‘VIPS’ is popular, the Protocolbureau received almost 80 applications for its corporate programmeThese applications followed after two lectures about protocol by Jean Paul Wyers, the director of the Protocolbureau, at The Hague Hotel Management School in The Hague and Amsterdam this week. 

VIPS is an unique practical and theoretical experience in strategic networking and protocol for University students. Every year, the Protocolbureau selects 10 students to follow a training programme and to work at the events of the Protocolbureau. 
Ten years ago VIPS started as a master project of Wytze van der Gaast, at that time a student at the hotel school. VIPS is the abbreviation for ‘vaardigheden, interactie, protocol & stijl’, translated as ‘skills, interaction, protocol and style’. 

Ushers preparing the seating arrangements at the Dutch Fashion Award

The trainings about networking and protocol are given by the Dutch protocol and etiquette experts as well as by behavioral scientists, compliance and ethics officers, cross cultural managers and marketing managers. The programme also includes culture, in November the students will go to a performance by the Netherlands Dance Theatre. This evening will be preceded by a lecture about modern ballet. Furthermore, the students are involved in the selection, introduction and evaluation process. 

The ushers at the Four Freedoms Awards

For the evaluation, the students will be assessed on their working experience. The theoretical knowledge is tested in a written exam. Depending on the level of knowledge and experience, there are three levels to be obtained. New students start as ‘host’. After gaining more experience the hosts are awarded the title of ‘usher’. Only the very best grow further and obtain the honorable title of ‘Senior Partner’. The Protocolbureau currently has 17 hosts, 8 ushers and 5 Senior Partners.

At the events of the Protocolbureau the students obtain their working experience. Hosts are responsible for welcoming the guests. Ushers escort dignitaries and oversee seating arrangements. Senior Partners are junior-assistants and are able to coordinate.

Once every two years, the best student of the Protocolbureau is awarded the Gilbert Monod de Froideville Prize. In 2008 a jury choose Stan van Boxtel and Tijmen Struijk as winners, in 2010 Gijs Hoogeveen was the best student. The last winner of the protocol prize is Jaap van Berkel, he was awarded during a ceremony at the old catholic church (oud-Katholieke Kerk) on Friday 15 June 2012.

The jury, winner and nominees of the GMdeF-prize 2012

The Protocolbureau was established in 1995 by students of the The Hague Hotel Management School. The motive was the need to gain experience in hospitality up to the highest level. That was done by organizing lectures and working as hosts at (business) meetings. 
Gilbert Monod de Froideville delivered us the first lecture on protocol in preparation of our first assignment, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards in 1996. Subsequently, the Protocolbureau used to stand by him during the Royal Weddings, State Funerals and Royal Baptismal Ceremonies.

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