Two alumni start typically Rotterdam’ business

Some ideas seem so simple and yet clever. Boris Luijten (26) graduated in International Law at the Erasmus School of Law (ESL) two years ago. His brother Tycho (25) finished his Master Marketing at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) just a few weeks ago. In 2017 their company was born, named Rotterdam in a Box.

'That is so much fun for our company: we complement each other. Tycho is good at putting our concept on the market and marketing it. I am better at figures and putting it down in a contract,' says Boris. 'The best thing is when we have to visit a new customer and pitch the concept together successfully.'

Where did it start?
'We wanted to do business, it tickled. We had already lived in Rotterdam for a while, and had seen that it was getting better with the city. In 2016 we started brainstorming. There is more and more tourism, more and more typical Rotterdam entrepreneurs too. At the same time, we saw that locally made products were popular, and sustainability is increasingly important to people. That's how we came up with the idea for a box: with a Rotterdam beer, a Rotterdam sweet.'

What do you think is special about Rotterdam?
'We ourselves come from Brabant. The Rotterdam pride is actually the first thing we noticed when we came here in 2011. At the time people asked: "Is not Rotterdam cold?" Now, you notice more and more that people turn around and that more people from outside the city like it as well a lot. Thanks to the Lonely Planet and New York Times listings, Rotterdammers have become even more proud. We wanted to respond to that pride.'

What's in the box?
'We focus on smaller entrepreneurs and it's about enjoying. Beer from the Cape brewers, Rotterdammertjes (those are sweets), Hottie sambal, Tea with Edgar. There are all kinds of small producers in the city that make really nice and high-quality products. '

'I really love Rotterdam. It is fun to live in the city at this time: in the time that it is really developing.'

Boris Luijten, Erasmus alumnus and founder of Rotterdam in a Box

Is it going well?
'When we started in 2017, we immediately got the chance to participate in a pitch competition, and we won. We got an office and an investment. Half a year later the webshop went live. The first Christmas we immediately turned very well with Christmas packages.'

Do you do this full-time?
'I work next door at a company in Amsterdam, my brother also does other things besides, it is not big enough for a full salary. But we liked to set something up. Something completely from ourselves. It is not even about the salary, but about promoting Rotterdam. We give Rotterdam producers a podium. Things that are very tasty but not yet so familiar we sell. That way people can taste what the city stands for.
Even though I was not born here, I really love Rotterdam. It is fun to live in the city at this time: in the time that it is really developing. And I still like to be on the Erasmus University campus: every time I notice what a great campus it is. When I studied, we were in the middle of the renovation, which I have sometimes cursed. But the result may be there.'

More information

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