On Sunday evening, April 30, 2023, we received the sad news that Jan Schouten, founder and founder of Schouten & Nelissen, has passed away at the age of 82.
Jan Schouten was an entrepreneur in psychology. Shaking things up was his trademark, at home, in the workplace and in society. In 1974, Jan obtained his PhD with a thesis entitled 'Freedom in work'. Jan wanted to help people emancipate themselves. That never went away. Jan's dissertation was the prelude to a successful company, now Schouten & Nelissen.
Jan Schouten made his breakthrough to the general public in 1979 when he gave lessons on assertiveness for the AVRO TV. Friend and enemy alike thought something of that. Volkskrant journalist Jan Blokker called Jan a 'psychologist who fiddles with human behavior'. Scientists were also very reluctant.
But Jan Schouten persevered. One of his rules of life is: 'If it is not allowed, then we do it right!' Together with kindred spirit Boris Nelissen, Jan founded Schouten & Nelissen Recovery, a company that trained people in 'saying no', also to 'the boss'. Recovery here means recovery and development; promoting the emergence of something new in people, or something that has long been forgotten. The person behind the civil servant or employee was revived.
In 1995, Jan Schouten surprised the football world by becoming chairman of the then moribund FC Den Bosch. The 'doctor in psychology' moved with equal ease between hard core supporters, KNVB bigwigs and 'imitation people in nice suits'. Jan has been very proud of that quality, being able to understand himself with Jan and everyone, all his life. In the meantime, he helped the club to the Premier League.
"I want to experience the fear of sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper," Jan Schouten said to a journalist in 2003 when he asked him about Jan's writing. Jan had retired from his business and started writing novels. Jan incorporated his own life into it, but he also stood up for the 'forgotten groups' or maligned people, for example because they had once been 'wrong'. Jan Schouten never convicted.
Entrepreneur Jan Schouten was 75 years old when he founded New Heroes, an online training platform, in 2015. New Heroes was the perfection of his ideal: making soft skills available to everyone, anywhere in the world.
Jan Schouten gave flavor and color to the lives of all who knew him or reaped the fruit of his versatile work as an entrepreneur in psychology, founder, pioneer, shaker, offshore sailor, football chairman, organizational developer, father, husband and author. He was a non-conformist in everything and a warm person.