Stu Sjouwerman, Founder and CEO of KnowBe4, Presented with Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award

Washington, D.C., April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the U.S. Congressional Caucus on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Netherland-America Foundation presented Stu Sjouwerman, the Dutch-born founder and CEO of American cybersecurity company KnowBe4, with the 2024 Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award.

The Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award honors an entrepreneur or organization that has made a substantial and positive impact on the economic ties between the Netherlands and the United States. Freddy Heineken came to the US in the 1940s to expand Heineken’s market. With his Dutch business acumen and American marketing know-how, Heineken built the foundation for the global brand.

Stu Sjouwerman embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Freddy Heineken. Since founding KnowBe4 in Florida in 2010, Sjouwerman has led the company to become a global leader in the cybersecurity education field. As data leaks and cyber hacks are a constant threat in daily life, KnowBe4’s work aligns with the importance of strengthening cybersecurity for the Netherlands and the United States.

The company’s mission is more important than ever. In 2023, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported it received 880,418 complaints from the American public with potential losses exceeding $12.5 billion. This figure represents a nearly 10% increase in complaints compared to 2022. And KnowBe4 reported that cyberattacks on government bodies and public services increased 40% over the first quarter of last year.

As the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, KnowBe4’s products are used by more than 65,000 organizations around the world to help protect themselves from cyberattacks.

As she presented the Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award to Mr. Sjouwerman, Dutch Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar said, “KnowBe4 and Stu Sjouwerman are industry leaders who combine entrepreneurial drive with a transatlantic focus. The company is noted for its innovative and wholistic approach to IT security, focusing not only on technology, but also the human side of it.”

KnowBe4 and Sjouwerman have set the standard for equipping organizations with the knowledge and tools to fight digital threats. Upon receiving the award Sjouwerman said, "I am incredibly honored and privileged to be recognized with the prestigious Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award. I am originally from the Netherlands but made my way to the U.S. to pursue my dreams as a high-tech entrepreneur in 1994. KnowBe4 is my fifth startup, and the second cybersecurity one I built from the ground up here in the U.S. With the rapidly increasing global cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructure, government agencies, businesses and nonprofits large and small, we believe the mission we have is of the utmost importance. However, we have a lot more work to do to help organizations globally increase their workforce knowledge and awareness to create a strong security culture and mitigate human cyber risk.”

The Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award ceremony was presented at the residence of Ambassador Tazelaar as part of Dutch Tulip Days, an annual event where the embassy brings together representatives from government, business, and the defense sectors to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the Netherlands and the United States. The main themes this year are sustainability, freedom, and innovation. 

Several members of Congress, including members of the Congressional Caucus on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, attended the ceremony. Representative Hillary Scholten (D, MI-3) and newest member of the Dutch Caucus discussed the importance of strengthening cyber security protections and stated, “As the world barrels forwards into the 21st century we know that these threats are only going to get more sophisticated. I’m so thrilled that our two nations work so closely together to safeguard people from those who would do them harm online.”

The Netherlands is the digital gateway to Europe. The nation consistently ranks first in the annual DHL Global Connectedness Index. To share knowledge on the latest developments in the field, Dutch Tulip Days featured a panel discussion with Stu Sjouwerman and other cybersecurity experts, government officials and think tanks earlier in the day.

The evening ceremony represented the 11th time the Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award was presented. Past recipients include: Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, of citizenM in 2023, Richard DeLuca Jr., of Merck in 2022, Peter Oosterveer, of Arcadis in 2021, Michelle Browdy of IBM in 2020, Alexander R. Wynaendts of Aegon in 2019, David Hyman of Netflix in 2018, Dick Boer of Ahold Delhaize in 2017, Victoria B. Mars of Mars Inc. in 2016, Paul Polman of Unilever in 2015, and Werner Vogels of in 2014.



Presentation of the 2024 Holland on the Hill Freddy Heineken Award