Before we talk about the richest person in the Netherlands, lets have an overview of the country. The Dutch economy quickly resumed its pre-pandemic development path, but rapidly rising inflation began to weigh on growth, exacerbating existing issues such as the urgency of the net zero transition, age-related fiscal pressures, and widespread labour shortages.
Significant investments in low-carbon infrastructure and technology are required to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and susceptibility to global energy price swings. But who could have thought that a beer brand could contribute a considerable amount to the country’s economy and make the owner the richest person in the Netherlands? The brand is Heineken, and the richest person in the Netherlands is Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, one of the richest women in the world.
So, the richest person in the Netherlands, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is a Dutch entrepreneur who owns a 25% stake in Heineken. She inherited the company from her late father, Freddy Heineken, whose grandfather had initially started the company. Then, the second largest brewer in the world kept on passing to the next generations after that. Charlene has been the CEO of Heineken since 2020.
Charlene is a well-educated lady who graduated from Leiden University. She has a legal degree as well as experience in business management. She is a hard worker, determined, and disciplined individual, which has elevated her to the ranks of the world’s best businesswomen.
The 25% stake in Heineken has made Charlene the richest person in the Netherlands and one of the richest women in the world, with a net worth of $13.3B as of September, 2023.
Family and personal life of the richest person in the Netherlands
Charlene Heineken was born on June 30, 1954, the daughter of Dutch industrialist Freddy Heineken and Lucille Cummins, an American from a Kentucky dynasty of bourbon whisky distillers.
Charlene was plunged into the deep end, as it were, the day Charlene de Carvalho buried her father when one life ended and another began. In January 2002, it was a dismal day in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, when the London housewife and mother of five said her goodbyes to Freddy Heineken.
Charlene despised pomp as much as her father, a creative entrepreneur who had grown a small Dutch brewery into the world’s second-largest brewer. So this was a quiet service at an ordinary cemetery, with only Freddy’s secretary and immediate family present: Freddy’s wife, Lucille; his son-in-law, Michel; and 47-year-old Charlene.
Charlene is married to Michel de Carvalho, the director and financier of Citigroup. The two of them first met while on vacation in Switzerland. He was a former actor serving on the Heineken NV supervisory board. The couple has five children and resides in London. She spends her time in both Switzerland and London.
They have five children, who have been brought up in privacy and away from the limelight. The world presently is aware of the three eldest children, the sons- Charles and Alexander de Carvalho and daughter Louisa Brassey. Her husband and three children all have a position on the board of Heineken.
Some interesting facts about Charlene are that, except for being the boss lady and a mother, she loves photography, architecture, music and skiing.
Life of Charlene as a businesswoman
Charlene Heineken, a 4th generation member of the board of Heineken, one of the world’s largest brewers, is an inspiring example of a 4th generation family member who inherited control of her family firm with no prior expertise.
Charlene had money when her father died, except for a single share of Heineken stock worth $32, which her father had handed her. She was now the heir to the Heineken fortune, inheriting approximately 100 million shares, equal to one-quarter of the company’s total outstanding stock.
This 25% share came with voting control, which meant that her single vote on any board topic trumped the ballots of other investors. Charlene hadn’t given much thought to her new duties until that dreary morning at the cemetery. Her spouse placed her on the spot as she walked away from her father’s grave and told her, “Charlene, you have to decide within ten days if you want to inherit the role that your father played.”
Charlene and her husband, Michel de Carvalho, oversee the corporate image, acquisitions, and appointing board members and top executives. In 2002, Heineken chartered a new course. An aggressive acquisition approach replaced the risk-averse growth plan. This was important to compete with the titans of the beer brewing industry through substantial acquisitions without jeopardising Heineken’s independence.
Charlene’s life in London
The Heineken Heiress lives with her husband and kids in the Knightsbridge area of London. It’s a highly prestigious London neighbourhood; the Knightsbridge Underground station is situated close to the UK’s most expensive piece of private real estate: Heineken heiress Charlene De Carvalho’s residence.
As already mentioned, they like to lead a very private life. Hence, any more information about their residency is not available. Also, the sites with information about her residence have removed all their content. Things may have been set up that way to maintain their privacy.
This was all about the richest person in the Netherlands. It has been quite a revolutionary journey for Charlene Heineken, but how she has taken control of her father’s empire is commendable. Also, Charlene is on the list of billionaires worldwide within the first 150.