Today was spent in the beautiful city of Brugge, Belgium. Our first activity was to visit a local firm called BEP-Europe. BEP is part of the Burke Porter Group of companies which ar based in Grand Rapids, MI. Bert Vermeersch and his colleagues gave us an in-depth introduction to the Burke Porter Group and the work they do in Brugge. We then had the opportunity to walk around their shop floor and see the machines they are building. Most of the machines are intended to perform testing of new cars as they are driven off the assembly line. After seeing the impressive machines, they offered us some refreshments before we returned to Brugge’s old city center.
After finding lunch on our own, we met up with two city tour guides that led us around the city, explaining what we saw and describing the history of the city. The weather was rainy in the morning, but the afternoon was partly cloudy and very comfortable. After the tour, all were off in small groups to find some supper and to continue exploring the city.
Yesterday we were given the opportunity to stop in Middelburg, the capital of the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. It was a quiet city and seemed small for a city that was the capital of its province. After grabbing a quick lunch at one of the many restaurants that lined the shopping district, we departed for our next destination. We Arrived in Brugge, Belgium a couple hours later and were greeted by a group meal and buildings that looked like they belonged in the Middle Ages. After the scheduled group time, a number of us explored the city square and some of the less traveled side streets. Overall, it was a plesent day and served as a good introduction to the city of Brugge.
Spending time in Delft and learning about Vermeer Company in the Netherlands was an unforgettable experience. Delft, the original birthplace of the Delft Blue pottery and Delftware, opened our eyes to a world filled with history and small shops and restaurants. We climbed the windy staircase to the top of the church’s bell tower. The church is the focal point of the central square in Delft and can be seen for miles away from town. As we climbed higher and higher, we developed a new appreciation for elevators. However, once we made it to the top, we forgot about the steep stairs and dizziness as we experienced a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding area lying in front of us. The view justified the climb. Below, a picture of the church and a picture from the top of the bell tower can be seen.
Moreover, at Vermeer Company we learned about international business and what it takes to be competitive globally. Vermeer Company designs and manufactures machines that benefit the agriculture, mining, telecommunication and infrastructure industries. The company was started in Pella, Iowa and now operates on every continent except Antarctica. With this, it is key to be culturally aware for success. Continue reading “Netherlands: Learning and Climbing High”