In May 2009, Oscar Rijcken-Voigt, Chairman of the Netherlands Business Council in Dubai, Didier Jacques and Youri Andre (Co-founder and Coordinator of the BelgoLux Association in Abu Dhabi) initiated discussions about the needs and benefits of starting a business platform in Abu Dhabi. The importance to join forces between Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg in order to reach a wider audience became quickly apparent and Richard Oude Reimerink (Chairman of the Nederlandse Vereniging in Abu Dhabi - NVAD) joined to represent Dutch interests.
The idea of a tri-nation business council in the UAE’s capital is welcomed by their Excellencies the Ambassadors of Belgium and The Netherlands. And after a formal kick-off meeting in October 2009, Luxembourger Frank Thome joined to bring in his vast experience as Committee Member of the BENCHAM, the Benelux Chamber of Commerce in China.
An interim set-up Board for the BeNeLux Business Council was established in 2010, consisting of Filip De Vos (3GGulf), Frank Thome (Rotarex), Jean-Yves Andre (Ipratec ME), Joost Van Nueten (FALCK), Patrice Daens (Besix/Six Construct), Robin Voogd (Leaseplan), Richard Oude Reimerink (Tebodin ME), Salar Babajan (Shell Abu Dhabi) and Youri Andre (Sorouh Real Estate).
On 16th June 2010 the interim Board visits His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan to submit their humble request to have His Highness as Honorary Chairman of the BeNeLux Business Council.
The BeNeLux Business Council Abu Dhabi becomes an official registered entity on 3rd October 2010, 50 years after the creation of the Benelux Economic Union and is the first business council in Abu Dhabi that encompasses three nations at once.
Since the first event in November 2010 until today, the BeNeLux Business Council experienced a significant growth. From a handful pioneering entrepreneurs and career expatriates, the BeNeLux Business Council has grown to approximately 150 entrepreneurs, managers and executives in a large variety of industries. Many of whom regularly attend the 30 plus events that are being organised anually to promote the business interests between Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Abu Dhabi & UAE.