Joris van Genuchten’s Story

“I am happy I stayed with Bata. I enjoyed the ten years outside the country in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bolivia and I enjoyed the time I lived here in at the Bata town in the Netherlands. Now my son Hans, one of my four children who grew up in this Bata town, is also working for Bata here in Best.”

Joris van Genuchten, ex-Bata employee as Financial Director


By the late 1950s Bata was already an international success and as a financial expert, Joris’ skills were called on in many locations. “We started in South Africa, where, my girlfriend who came with me, became my wife. She could only stay for three months without getting married, so on the last day, we took the plunge. Before we left South Africa we had already had two children and then Bata asked me to manage the accountancy department in Zimbabwe, so we moved there.”

Joris and his wife lived in the Bata Town in Gweru, Zimbabwe, and had two more children there before moving to Bolivia where Joris was offered the role of Financial Director. “Bata in Bolivia was very important to the country and you had to be careful not to make mistakes. At the time, there was a lot of corruption but Mr Bata felt very strongly that we always had to pay what we were expected to pay and that we would not participate in any other practices. He said this was an important example of how business should be done.”



In 1968, Joris and his family moved back to the Netherlands and were given a house in the Bata town. A house that he still lives in today, although he bought it from Bata in the 1970s. “We lived here very happily,” Joris reminisces.



Now in his 80s, Joris has long retired from his Financial Director role within Bata, although he is pleased to still have strong ties to the company that go beyond living in the old Bata town. “My son Hans is now working for Bata and living here in Best. It’s good to have a son working for the same company where I worked for so long.”

“The children had a beautiful childhood, and there was such a community spirit. We had a social club, tennis club, hockey club, football club and an entertainment club, all organized and subsidized by Bata. We even had a carnival one year.”

Joris describes how the style of the houses in the Bata town originally came from Sweden, but that the flat roof design was no accident: “They say these houses were designed to be like shoe boxes.”




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