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Hotseat - Martine Burger

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For many the best part of the Heineken Regatta is the partying after the races. Each year the Heineken team does its best to put on memorable shows. Heading the team as the coordinator of the Heineken Regatta for International Liquors and Tobacco is Martine Burger. It's her job to oversee the shows and parties and make sure that everything falls into place.

How would you describe yourself?

This is always a very hard question to answer. My friends would describe me as loyal, flexible, no-nonsense, responsible, down to earth and social.

Where were you born? Tell me about where you grew up.

I was born in Purmerend, a city about a 15-minute-drive north of Amsterdam. Purmerend is a very quiet place to live in and is not the most exciting place. Most of my school and part time jobs I did in Amsterdam.

Where did you go to school?

I attended primary and secondary school in Purmerend. After that I got a college degree in Tourism and Leisure Management in Amsterdam. I was only 20 when I finished that and not ready for a working life, so decided to do a Bachelor's Degree in International Music Management in Haarlem. I had fantastic time. Even after working full time for five years now, I still miss those student days very much!

What was college life like?

Student life was fantastic! Living in a big apartment building with nothing but students... Great parties, not enough sleep, too many beers, we all know the stories. Though, even with all the excitement of this, I was a serious student. I went to most of the classes, did my homework and worked about 20 hours per week to pay for it all.

What is it that drew you to your present career?

The excitement about this job is the deadlines you have to work with. Like this year, March 6 is the first event and set up has to be there. We can't be a day late, just because I'm a little behind. No, the deadline of the event is the first day of the event. Period! The stress of reaching this is very rewarding afterwards, when everything you worked so hard on happens as you hoped it would.

What keeps you going through the day?

No coffee, no brainpower! I always make a to-do list for the next day before I leave the office.

Now that the Heineken Regatta is coming up soon, a lot of things come in and interrupt my plans. That's all right, though. After 5:00pm, when everybody has gone home, I finish what was planned in a very quiet office.

How does it feel to be organizing such huge events? Do you ever get nervous?

Of course you get nervous! I've been at the point for a few weeks now that when I'm in bed at night, there's no chance for sleep, because all these things rush through my mind. It is a pleasant type of nervousness. You need it to feel the excitement for the event. Right after New Year, you feel the excitement start on the island as well. It makes me nervous, but it feels fantastic!

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

That would be a few things. First of all, acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. I never was the cleverest student, but with a lot of motivation I was able to get it! After that, looking at the work experience I've gained in the last five years, and seeing where I am today, makes me very proud.

What do you do when you're not at work?

Two times a week I have a tennis class. I only started here last year, so no Wimbledon for us yet, but it's great fun! Besides that, eating, drinking and enjoying the sun with friends are always winners on Sundays.

What hidden skills or talents do you have?

Ha ha, hidden skills! People are somewhat always surprised when I tell them I was a synchronized swimmer for about 10 years, training four times a week! Maybe you can call that a hidden skill?

What are your ambitions for the future?

One day I hope to work at the events department of a municipality in a large city. Working on providing organisations with permits and working on the safety of events. This has been a goal since I started my studies and still is. Maybe I'll get there in 10 years or so.

What was your happiest moment?

In 2013 my happiest moment was the Monday morning when I came home after the Heineken Regatta 2013. Totally exhausted, but so proud of what we had accomplished!

What would be your alternate choice as a place to live and work?

For some (strange) reason I've always been attracted to the Scandinavian countries. It couldn't be more opposite than St. Maarten, but working and living in Oslo, Norway, or Copenhagen in Denmark for a year or so is something I would not exclude.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) together for dinner, who would they be? What would you serve them to eat?

President Obama, Nelson Mandela & Faithless (artist). Three interesting people with very interesting backgrounds. I'll probably go for a risotto with pumpkin, onion, Spanish ham, parmesan... Hmmm, thinking about food, makes me hungry! Guess I know what I'll be cooking tonight!