Author, photographer, storyteller for CBNWS - "Around the World in 80 Brands"


"In the footsteps of the great explorers" - by Maarten Schäfer

Now, 670 years after Amsterdam received city rights, my trip around the world in 80 stories starts at the same point from where explorers left for their overseas journeys. And to where they returned with experiences, knowledge and… stories.

"I have sexdaily. I mean dyslexia! Fcuk!"
Having dyslexia and a short attention span isn’t always a disadvantage. It actually helps for storytelling. It allows me to get straight to the point and skip all the superfluous information.
It forces me to to talk to the right side of the brain in emotions and images… instead of feeding the left side of the brain with information.
- Maarten Schäfer


Meeting Jonathan Oliver from Microsoft in Helsinki

Meeting Jonathan Oliver in Helsinki

Helsinki by Mark Terry-Lush for CBNWS

I’ve not long landed in Helsinki, Europe’s northernmost capital.  After a brief stop at the Hotel Klaus K I take a tram to the Siltenan restaurant to meet Jonathan Oliver, who is here, like me, for the opening night of Creative Social.

Where better than a city with design in its DNA and functionality in its form to hook up with a network of creative directors and digital innovators.

The tram…

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Meeting Bollywood legend 'Amitabh Bachchan'

Dressed all in white, Mr. Bachchan is sitting in a semi-lotus position on a sofa bed, with a white scarf draped over his shoulders. It feels like we’ve just entered into one of his movie scenes. “Please sit down,” he says as he points at a chair arranged in front of him.

I imagine an invisible film director saying: “Quiet on the set… Speed… Action!” but instead Mr. Bachchan says: “Would you like some tea?”

Meeting Vladimir Kirillov in St. Petersburg

“Peter the Great had real vision,” says Vladimir. “He wanted Russia to develop its trade links with maritime nations and the construction of St. Petersburg as a seaport was key to that. It allowed Russia to strengthen its role on the international stage.”

Meeting Amitabh Bachchan in Film City

“We’re here to meet Mr. Amitabh Bachchan,” I say to the security guard at the entrance of Film City in the northern part of Mumbai. “My name is Anouk and I’m from CoolBrands.”

The man silently scans the “Expected Visitor List’. “We have a meeting at eleven,” I add.

The man makes the typical Indian head movement, which looks like a cross between a nod and a shake and continues to study the list.

“Was that a yes or a no?” I ask myself.

Suddenly he seems to have found my name and a smile appears on his face.

“Welcome to Film City,” he says, “you are cleared to enter.”