The 23 of August marked the end of the once every five year event Sail.
This time the tag line was ‘from Golden past to Golden future’. Sail is all about the legendary past of the Dutch shipping industry.
The event was a huge success, with 600+ (Tall)-ships attending and attracting half-a-million+ a day.
The event was not only about public entertainment, it had a serious message. On saturday the National Sail Debate enjoyed a impressive line up of speakers. The prime-minister Mark Rutte, the Kings-Commissioner Remkes, CEO’s of successful Dutch start-ups (TravelBird, Fastnet amongst others) and captains of industry like Jan-Kees de Jager talked about Dutch entrepreneurship, about trading spirit, building connections on international collaboration. The question to all was: “How can we learn from the past?”.
Aviation has of course a less lengthy history than the nautical world. In fact, if we look at aviation, the industry has copy-pasted a lot from seafarers; for instance airlaw is strongly influenced by nautical rules.
So why do I mention Sail?
The Flying Dutchman Foundation is not planning on landing 600 historic airplanes on the doks of the IJ (yet..). But we have a similar message; Dutch aviation can build on 100+ years of knowledge and innovations. Experience gained developing Schiphol airport, Fokker Aircraft and KLM is valuable to many SMEs. The aviation industry has a big impact on GDP and employment.
Our goal is to unite every cornerstone of the industry, represent the Netherlands abroad and be an ambassador during trade missions to the Americas, Africa and Asia. While doing so, we want to narrate and report about the pioneering adventures, about aviation innovation and Dutch connections abroad to the public at home.
From 2016 onwards our industries leaders are all celebrating their centennial – the right time to focus on more than 100 years of lessons learned and look at the future of aviation.
The next edition of Sail is not until 2020, I guess aviation can fill the void..
Lars den Hartigh
Flying Dutchman Foundation chairman