Last Thursday was in my opinion the conclusion of a wonderful couple of weeks.
It all started on march 13th, when I got an sms message telling me I had been selected to represent The Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam (www.glr.nl) on the Trade WebDesign during the International Worldskills Championship in St. Gallen, Switzerland. I would be part of the Dutch national team, comprising of 32 people, each competing in different trades. We would be competing against The 750 best professionals from 37 nations.
I would be competing against 12 people for a bronze, silver, or preferably, gold medal.
This was all very exciting, but in the time before the competition I would have to train my skills so I could reach the best result possible.
Early may things were getting serious. The Dutch organisation had planned a 'teambuilding'-weekend, during which the team could get acquainted with each other.
June 6th was another milestone. On this date Skills-Netherlands had organized a press conference, presenting the dutch team to the national press. Later that day we dressed in the official suits, and had a nice reception at the Swiss embassy. This really served to strengthen the team spirit and the feeling we were representing our country.
June 14th was d-day, the day we left for Switzerland. The whole team was loaded on a bus and Saturday night at 11 we started the journey. We drove all night, and the next morning at 10 we arrived at our destination: Kaserne Neuchlen-Anschwilen (link), where we would be staying during the championship. We would be sharing this location with people of the New Zealand, Swiss, French, Belgian, Tunisian and Moroccan team.
June 18th was the day that really started the event, the opening ceremony.
The championship itself went by in a blur. Four days of hardcore website design combined with presenting the trade to the audience was so intensive the days just flashed by.
So suddenly it was already Sunday, the last day of the competition. At ten past five we were finished, and on our way to the happy hour. The beer really tasted well after four days of hard work.
The next couple of days consisted of excursions and parties. Then came Wednesday, the day of the closing- and award ceremony. It was really exciting, I didn't know at the time weather I had won something or not. The suspense was really building, webdesign was the 43d trade. Then then the news was announced.
Bronze: THE NETHERLANDS!
The whole team scrambled to its feet, cheering! After being congratulated many times, I could finally make my way to the podium, followed by the Dutch camera crew. Arriving there, all the Dutch in the audience were shouting Holland! Holland!
My medal was handed to me by the Swiss president, apparently, I was to much in a rush to recognize him. It was such an amazing experience, standing there, in front of 5000 cheering people!
Half an hour later the closing ceremony was over, and we left, after some interviews, for the big after-party. There I hooked up with the Canadian and Finnish Webdesign contenders. We had a great time drinking beers and watching some asian people who were quite obviously NOT accustomed to alcohol.
The next day it was time to head home. It was hard leaving this wonderful place. But we had to be back in Holland in time, for our homecoming was to be celebrated.
Arriving in Holland there was a group of about 600 people waiting for us. There were some speeches and celebrations, for the Dutch team had delivered extraordinary results. Five medals and no less then 8 diplomas for excellent craftsmanship!
Finally home in Hazerswoude, there was still some celebrating to be done, as I was honored by the municipal council. A great ending for an unforgettable couple of weeks!