We all know Vincent van Gogh from his extremely valuable paintings. However, the way the human being Vincent inspires people with his character, world changing views and talent to perceive and describe his surroundings, is less know. That’s why a group of passionate entrepreneurs came together this day to highlight this element in particular while suggesting a relationship with the unique characteristics of the mentality and landscapes in the Dutch province of Brabant. Van Gogh inspires because he himself was inspired which can still be recognized from the creativity, paintings and unique style of Vincent.
Start in Eindhoven
We gathered in the old characteristic Park Hotel of Eindhoven. During the lunch, offered by the new owner of the hotel, organizer Jan Karel Felderhof explained the “Enjoy Van Gogh” program and objectives. We then spend some time to get to know each other in the group as well as the individual motivation to participate.
It was a lovely sunny summer’s day. Park hotel had organised a light lunch after which we would go by bike to the “Van Gogh village” Nuenen. Van Gogh had only lived there 2 years but they were significant for many of his paintings, conflictive relationships and worldview development. The 10 km bicycle ride took us through areas of Eindhoven and Nuenen which one would normally not see when any other means of transportation is used. This made the tour already a pleasant exercize.
At the Vincenter in Nuenen we were received to get some insight in the life of Van Gogh, listen to some real, recorded testimonials of people who actually had met him personally, and see an exposition of his time. We then walked to see the actual places with a guide. She compared visual landmarks with the Van Gogh paintings, showing how Vincent interpreted what he saw and practiced techniques on canvas. We learned things about the person, his personality, his perseverence and struggles with dogma’s of a protestant elite family and his free and often troubled mind. The many letters he wrote to his brother Theo are a well documented remainder of the way he interpreted and analysed himself and his relationships or work.
Despite his family struggles Vincent described his relationship with Brabant as “the place where your dreams appear close to reality”. It was this sentence among others that linked his mentality to the one we also felt ourselves. The land in which we live and where we do our own creative work, where Philips once found fertile grounds to grow, is worth viewing to try to explain the typical value driven mentality, the community building around quality of life and powerful innovative entrepreneurship of our region.
The group consists of entrepreneurs, visionairs and executives in the field of paradigm shifts, hospitality, export, art, productivity and healthcare. Each with his/her own leadership mentality, determination and fully aware of the challenges we face as a species. In essence we could sense to be little Van Gogh ‘s in our own talented way. What would the sum of this unique group bring and what can we bring to the world.
Gradually this became the topic of our conversation as we cycled back to Eindhoven with a stop at the 11th century watermill to enjoy a Vincent beer brewed by one of the participants.
We then continued our return to Eindhoven with a small detour to get a feel of the Van Gogh bicycle path, an ingeneous night time experience of light reflection based on one of the paintings of Van Gogh.
We then continued to the center of Eindhoven for our evening meal en open dialogue at Mr. Frits (the way the general public referred to Frits Philips, former president of Philips after the founders Anton and Gerard) restaurant.
We were received with an excellent three course meal during which we had ample time to share ideas, insights, ideology and feelings about Vincent, the day, our group of beautiful people and what we could do together in cocreation.
It was an excellent day. We don’t know yet what will come out of it all other than all kinds of positive intensions to show the people some of our history, the way we live and take commitment around issues that generate positive vibes. Vicent van Gogh was the inspirer who opened our eyes to how inspiring we and our region is and worth showing to the world.