He has been working at the largest events center in the Netherlands since 1996 and has now reached the absolute top. Maurits van der Sluis, one of the big bosses of RAI Amsterdam, has helped the company become what it is today in more than 22 years. Curious how he ended up in that chair and who gave him that push in the right direction? You can read that in the interview below. Text: Annelies Keus

What was your very first job?

As a child, a friend and I started our own 'supermarket', a kind of flea market with all kinds of old junk. We called this the MauMa supermarket, because his name was Maarten and I was Maurits. I was about ten years old then.

Who was your wheelbarrow?

I wanted to work at the Amsterdam Arena, which had just opened at the time. I applied there and out of 500 people I made it to the last two. I had a conversation with the then director, Jan Gaasterland. At that time, the RAI did the catering for the Arena. The director of the Arena said to the director of the RAI: ​​“I have two applicants, I have chosen one but you must take the other.” Then I was indeed approached by the Rai.

What's the stupidest thing you've ever done in your career?

I've certainly made some stupid mistakes. For example, a space was sold that was not there at all, or VAT was forgotten at the bottom of an invoice. We all make mistakes, we also learn from them. In fact, I still make them occasionally.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Work hard and enjoy. Do what you are good at and what you enjoy, because that is not always the same. Through work experience you can ensure that what you can do and what you like become closer together.

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

Yes, I regularly help people with a first meeting. That's what you get with a large network. I like to give people a helping hand, but otherwise I don't interfere. I also always try to be honest. I won't praise anyone if I think there are still some scratches on it. Ultimately you have to do it yourself.