What is it with the Netherlands?

What is it with the Netherlands?, that just about everyone I know in the software factories domain in Europe (excluding all Microsoft folks) comes from the sunny Netherlands! I am amazed - and a little envious, to be fair!

I have to give the guys credit, they are all over this space, and most have great innovations and contributions to go with it. I keep meeting more all the time, and our little factory community network is heavily weighted by the flat-landers.

What's really funny is, that they are all from different companies in the Netherlands, and yet they all just about know each other personally!! I think it must be the green and red colours of Amsterdam that brings them all together.

I have to give the following guys special mention, since we keep in touch a lot:

Newly met members of the factory community:

Those unmet, but with a connection through p&p factory communities:

  • Gerben van Loon (Avanade)
  • Gerardo de Geest

Others, who do Software Factories:

It's pretty clear to me where the action in this space in Europe is, and where factories are mostly being doing for real.

Lastly, honorary members of this community with a dutch connection:

  • Don Smith (Don's wife is dutch anyways!)

  • Tom Hollander (it's there, in his name man!)

  • Stuart Kent (Regularly supports the dutch factories community with onsite visits as a principal designer of factory enablement tools)

  • Gareth Jones (Partook in a multitude of dutch activities in country, before abandoning them! to go build factory enablement tools)

Makes me wonder if I am missing some larger picture here. Have I forgotten anyone here?

Comments (20)

  1. Thanks Jezz – I’ve noticed the same thing. Go you crazy Dutch people – bring software factories to the world!

    BTW, despite my name I’m not the slightest bit Dutch, but if you want we can ignore that minor detail to add more evidence to support your theory 🙂


  2. dionysos1973 says:

    In fact Jezz, we did meet briefly. Remember last year’s Barcelona TechED? I was showing Don Smith a DSL-based software factory created by my former employer (Ordina). You were just about to join us in the discussion (next to the architect booth), but had to leave to satisfy a customer. Anyway, just to make your list complete. I’m now working for Aviva Solutions, a little consultancy company partnering with MS Services Netherlands.

  3. Jezz Santos says:

    My appologies Dennis, well met, ammendments made.

  4. Jezz, thx for putting us dutchies in the spotlight.

    A minor correction though: the website you link my name to (www.vincent-hoogendoorn.com) is not mine; could you remove the link or link to http://blogs.macaw.nl/blogs/vincenth_-_.net_solution_architecture/archive/2006/04/14/Realizing_the_Software_Factories_Vision_for_a_Microsoft_Systems_Integrator.aspx  instead?

    Thx, Vincent.

  5. san1t1 says:

    I like Holland very much, but I’m as English as they come. Am I still allowed to work on factories? Should I chase down a change of nationalities before I read Jack’s book? Would that help?

    Hope ur well.


  6. Jezz Santos says:

    Oops sorry Vincent, my mistake.

    I have updated your link for you.

    But you know the new link you provided is to a specific blog post rather than to a blog itself right?


  7. Jezz Santos says:

    Tim, tim, tim….

    I feel your pain bro, I am also a complete foreigner in this group, and a little envious of the wooden-shoe-wearers too! Unlike you or them though I can’t wholeheartedly claim a homeland anymore, but I do know I am also no where in the past dutch either.

    On your credibility in this space, I am sure jack would appreciate you consuming his whole book no matter where you are unfortunate to be from – even Brits! But it only counts if you buy a copy yourself and not read it cover to cover!

    If you want to get down to building factories today mate, you need to go a couple of steps beyond that – as I know you well know. Dutch citizenship might be the express ticket to factories enlightenment nirvana though-  well apparently looking at this crowd!

    Cheers man

  8. Olafc says:


    Maybe we should throw crash courses on what the dutch are all about, over dinner and a pint of heineken.

    Tim, Jezz. I’m confident you 2 should be able to catch up rather well. 🙂

  9. svdoever says:

    Now I understand why I’m working on our Software Factory… I’m Dutch, live in Amsterdam, wear wooden shoes, grow tulips in my garden, have Jacks book AND Gunthers and Christoph’s book, work together with Vincent, know Olaf… all the conditions are right!

    Factories are fun!! First version of a component we use in our factory can be found at http://www.codeplex.com/VSPowerTree, a tree control that can dynamically host actions powered by PowerShell. Currently working on a more advanced version supporting viewpoint, activities, actions and guidance.. all those concepts that we are thrown to dead with in factory land (is is this a bad translation of a Dutch expression? ;-))

  10. Jezz Santos says:

    Hello Serge,

    Well met, and thanks for pinging us – welcome.

    Looks like you have the right credentials and the contacts with this little community – especially the tulips.

    It’s good to see you guys are tackling a very good domain for building your factory, one that promises great productivity gains across integrating server products into solutions.

    I for one, would be very interested in seeing how you guys develop your support ViewPoints and Activities in your factory.


  11. jwarmer says:

    Ok, you figured us out.  We have the Secret Ducth Software Factory Society.  Our goal is to make the Netherlands the homeland for software factory development.  To make it difficult to track us we decided to all work for different companies. Also, we also never meet as a group. We shouldn’t be seen together.

    Could we now change the software factories logo into a Tulip  🙂


  12. Jezz, regarding your interest in how we develop viewpoints and activities, I can give you a hint: we were partly inspired by Tom Hollander’s mockup for the Visual Studio Software Factory UI that he built for project FIAT. However we are taking the guidance concept even a step furter…

    Now, I realize I’m just teasing you. Once our design is stable, I sure would be interested to hear what you (and also Tom and Jack if they are interested) think of it.

    I’ll contact you in a couple of weeks, share what we have, and see if we can setup a teleconference or something.

  13. GarethJones says:

    Hey, you forgot the 18 months I spent living in the Netherlands in the 90s.  Obviously that was my main qualification for starting work on DSL Tools 🙂  Tot ziens.  

  14. GarethJones says:

    Hmm, sounds like OlafC is <almost> offering to host a (beer-oriented) user-group?

  15. Jezz Santos says:

    Hi Gareth, Stuart,

    Well, I guess these are nobel claims enough of assocaition for honourary membership.

    And of course because your good selves are the ones providing much of the enablement for factories for our customers and partners, I feel it only fair to upgrade your status.

    To be fair, I think Olaf needs to consider his offer of a drinking club seriously, now we have an expanding membership here.


  16. jwarmer says:

    Well, Stuart did buy me a couple of beers in Amsterdam near the Leidscheplein after the Dev Days.  He now is officially initiated as a honourary member of the Secret Dutch Software Factory Society.

    At the Dev Days in Amsterdam (where Stuart did a presentation after the one I gave with Leendert) I did meet several members of our society for the first time. Quite dangerous to meet in the open like that :-).


  17. You might have read about the Service Factory Customization Workshop held on Microsofts campus, the end

  18. Well it finally happened, the Secret Dutch Software Factory Society came out of the closet ;-). Most of us actually met during the Service Factory Customization Workshop and is was great.

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