholarship. The scholarship celebrates Groothuizen’s life and contributions as a visionary in the field of hospitality.

Johan Groothuizen was the Vice President of Marine Hotel Operations, who served Holland America Line for an incredible 45 years. He was the driving force behind the award-winning on-board services, spanning food operations, hotel management, and entertainment services.

Since 2022, the Johan Groothuizen Scholarship has been granted to the student with the highest propaedeutic results in year one at Hotelschool The Hague. Last year’s recipient Louisa Diefenbach and this year’s recipient Klara Krueger shared insights into their educational background, their journey at HTH until now, and plans for the future.

Read more about the Johan Groothuizen Scholarship and other scholarships here.

Louisa and Klara both have German roots but have spent a major part of their lives in different places all over the world; Louisa in Beijing, China, and Klara in the UK and Switzerland. They both finished their International Baccalaureate (IB) before they applied, got accepted, and started their studies at Hotelschool The Hague.

Louisa decided on HTH as she wanted to do a type of education that teaches practical skills, soft leadership skills, and is focusing on working with people. At HTH she found all of these aspects combined, gaining a foundation in finance, marketing, and HR, covering all of the business processes of an organisation. Klara had similar thoughts when making her study choice.

“The Practical Education (PE) and the different aspects of the curriculum as well as the good rating of the school made me go for HTH.”

Louisa Diefenbach

Klara knew that she wanted to study hospitality. She applied to HTH and one other hotel school and eventually went for HTH as her impression and experience with HTH simply was ‘very hospitable’, which made her feel that this was the right choice for her.

“I want to be in a profession where I can make use of the languages I speak, travel, and have diverse days where I have to interact with guests and every day is changing. Hospitality ticked those boxes.”

Klara Krueger

Both Louisa and Klara have been very active in extracurricular activities or other engagements at HTH next to their studies. Louisa joined the student council as event commissioner and later on as event manager. Next to this, she took on the role of the student representative, incorporating the students’ feedback in a feedback report which is then shared with the school, thereby contributing to the improvement of the curriculum.

Klara was part of La Confrérie and the sports committee. She’s the chairwoman of the gastronomy club and enjoys giving cooking workshops every week. Besides that, she took on the role of a student assistant for international recruitment in Germany, Switzerland, and Scandinavia.

But how do they balance their social lives, engage in extracurricular activities, and achieve such high study results?

“This probably […] sounds counterintuitive, but I often find for myself that the busier I am, the more I can do, and the more efficient I am.”

Klara Krueger

Whenever Klara is working on something, she is aiming for the maximum which describes her general work ethic. Louisa is following the same strong work ethic. Since she started school, she has always put a lot of work into projects. For her, it is not only about achieving good results but also about really learning and developing soft skills as well as gaining as much knowledge as possible.

“I just always kind of had that drive to excel in everything.”

Louisa Diefenbach

For the time after HTH, Louisa plans to work in the field of investment or development at a luxury resort chain in Singapore. At some point, she would like to lead and manage others and eventually become an entrepreneur herself. But before she is going to start her own business, she would like to build up a network and gain the necessary expertise.

After HTH, Klara would like to do another internship or work in different jobs at hotels or hotel chains as well as travel. Eventually, after having identified what she would like to specialise in, she is considering pursuing a Master’s degree.

What are Louisa's and Klara’s advice for fellow HTH students who would be interested in winning the next Scholarship Award?

Louisa advises to, without neglecting other subjects, play on your strengths and concentrate on the subjects that you are interested in and are good at as you gain the most knowledge out of them. Initially, she was struggling with planning her time effectively. Therefore, now she is making use of calendar/time blocking which means that next to a to-do list one assigns time slots in the calendar to specific tasks, which allows Louisa to manage her classes, plan work and extracurricular activities. She states that her motivation is intrinsic but achieving this high average in the first year gave her the drive to keep up the good results.

Klara is using an ‘old-fashioned’ paper agenda where she writes down everything. She always plans one week ahead for herself, meaning that in week 4 she has already finished all the tasks she had to finish for week 5, thus keeping some space for unexpected tasks. This helps her to not get stressed and keep an overview of school, work, and social life.