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Interview Pierre Haenen

career

Pierre Haenen (1990) studied commercial management at Zuyd Hogeschool. During his studies, he took on a part time role at Château St. Gerlach in 2015. After several promotions, in September 2019 he became general manager at Château Neercanne. Pierre lives with his fiancée Myrthe in Maastricht.

Contact information

Von Dopfflaan 10
6213 NG Maastricht
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)43 325 1359
E-mail: info@neercanne.nl

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“Our colleagues are our most valuable asset”

Born and raised in Sittard, Pierre Haenen loves to invent and implement hospitality concepts, and as general manager at Château Neercanne, he experiences plenty of opportunities to do just that. Whether at work or at home, he likes to dress in classic suits with a modern cut, something, he feels, reflects his view on the terraced castle just outside Maastricht: “Here, we cast old favourites in a fresh outfit. We respect classic etiquette, but give it a modern twist.”

Growing up within Oostwegel Collection

“Professionally speaking, I’ve grown up within Oostwegel Collection. I started with a part-time job in service at Château St. Gerlach during my studies. From there, I was able to develop my skills, first in the reservations department, then as guest relations coordinator and finally as manager of Bistrot de Liège. In 2019, I made the transfer to Château Neercanne, where I took on the position of general manager and host. With that move, I became the person responsible for no less than two restaurants and a meetings and celebrations operation. I’ve always aspired to grow within a family business and Oostwegel Collection offers me that opportunity.”

Ambition

“When I first started working in hospitality, people often told me: ‘You are not going to achieve anything.’ This only motivated me to prove them wrong and I think, my high ambitions match those of Château Neercanne. In 1957, we were one of the first restaurants in The Netherlands to be awarded a Michelin star. Ultimately, we’re aiming to achieve at least that same level of gastronomic recognition as soon as possible, alongside a green star for l’Auberge de Neercanne. To reach this goal, we’re making every effort to deliver a top performance.

“I’ve always aspired to grow within a family business and Oostwegel Collection offers me that opportunity.”


Unforgettable journey

“A visit to Château Neercanne is an experience filled with unique moments. At weddings, the guests start by attending the ceremony in our castle garden, followed by an aperitif on the château terrace. Dinner takes place in the restaurant, after which the guests go via the wine cellar to the grotto nightclub for the party. On their first-year anniversary, we send each married couple an invitation to visit us again and reminisce about their big day.”

Love for local

“The Jeker valley, our kitchen garden and vineyard each enhance the venue’s gorgeous setting. We love to introduce our guests to these surroundings. In our restaurants, we serve products grown in our own vegetable garden and recommend local Limburg wines, that can be enjoyed among the vines. We also love to team up with likeminded locals. Together with Maastricht craft beer brewery Zuyd Craft, we produced our own D’Artagnan Bière du Brut, which currently lies aging in our ancient limestone caves.”

New knowledge, new memories

“Our employees have a lot of knowledge, that they love to share – from the origins of our wines to the history of the château. Enriching our guests is of great importance to me. If they only remember one little detail after their stay, they have gained a new memory. I like to think of the acquisition of knowledge as an addition to life, as is a new experience.”

“Château Neercanne has a family feeling. We have an amicable team that chooses to work for us.”


Proud
“Our house is proud of its employees, and they are proud of our house. Working in hospitality is a vocation, where you receive a lot in return. Château Neercanne has a family feeling. We have an amicable team that chooses to work for us. As part of our onboarding process, new colleagues dine at Château Neercanne prior to their first day of work.”

Passion and pleasure
“Our employees have a lot of passion. To keep that fire burning, I challenge people by giving them their own responsibilities. There is a lot of room for them to grow. For instance, our maître Robert started as an apprentice seven years ago. Our colleagues are our most valuable asset, that’s why we invest in them. I want people to take pleasure in their job, because, ultimately, that is what our guests experience.”

“Guests will remember the welcome, the flavours and the service. That is where we make a difference.”

Making a difference

“Our guests’ expectations are high. By always going that extra mile, we offer them an experience they’ll remember forever. Holding the taxi door open upon arrival, escorting guests inside with an umbrella when it’s raining: we provide them with what they desire, before they even realise it’s what they want. In the end, what people will remember about their stay or dining experience, is the welcome, the flavours and the service. That is where we make a difference.”

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