Geert Swaanenburg, Managing Director, Heineken Hungary

  • 10 Jan 2019 12:11 PM
Geert Swaanenburg, Managing Director, Heineken Hungary
Born in the Utrecht, growing up in The Hague and studying in Rotterdam, Geert started to work for Heineken in the Netherlands in 1997.

Since then he worked in 4 different countries in different commercial roles. From junior brand manager to Regional Sales Director for Europe. Recently he was appointed Managing Director for Heineken Hungary.

Together with Nicole they have 3 daughters and a dog called Charley. In his free time he likes to run, play music and to pick up a screw driver and a wrench to fix anything in the house that he finds broken.


1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
My first encounter with Hungary was 30 years ago, I was 17 years old and went on my first international trip, living with a Hungarian family in their house for a couple of weeks in Kecskemét. It was there where my love for the country originated, especially I remember the extraordinary training of horses and the beauty of the country side. More recent I arrived in November as the new Managing Director for Heineken.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Yes, this is our 3rd assignment. Together with my wife and 3 daughters we also lived in Romania and in the Bahamas.

3.  What surprised you most about Hungary?
That so many inventions come from Hungary. Did you know that the ballpoint pen, vitamin C, the carburetor engine and the color TV are all Hungarian inventions? Just to name a few...

4.  Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
So many great things to do but I would certainly take them out for a wonderful diner with a view on the Danube, a night out at the beautiful opera house, followed by a drink in a ruin bar. Next day relaxing in one of thermal baths, and a hike in the country side.

5. What is your favorite Hungarian food?
I am a big fan of soups and having a home cooked Goulash is one of my favorites.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Heineken 0.0 and cheese. The Heineken because it is the first alcohol-free beer that actually tastes like the real refreshing Heineken lager. I drink it especially after hard work, eg in the garden or around the house. The cheese… well I am from Holland.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

8. What do you miss the most from home?
My friends and family so we try to find enough time to regularly visit them and at the same time they also like to visit us, and since we now live in Budapest we have already quite some bookings in the diary.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
One of my hobbies is to make music, I am not at all good at it but I enjoy it a lot. So playing in a rock band would be my ideal next career step!

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
A child care professional… with 3 girls I have had my fair share, can’t imagine to do this for a job

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
In the Bahamas, summer 2018. We lived there for more than 3 years some 10 years ago and we promised our children to go back and walk the memory lane. We did so last summer, price-less.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
We haven’t made up our mind yet, although in the past when we moved with the family we always enjoyed a first holiday in the country we arrived in and I hear already wonderful stories about beautiful holiday options in Hungary.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Queen, among the greatest bands in history, and again hot and happening with the just released movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Never could I have imagined that anno 2019 I would be singing that song out loud with my daughters listening to it on the radio, sending shivers down my spine.

14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
Picking up a microphone when entering a karaoke bar.

15. Red wine or white?
A Heineken beer ;)  Knowing that Hungary has some of the most wonderful wines, I am afraid I am going to try them both, red and white!

16. Book or movie?
Movie. I am also a big fan of Netflix. To relax a bit, every so many times I try to watch a few episodes of some of my favorite series.

17. Morning person or night person?
Night, also very helpful in my line of duty.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
To be good for planet and people, and to preserve our environment for our children.

19. Buda side or Pest side?
Pest, I love the energy, combined with awesome architecture and so many things to do!

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Have fun, be good and keep it going!

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