The Grand Rapids Heineken House


The West Michigan Global Initiative invites local, national and global leaders to share ideas and foster business, political and cultural relationships between the West Michigan business community and their counterparts in the Netherlands. 


We believe that positive change begins with an Ideas grow into sustainabile operations when people work together to create value. This is a universal truth. It is through connecting with others and forming supportive relationships that businesses, foundations and countries are formed and leave lasting legacies. We believe that by creating opportunities for conversations and relationship building that the future businesses and organizations which will restore Michigan's reputation as a global leader. By creating dynamic events with entrepenurial and community focused individuals, the foundations for future economic activity will result. Our belief is that by bringing together  business, civic and government leaders that our partners in the economic development, arts and policy spheres will be able to help build sustainable value.

Block_3.pngIn fall of 2014 WMGI brought a Delegation from the Netherlands to West Michigan with a focus on Food Agriculture and the Medical Device field.  During the course of three days the group toured leading businesses in our region, making connections, and lasting relationships.  By interacting with other executives in their field of business in a non-competive enviornment, including additional experts in attendence, and facilitating discussions based on subject matter.  Participants left with a new perspective and strategic networks relevant across our two nations.

block_4.pngAt the culmination of the three day venture we held the very first Heineken House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It was said so be the social event of the year.  WMGI, stepped away from the standard Gala and opted for a house party downtown Grand Rapids, in the Lofts Apartments, two story parking garage.  On one level guests enjoyed music from an artist popular in the Netherlands.  On the second, DJ Shannon Wiliams, combined video, light, and sound.  All food stations were action stations with beer pairings from Founders Brewery.  The only way to get between the two floors, was to be taken by a car freight elevator.


The stage was set for guests to relax and mingle, all the while being decked out in orange.


The Heinenken House was a success due to many factors.   The biggest being the participants.  WMGI wouldn't be the organization it is without those dedicated to cultivating relationships between the West Michigan business community and their counterparts in the Netherlands.


Speaker Series

Luncheon lectures from esteemed experts, offering insight on business, public policy and cultural issues.

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International events featuring the foremost experts in political and financial fields across two continents.

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Sponsorship opportunities await for organizations with a local focus and a global perspective.

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Exchange Program


Establishing a new generation of relationships between West Michigan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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Advisory Committee

Jan Peter Balkenende
Former Prime Minister of the 
Netherlands (Rotterdam)

Franco Bianchi 
President and CEO, 
Haworth (Holland, MI)

William Boer
President & Founder, 
Grey Dunes (Grandville)

Jim and Donna Brooks 
The Brooks Family,
Brooks Capital Management (Holland, MI)


Randy Damstra
RDV Corporation, Senior Managing Director, 
Head of Global Private Equity, RDV Corporation (Grand Rapids)

Alexander Collot d’Escury 
Desso (Waalwijk, the Netherlands)

Volkert Doeksen 
Chairman & Managing Partner,  
AlpInvest Partners (Amsterdam)

Christopher Freeze 
Managing Director, 
The Carlyle Group (New York)

Paulus C. Heule
Eenhoorn Principal and 
Honorary Dutch Consul of 
West Michigan (Grand Rapids)

J.C. Huizenga 
Huizenga Group (Grand Rapids)

Alexandra Jankovich 
Managing Partner, 
SparkOptimus (Amsterdam)

Roel Klein 
Cormorant Energy (Fruitport, MI)

Birgit Klohs 
President and CEO, 
The Right Place, Inc. (Grand Rapids)

Pieter Kodde
Managing Director, 
Lincolnshire (New York, NY)

Brendan E. Ringlever
Michigan Legislative 
Consultants (Lansing)

Auke van Scheltinga
TFG Parnters (Pittsburg, PA)

Jim Weaver
(Ada, MI)

Cor van Zadelhof
Brouwershoff (Amsterdam)

Kurt Dykstra
Mayor, City of Holland (Holland, MI)

Founding Sponsors


  • AlpInvest Partners
  • Eenhoorn LLC
  • Haworth, Inc
  • Huizenga Group
  • MERS of Michigan
  • The Carlyle Group
  • Burke E. Porter Machinery
  • Alticor
  • RDV
  • The Windquest Group
  • Amway
  • InnerWorkings
  • Meijer
  • Effen Vodka & DeKuyper
  • Dempsey Ventures
  • Grey Dunes
  • Michigan Legislative Consultants
  • Varnum Attorneys at Law
  • Grand Valley State University




Contact Us

231 W. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States
Office: 616.530.5500; Fax: 616.530.0850


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