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Soccer coach Hiddink best ambassador for Dutch exports

Exporters evaluate spokesmen

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM — International Dutch soccer coach Guus Hiddink has been his country’s best ambassador for exports over the last decade. That is the conclusion reached in a study by credit insurer Atradius and the federation of exporting companies Fenedex.

Atradius and Fenedex started charting the most important movements in Dutch exports in 1998. The survey among 4,000 exporters reveals that 28 percent of them see Hiddink as the most important spokesman for Dutch trade. Hiddink is followed by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander (second with 17 percent) and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (third with 8 percent)./p>

Hiddink has acquired international fame in recent years. In 2002, he coached South Korea to the semi-finals of the World Cup, after which he was even offered the presidency of that country. In 2006, he excelled again with Australia, previously a minor player in the soccer world. Currently, he coaches Russia which will participate in the Euro 2008 tournament where the team hopes to excel./p>

Hiddink’s secret, soccer analysts say, is that he understands the culture of the country he serves and removes any hindrances that might negatively influence the performance of his team./p>

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's wife Princess Maxima was named as an ambassador by 7 percent of the respondents, putting her in fourth place. With only two percent, she was followed by musician Tiesto, who more than once was chosen as the best DJ in the world. Listed sixth is well-known TV and theatre producer Joop van den Ende and seventh, fashion design duo Victor & Rolf./p>