Koninklijke KPN N.V.


Boy, am I ticked. If you look at a map of The Netherlands you can see where Groningen, a city of around 300,000, lies way up in the northeastern section near the German border. Though it's out of the way I need to go there because it's home to KPN, the country's phone company. Or, that's what I thought. The address I have leads me next door to the city's central train station and to a sprawling, monster-size building with the name "PTT Nederland" in big letters atop the side. It's no so much tall but bulky.

The lobby area is very weird. Entering, you walk upon marble floors but it's very dark and poorly lit. Why? Reason number one being the building itself overhangs the entrance-allowing for little natural light. Reason number two being the use of egg lights in the ceiling-you know the little lights which only direct light straight downward. Atop the receptionist's desk is a large vase of sunflowers. A video is playing on a big screen but there's no noise or music. What a depressing lobby! Though this building was probably built in the late 1980's it's got a feature popular in buildings built in the 1950's and 1960's-escalators. Nearby behind a glass office sits a security guard.

I ask the receptionist if she can call CEO Wim Dik's secretary to find out who ended up with my letter of introduction sent a month earlier. Finding out ends up turning into an hour-long ordeal. Why? For one thing the receptionist is new, having been with company only two weeks. After making several calls she informs me CEO Dik isn't here but in The Hague. Relaying that information to me she seems to think I'll go away. I explain to her how several weeks ago I already passed through The Hague and I don't plan on being dismissed until I talk to someone to explain where my letter ended up. After conferring with the security guard and who knows how many others on the phone, she follows my advice to contact someone in public relations.

Handed a phone, I talk to a Mr. Portman in public relations who says executives moved to The Hague awhile back after the Dutch government split the post office and phone company in two (to be privatized). Portman says they received my letter (which was mailed to Groningen but evidently was forwarded to The Hague where he is located). With a sigh and grumble in my voice I tell Portman I came through The Hague several weeks ago. What I REALLY felt like telling him was this: Hello!! is anybody home?? you're a telecommunications company for crying out loud! Why didn't you communicate with me and let me know your new address!!?