Dé Nederlandse Debatclub - Explained in English
In his professional life Dennis is a professional lawyer in The Hague and Jerry has been an entrepreneur in marketing since 2000. Both guys loved discussing and arguing on a variety of topics but they found out that they needed an extra challenge:
How can you discuss better and more efficiently?
What are the secrets to make your statements more convincing?
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Dennis and Jerry decided to establish a small debating club in Amsterdam. Friends from their own network were invited to join the pilot sessions in spring 2013, but it all turned out to be very successful almost immediately. It lead to the official start of Dé Nederlandse Debatclub on September 1, 2013.
The club grew rapidly.
We were able to do some good advertising, marketing and free publicity in some big newspapers. All kind of people joined. From entrepreneurs to civil servants, from teachers to retired people, from students tot housewives…. All ages, all backgrounds, all political preferences… It didn't and it doesn’t matter; diversity is a natural thing with us! Everybody is welcome!
The core ‘business’ was to organize fun evenings and sessions where we create a safe space and help people develop personal skills on public speaking, pitching, speeching and debating, leading to a better position in normal daily life e.q. claiming your position in a discussion better than before. So, the club developed both to a place where to improve your personal skills and to a network of young and old professionals as well.
Our oldest member is 77 years old (a retired psychologist) and our youngest member is 17 years old (high school student from Amsterdam). The average age at our club is 39 years. Men and women members are almost equally divided (54% men, 46% women) and they are from all educational or school levels and from a variety of daily professions and jobs.
We pay much attention to the way how we provide feedback to each other.
People need to feel safe. Our environment must be the place where people will accelerate. People trust each other. And if there is trust, you can learn!
We have our own location at a business centre in the eastern part of Amsterdam.
Until 2018 we were offered to make use of spaces and board rooms from some companies who supported our goals, but in the end it was better – and more professional – to choose for our own location.
Also competitive debating
There is a part of our members who joined our club to improve skills and have fun, there is also a part of our members that enjoy competitive debating.
At this moment (2021) we have 157 members and we are the largest debating club in the Netherlands.
In 2019 we were chosen CLUB OF THE YEAR in the Netherlands, an award given by the National Olympic Committee and The Rabobank (biggest financial bank in the Netherlands). In 2020 there was – due to the covid pandemy – no new Club Of The Year – election.
Every year (in autumn) we organize our internal club championships. So, this event is very interesting for the competitive members. In spring we always organize our Pitchmasters, an internal pitch and speech event.
In November 2020 we were the first ones to organize the National Online Debating Championships. This first Championship was won by a student in Groningen (city in the north of the Netherlands). Many of our members also participated in the championships.
Photo/screenshot: Jerry Helmers is the Master Of Ceremony of most of the club sessions.
Unfortunately the Netherlands was also hit by Covid-19 and as from March 2020, we were not able to organize events in our business centre anymore.
So we created and started online sessions, of course to keep in touch with each other but also to try to keep the club alive and kicking.
We are happy that even in these Covid-days we welcome around 3 – 5 new members a month. Hopefully we can meet up again in our business centre as soon as the world – and Amsterdam – is safer again! But no worries at all: Covid or not, you are also very welcome at our online debating club which we established in the beginning of 2021.