TOP EUROPEAN AGENCIES 1998: NETHERLANDS - The gap between large and small agencies has given rise to two different trade bodies Photograph (Omitted)

With the Netherlands economy and PR flourishing it is a pity that agencies cannot patch up their differences. They are still licking their wounds after a bust up between the large and small agencies that has left them scattered over initially three, and now two, separate trade associations.

With the Netherlands economy and PR flourishing it is a pity that

agencies cannot patch up their differences. They are still licking their

wounds after a bust up between the large and small agencies that has

left them scattered over initially three, and now two, separate trade


The Netherlands has always been a particularly individualistic country

and the home grown independent PR sector is strong, but at the top end

of the league table there is a trend towards the bigger companies

getting bigger and widening the gap with smaller agencies.

Ton Winkelman, co-founder of leading agency Winkelman and Van Hessen,

highlights a trend towards increasing specialisation, which has affected

large and small agencies. ’Clients are no longer only looking for

creativity from their agencies, they want agencies that can be partners

in their business. This has led to the larger agencies restructuring and

introducing specialist teams and smaller agencies increasingly

presenting themselves in specific areas.’

There was action at the top in June with a major merger between Van

Sluis Communicatie and Van Hasselt Van Everdingen & Partners to form a

new company worth 10 million gilders (pounds 3.125 million) called Van

Sluis Consultants.

However, this growth of the larger agencies has been responsible for

creating a rift in Dutch PR into a number of associations which has left

clients bemused by the industry’s seeming inability to market


The former Dutch PR association, the VPRA, folded in July 1997 and

reformed in September last year and now has about 30 members following a

merger with NPRC which catered for smaller agencies. Harry Mock, head of

the newly formed VPRA explains: ’The old organisation found it difficult

to cater for large and small agencies which led to disagreements between

them. Some of the larger agencies favour links with advertising agencies

for integrated communications. But the question is where do these

disciplines touch each other and where is the border between them?’

Some of the larger agencies have joined PRECOM, an informal association

linked to the Association of Communication Consultancies. Alexander

Schoevers, general manager of Hill and Knowlton Nederland which is a

member of PRECOM says: ’It’s just a little annoyance between small and

large agencies.

I think that in a couple of years they will unite again. We are already

a very small professional organisation and I think that either Precom

and VPRA will unite or they will find other partners in order to become

better employer organisations.’

Simon Van Ende, managing director of Bennis Porter Novelli, sees clients

moving away from traditional PR and requiring the more strategic

approach of a management consultancy. On the consumer side, youth

markets have been at the forefront of campaigns, but Van Ende says:

’What I see developing in Holland is more attention to older people,

more magazines, more benefits to help them buy things, all that is

growing fast and they often have high levels of income.’

Harry Mock, president of VPRA, is also managing director of Bureau Mock

v.o.f. - a medium sized agency involved in investor relations. He says

more work is being generated from new business and, in particular,

smaller companies coming onto Holland’s new secondary market. The

liberalised Dutch telecommunications industry is continuing to create


EnerTel, a group of nine utilities and cable firms appointed Schoep and

Van der Toorn to launch it into consumer and business markets and aims

to be the second largest Dutch telecoms supplier.

Schoevers of Hill and Knowlton reports growth in marketing

communications, especially in youth marketing, crisis management,

internal communications and healthcare. Wim Broekman, managing director

of Bureau Broekman, says that ’clients are becoming far more aware of

the relevance of PR to what they are doing and we have seen a tendency

for budgets to move towards PR instead of advertising.’

Hubert Wisse, managing director of Wisse Kommunikatie specialises in

international business. He says that Holland is becoming an increasingly

popular base for international clients and agencies to locate because of

its multi-lingual skills and for some organisations taxation rates are

lower than in their own countries.

PRECOM secretary, Ton de Roo, is managing director of medium sized

agency, Van Hulzen Public Relations Adviseurs and reports growth of 40

per cent over the last year. His agency works with Fleishman-Hillard’s

network and at least 15 per cent of income comes from pan-European work.

He notes that the growth in size of the larger agencies has taken

everyone by surprise.

However, he sees smaller home-grown independents as having the advantage

over both larger agencies and international groups when it comes to

retaining the limited supply of specialist staff.

- PRECOM has 14 members. Consultancies must have a minimum turnover of

one million guilders and to have been in operation for more than five


- The VPRA has 30 members. Consultancies must have been operating for at

least three years, have a minimum turnover of at least 150,000 guilders

and have at least four clients


Rank Company                             Fee income (pounds)

97                                            97             96

1    Winkelman & Van Hessen            4,437,500      2,968,750

2    Bikker Comm Group                 4,281,250      2,625,000

3    Bennis Porter Novelli*            2,365,000      2,226,000

4    Van Rossum & Partners             2,000,000      1,937,500

5    Hill and Knowlton*                1,321,000        978,000

6    Schoep & Van Der Toorn            1,000,000        875,000

7    Van Hulzen PR Adviseurs*            953,850        685,550

8    Dantzing & Lichtenveld              906,250        687,500

9    Bex van der Schans*                 746,031        682,539

10   Lammers van Toorenburg              655,000        397,000

11   Paul Kok Consultants*               620,000        530,000

12   GCI Holland                         594,000        499,000

13   Adequaat Comm                       577,354        606,590

14   Burosix PR Adviseurs1               530,000        410,000

15   Shandwick Netherlands               458,000        723,000

16   Bureau Broekman*                    420,000        400,000

17   Wisse Kommunikatie1                 406,250        406,250

18   Blum and Partners1                  293,750        331,000

19   BETA PR1                            285,000        255,000

20   Hake PR1                            260,000        260,000

21   Presstige PR1                       143,256        104,670

Rank Company                       Location        Status


1    Winkelman & Van Hessen        The Hague       Independent

2    Bikker Comm Group             Rotterdam       Independent

3    Bennis Porter Novelli*        Amsterdam       Porter Novelli

4    Van Rossum & Partners         The Hague       Independent

5    Hill and Knowlton*            Amsterdam       H&K subsidiary

6    Schoep & Van Der Toorn        Amsterdam       Ind/Brodeur P Novelli

7    Van Hulzen PR Adviseurs*      Voorschoten     Ind/FH associate

8    Dantzing & Lichtenveld        Gouda           Independent

9    Bex van der Schans*           Eindhoven       Ind/Ecco affiliate

10   Lammers van Toorenburg        Bunnik          Independent

11   Paul Kok Consultants*         Groenekan       Independent

12   GCI Holland                   Amsterdam       GCI Group subsidiary

13   Adequaat Comm                 De Lier         Independent

14   Burosix PR Adviseurs1         Reeuwyk         Independent

15   Shandwick Netherlands         The Hague       Shandwick Int

16   Bureau Broekman*              Nijmegen        Ind/Ansdell Group

17   Wisse Kommunikatie1           Arnhem          Worldcom Group

18   Blum and Partners1            Amsterdam       Independent

19   BETA PR1                      The Hague       Independent

20   Hake PR1                      Veenendaal      Independent

21   Presstige PR1                 Bunschoten      Independent

* Denotes PRECOM membership

1 Denotes VPRA members

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