Interview with Rob Den Hertog


Several hours before the show starts! Interview with Rob Den Hertog, Interclean Director

Rob, you have already been working in the position of the Director of Interclean Amsterdam, global cleaning show, for many years! How many years have you been holding this position?

I am working for RAI since 1993 and in 2005 I was appointed as director for the Interclean shows.

Indeed, Interclean Amsterdam is a world’s leading trade show for cleaning and hygiene professionals. The trade show hosts 30000 visitors and 800 exhibitors. Was it always such a large and global trade show? What’s the key to success?

It’s the most international show in the world. Almost 900 exhibitors, 30,000 visitors and 135 nationalities. No other professional cleaning trade show in the world is so international. It’s also unique because it’s a trade show that primarily attracts machine, cleaning agent and tool manufacturers, and the primary visitors are distributors who come for the contact with the manufacturers. There’s only one place in the world where you can meet 900 manufacturers and that’s every two years at the RAI in Amsterdam.

Interclean show is a long story, is not it? How old is Interclean show? What is the history of this global project which is called Interclean show? What did it all start with?

Interclean started in 1967, and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. It makes me very proud to look back and think of how Interclean has grown with every edition to become the world’s leading cleaning industry exhibition and I have great faith that we can look forward to even better things.

Over the years since the show first started, we’ve seen significant milestones. Many of these – the increasing number of visitors and exhibitors; introduction of the leading Amsterdam Innovation Award; implementation of dedicated areas; substantial extension of exhibition space – have kept Interclean on track as an innovative show that creates and embraces change.

The success does not come without much hard work. The involvement of the industry is crucial to determine our short and long-term strategy, helping to keep the event concept in line with market developments and therefore the expectations of exhibitors and visitors.

As we know you RAI is the Organizer of Interclean trade show in Istanbul, Turkey. What inspired you to enter Turkish market?

We continuously conduct research amongst our stakeholders and exhibitors, the research showed a high percentage of interest for this market. That is when we start looking into possibilities, with local partners and suitable venues. Furthermore as Interclean is always and International show, it should be a regional HUB. If all ingredients are correct then we start a new show.

Comparing to Interclean Amsterdam the trade show in Turkey is not so large. Why is Turkish market attractive for you?

The  Turkish market is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and interest from our stakeholders and exhibitors was high. The region attracts visitors from 80 countries surrounding Turkey. This is what makes it an interesting show, the potential to attract visitors from countries that are in development, but are not big enough for the potential market expansion that you can achieve in Amsterdam.

Why Interclean Eastern Europe was closed? Does the market of Eastern Europe have any potential? Are you going to grand a second chance and hold the trade show in Eastern Europe again in nearer future?

After careful evaluations of the 2015 show and in consideration with the Polish regional stakeholders, we had to conclude that the future event was no longer capable of offering the complete market overview that has positively contributed to the success and growth of the show.

2017 was the year of changes in RAI-ISSA cooperation. How did these changes influence Interclean shows?

The name and part of the show’s ownership changed: Amsterdam was already a 100% RAI show and Istanbul now also is. North America and Latin America are now ISSA shows.

What will be the most interesting at the show in Amsterdam this year?

Adding to the variety, Interclean Amsterdam 2018 will introduce three new segments: Laundry, Waste solutions and Healthcare Cleaning. These will make the event more comprehensive than ever before, while adding new features such as the On-Premise Laundry (OPL) pavilion, the Zero Waste LAB and the Healthcare Cleaning LAB. With its skills workshops, the Healthcare Cleaning LAB is set to be a particularly popular addition.

The Interclean Stage (located in the Elicium Ballroom) is central to the knowledge sharing and networking opportunities available. A range of free sessions will explore innovation, new regulations and standards, and participation in the growing circular economy.

At the InnovationLAB, trendwatcher Vincent Everts will deliver a seminar on the impact of new technologies on existing markets, entitled: Which Developments Should We Look Out For? New business models, Robots and Apps, the Innovation Award nominees and other popular topics will be on Vincent’s insightful agenda.

The Facility Inspiration Event is a special day of events dedicated to helping facilities managers improve their performance; and the Robot Arena has live demonstrations of the latest robot cleaners taking on a series of challenges.

Waste is the essential raw material of The Zero Waste LAB. A workshop – Anatomy of the Waste Bin – runs every day, giving visitors a hands-on opportunity to discover how to reduce their waste footprint. The Healthcare Cleaning LAB offers a dedicated platform for sharing best practice and innovation. A realistic hospital room mock-up will host live product and technique demonstrations daily.

Over the entire history of Interclean show there definitely were some difficult or fun situations, can you tell about that?

There a to many to make a choice. Basically the success of the show is corporation with all stakeholders. Everybody is welcome at our show.

In 2016 there was news about the hotel which RAI Amsterdam was going to start building. Would you like to provide our readers with details?

The iconic nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel will permanently change the Amsterdam skyline by the time it is completed in mid-2019. With 650 rooms and a height of 91 metres, it will be the largest hotel in the Benelux region. The hotel will be finished in the course of 2019.

What professional skills help you in daily life?

With a technical background in electronics and mechanical engineering I have always been curios to understand what the manufacturers  drives. When you understand what the industry developments are you could incorporate this in the concept of the show. As an example you could say that our Management & Mobility Solutions segment and Zero Waste LAB are the result of market developments. But also our Robot Arena and Innovation LAB are great examples of what is happening in the industry, facilitated by Interclean.

How do you prefer to spend your leisure time except your professional activities?

In the weekends I love to take my motorcycle for ride and explore the Dutch countryside. It is not only the driving but also the cleaning of the motorcycle to keep it in perfect condition. That is maybe why I ended up managing Interclean?

We ask every cleaning expert, who undertakes interview, to give advice to cleaning starters and next generation in cleaning industry. What is your message? 

Enjoy success and commit to innovation. Embrace change and look out for new products, technologies and trends that will shape our industry. And realize that you are part of an industry that is maybe not sexy but is of vital importance when it comes to keeping people healthy!

And the last question. Which expert person from cleaning industry you recommend us to interview? It is next step pass challenge. Who is the cleaning expert which can share interesting information with our readers?

I would be interested to read an interview with Keith Baker who, after his carrier, decided to start helping companies and employees to find perfect matches in our industry.

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