Medtronic 50 years in the Netherlands

50 years of Dutch contributions to the Medtronic Mission: alleviate pain,
restore health and extend life.
Watch the video

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Medtronic’s very first European production facility in Kerkrade. We have several festivities planned for our anniversary year.

We are looking back from the moment at which the pacemaker plant with 50 employees was opened on 6 June, 1969, until 2019
– 50 years later – with Medtronic Netherlands having become one of the largest employers in the South of the Netherlands in the meantime, with around 3000 employees working in five facilities.

50th anniversary celebration and revealing statue of Earl Bakken

50 years of history captured MEDTRONIC NETHERLANDS

Take a look at how Medtronic in the Netherlands developed from the humble beginnings to the impressive company it is today, with employees who have already been guided by our mission for 50 years.

View the 1969 - 2019 timeline

Message from Rob ten Hoedt

Executive Vice President & President, Medtronic Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

The story of Medtronic is one of men and women
who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping
real people overcome pain and disability to lead more normal, happy lives.

- Earl E. Bakken, co-founder of Medtronic, who passed away last year.
Play Video Er wordt nu een video gestart - Patient Event 2019

Our commitment for over 50 years:
Improving patients' lives with our therapies.

Play Video Er wordt nu een video gestart - Listen to Earl Bakken

Listen to Earl Bakken and the story about his life's work.

Play Video Er wordt nu een video gestart - story of Tinie Haagsma

Listen to Tinie Haagsma's story,
the first Medtronic employee in the Netherlands.


50 years of Medtronic in the Netherlands in retrospect

A selection of anecdotes and memories of (former) Medtronic Netherlands employees below.

First Medtronic building in Kerkrade - 1969

First Medtronic building in Kerkrade - 1969

Pearl Yamaguchi and Earl Bakken

Open House after the opening of the Kerkrade building in 1969

First ICD implant: the entire team had been working on it flat out, and when the actual moment arrives and the patient is doing well, then you feel so proud and happy: that feeling is beyond any imagination.

- Marie-Jeanne Kramer, Executive Assistant to Leo Kretzers at the Bakken Research Center

I still consider the time when I was involved in production activities (pacemakers, heartwires and hybrids) my most beautiful period. There was a sense of unity in the team. We laughed an awful lot, but we also cried sometimes. I made many friends in those days.

- Tiny Jacobs, administrative assistant/receptionist at Cardiac Surgery Operations in Kerkrade

If you wanted to reach someone within Medtronic, you had to go through the people operating the telephone switchboard; and if you had left your desk, an announcement would be heard through the whole building:
'Mrs. Anouk Jansen, please call extension 9'.

- Anja Damrow, Technical User Support Analyst (Accounts Admin) at IT in Heerlen

Did you know that ...

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on 2 June 1989, Earl Bakken was named Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Governor of the Province of Limburg Dr Kremers because of his great contributions to society in this region?

Proud of the things we developed and accomplished in a difficult region of this country. Medtronic's arrival boosted employment levels in the Province of Limburg, and many of us have had to chance to develop, which helped to improve career prospects.

- Auke Poutsma, former Sr. Manager RA/QA & EHS Benelux

Did you know that ...

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besides pacemakers, also cardiac and neuro leads, temporary heartwires, hybrids and balloon catheters were built in Kerkrade in the eighties and nineties?

I foster many great memories when thinking about my time at Medtronic, but the moment when Earl called me to congratulate me on my 40th working anniversary, is still the most special one.

- Appie Boekholt, former Packaging & Labeling Design Engineer at EOC

The first implant of the world's first dual chamber pacemaker, Model 7000 Versatrax. Invented and designed in Kerkrade together with teams from the US, this pacemaker turned out to be a great success.

- Miel Wehrens, former ICT manager at BRC

Designing pacemakers: a special feeling which often reminded me of a question asked by one of my mentors in the Province of Utrecht, Prof Meijler: 'Would you recommend this device to your mother if she was your patient?'

- Fred Lindemans, former General Manager of the Bakken Research Center

Did you know that ...

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European and Medtronic EOC operations were seriously impacted by the closing down of the European air space in 2010 because of an ash cloud resulting from an Icelandic volcano eruption? And that during this time, Medtronic delivered over 500 emergency shipments via couriers, and that the Boeing 747-200 chartered by Medtronic covered a distance of over 12,000 km and carried over 52 tons of cargo?

Mission in Motion

As part of the Mission in Motion program, every Medtronic employee has the opportunity to personally contribute to the community. As a company, we offer several initiatives for this.

Learn more about Mission in Motion


Test your knowledge of 50 years Medtronic in the Netherlands

Do you know all the answers to the questions below?

QUESTION 1: Which Minister for Economic Affairs turned the first sod for the Kerkrade extension on 13 Mai 1977, which would double the premises?

QUESTION 2: How many employees worked at the Medtronic Bakken Research Center when it moved to Maastricht in 1987?

QUESTION 3: Which model Pacer Cardioverter Defibrillator (precursor of the ICD) was developed by the BRC in 1990?

QUESTION 4: Who kicked off the Kerkrade distribution center extension in December 1995?

QUESTION 5: How many people worked at the CardioVascular Operations facility when General Manager Gerrit Harder left in October 2009?

QUESTION 6: In which year did the Dutch Diabetes junior team win the Medtronic Junior Cup Diabetes which was organized by the Diabetes sales team?

QUESTION 7: Which busses (numbers) take you from the Eindhoven central station to the Eindhoven sales office at the Cederlaan?

QUESTION 8: When was the European Experience Center Kerkrade (EECK) set up at Cardiac Surgery Operations in Kerkrade?

QUESTION 9: How many therapy groups did Covidien have at the time of the merger with Medtronic in February 2015?

QUESTION 10 : How many employees exactly work at the Service & Repair Center Of Excellence on 1 Mai 2019?


Send your answers to  rs.communicationsnl@medtronic.com before 30 June.

Compete for a nice prize! Submit your answers.

We will announce the winner in one of the View-NL editions later this year.