Best new business of the year 2001

Merlijn: the magic of water
chosen as the best new business of the year in the Haaglanden region!

The owners of the Merlijn, Henk Karelse and Jantien Wondergem, won the de Haagse Start competition with their business plan and were chosen as the

Read the two press releases below:

Dreaming with both feet on the ground

Haagsche Courant, 27 November 2001
The Hague – She provides the business brains and he the creative genius. Jantien Wondergem originally comes from Zeeland and her partner – in business and in private – is a lover of water whose roots lie in the river country of the Betuwe.

Together they ended up in Scheveningen in pursuit of their dream: transforming an old cargo ship into a luxury sailing ship that will soon offer customers everything their hearts desire. Their company, “Merlijn de magie van water” was yesterday awarded the major prize in the final of the Haagse Start competition for new companies at the Diligentia theatre. The prize of 10,000 Dutch guilders and a work of art went to their business plan which the jury described as: “original and yet totally in line with the demands of today”. Their idealism and tireless effort was also praised. “Dreaming with both feet on the ground,” in Jantien Wondergem’s own words during the presentation of the awards to the winners.
The Merlijn will soon embark on the last stage of its transformation at the well-known shipyards in Bartlehiem. The twin-deck ship will be ready to receive its first customers before the summer. These groups will vary greatly, because, on the water, the new Merlijn will function just as easily as a luxury cruise ship, a swinging party boat, a floating conference hall, or a home base for water sports adventures. In the galley, the brochure reads, a highly-skilled chef is ready to produce culinary delights in all weather conditions. It’s all part of the “magic of Merlin”.

-Press Release-
Haagse Start 2001 Trophy awarded to the original and modern Merlijn
The annual ‘Haagse Start Trofee 2001’ competition was awarded this year to Merlijn. Merlijn is a luxury, multifunctional, twin-deck passenger ship. The jury praised the idealism and tireless effort of the entrepreneurs Henk Karelse and Jantien Wondergem. Reason enough for the jury to award them first prize. Their business plan was described as “original and yet totally in line with the demands of today”. The marketing strategy in particular was highlighted. Merlijn sailed away with ten thousand Dutch guilders, an art work and a stand at the upcoming 2002 Managers Only trade fair to be held on 6 and 7 March 2002 in the Grote Kerk in The Hague.

The runners-up were Mat-Tech, Delft and Park-Line, The Hague. Contestants were judged on their business plan, entrepreunership and the presentation of their company. Merlijn emerged as the winner for the Haaglanden region.
Merlijn is a luxury twin-deck passenger ship converted from a cargo vessel constructed in 1930. The ship is ideally suited to company outings, cycling holidays, parties and events. The salon of the Merlijn has capacity for 48 to 100 persons. The luxury double cabins make overnight stays possible. The modern galley allows the chef to fulfil every culinary desire.

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