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Founded in 1892 by the Netherland’s then Queen Regent Emma, the Order is open to those who have earned ‘special merits for society’.
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander presented Mr Boomsma with this highest decoration in appreciation and recognition of the effort he has made and the accomplishments he has achieved within the marine industry.
“I am incredibly proud to have received such a high decoration” commented Mr Boomsma. “And I am honoured to accept”.
After the ceremony, Paul was guest of honour at a surprise party organised by his wife, Inge, which was attended by ICOMIA Honorary Treasurer, Peter Methven – who himself was awarded the UK equivalent title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2009 – as well as friends and colleagues from the industry including IBI’s Nick Hopkinson, Irene Dros of METSTRADE, Ids Boersma, Theo Lingmont and several representatives of ICOMIA member, HISWA Holland Marine Industry, the non-profit Dutch Boating Industry Association, with which Paul is also affiliated.
Mr Boomsma served as ICOMIA Honorary Treasurer for 41 years up until his retirement in June 2016. To mark his many years of service, the ICOMIA Executive Committee presented Mr Boomsma with a certificate outlining his Honorary Membership of ICOMIA during the associations 50th Anniversary Congress held in Italy; he is only one of five individuals to have been awarded this commendation in the past 50-years.
“On behalf of ICOMIA, I would like to congratulate Paul on this epic achievement” said Jouko Huju, ICOMIA President. “Words cannot express how important his years of service in the marine industry have been – We are extremely proud of our Member and friend”.
Paul Boomsma was born in 1943 in The Netherlands. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the Higher Technical School of Amsterdam, followed by Economics at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He joined his father’s business, Gebo-Boomsma B.V., which produced ship windows, portholes and deck hatches, becoming CEO/Director in 1970 and remaining so until he sold the company in 2004.
In 1975, Mr Warrington Smyth, President of ICOMIA – the International Council of Marine Industry Associations – asked Paul to join as Honorary Treasurer – a role made official at the 1976 ICOMIA AGM in Toronto. Under the auspices of ICOMIA, Paul was involved in the formation of the European Marine Trade Exhibition and Conference – or EMTEC – as well as the METSTRADE show; signing the first landmark ICOMIA-METS sponsorship contract in 1991.
Paul has also served as an important ambassador for the Dutch marine industry association since the 1970s. His efforts have made a major contribution to the professionalisation of the watersports industry on a national and international level. From 1975 to 1985, Paul was at the heart of the establishment of the HISWA Holland Marine Industry as a trade association, again acting as Honorary Treasurer. Paul was awarded an Honorary Membership of HISWA in December 2015 during the association’s general member meeting.
Over the years Paul has been both a keen sailor and motor-boater; however it’s golf and woodworking taking up most of his spare time nowadays. Currently still active as the director of HMM Exhibitions BV and responsible for the operation of the HISWA Amsterdam In-Water Boat Show, Paul shows no sign of losing touch with the industry he loves – but he also very much enjoys spending more time with his family, his golf clubs and in his workshop.