Leids Ontzet 2022 

Leids Ontzet 2021

Name: Davy Laan 


It's late Wednesday night and the phone rings. My colleague calls me that a rush job has come in and that we have to switch gears quickly. here we go!

This weekend there is Leids Ontzet in the center of Leiden. A major event with more than 250,000 visitors within the canals of the Key City. To ensure that there are no long queues at the catering establishments, Corona Checks are being carried out by the city at 5 locations. With a correct QR code, the visitor receives a wristband that is valid for 24 hours in the city center. As a result, the flow at the catering establishments of the more than 250,000 visitors in the city will run smoothly. Very good idea!

“But Leids Ontzet is already this weekend, isn't it?” I ask for confirmation over the phone. “That's right!” My colleague exclaims enthusiastically. 5 Locations, 30 tents, 300 fences, 80 staff per day, especially a lot of wristbands! Through good cooperation and clear communication, it was possible to get this all done within 24 hours. Until late in the evening, together with the team, we think about what we all need and where we will get it from... We work under high pressure, but that's what we live for! The next day we start building right away.

At 07:00 our team will be ready at location number 1. In the meantime, the tent supplier will be there at 08:00. Since each location needs a lot of stuff to build a beautiful location, we spread our team over the 5 locations to receive all the stuff. 

We guide the drivers of the trucks along the canals in Leiden, then jump on the forklift truck and safely unload the truck. After unloading the materials, the truck drives straight on to the next location where my colleague is waiting for him. Around noon each location has the necessary materials and the tent supplier is already set up at the 2nd location! We decide to put our heads together and gain some energy with lunch. We forge a plan and go to location after location to have everything ready on time. 

Evening falls and we are busy setting up the last location. In the meantime, a hotel is quickly arranged for us from the office. We drive there at midnight, drink 1 beer with the team, and make plans for the next day. The last tasks are still being distributed and the personnel planning is complete. Thanks to good cooperation between the office team and the permanent partners, we have built 5 locations in completely different places in the city within 24 hours. In addition, we were also able to arrange 80 personnel in this time frame. Tomorrow it will start, then we will unburden the entire city center with a close-knit team for 4 days, 12 hours a day.

During these days I am the spider in the web. During the days, each location uses a location manager. These managers can reach me when problems or questions arise at a location. To keep communication clear and tight, walkie-talkies are used, which have a range throughout the city. Through tight communication via 5 location managers and one spider in the web, we keep the lines short and we can solve challenges quickly. 

You can understand that good communication is crucial at an event like Leids Ontzet. The city center of Leiden is especially easy to traverse by bicycle. From location to location takes an average of 10 minutes. When problems arise at multiple locations, it is therefore really important that communication remains good. Ensuring that there is no mixed conversation and solving some things directly via the walkie-talkie help with a smooth course of the event. We must ensure that visitors do not notice any problems that arise.

The days run very well thanks to good communication and the great team. We notice that the team is well attuned to each other and that we are ready for a long last day. Sunday starts at 06:00 because the visitors go into the pub early on this last day. The day goes very smoothly again. As soon as night falls and most visitors have already received their wristbands, I discuss the winding down plan with all location managers. I go through every step with them so that the location is completed safely and quickly after the event. 

During the dismantling process, I am ultimately responsible and, together with all location managers, I ensure that everything is completed correctly by their team. As soon as the teams are ready, they report this on the telephone or walkie-talkie and I cycle along with my colleague to check and check and count everything with them. Only when all locations are closed and a night security guard is present at each location do I and my team go to the hotel. The next day we complete the last work and everything is collected by the suppliers.

We always schedule an evaluation in the weeks after the event. We do this so that we can look at what went well and what could be improved in the next edition. Together with the customer, we handle this event administratively. In the meantime, we are already looking at our next challenging project at the office.

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