The International Butler Academy has carefully chosen its trainers for their field experience and teaching ability. All trainers have been in private service for years and/or held positions in esteemed households or corporations. This combination of comprehensive knowledge and considerable experience, coupled with deep pride in and affection for a singular and respected profession, ensures that all students will benefit from such devotion to duty. We are the only school with a comprehensively written syllabus that provides a framework and standard for all of our instructors to follow.
(Professor) Robert Wennekes (1958) grew up in a hard-working hospitality family. Destined to follow in his father's footsteps, Mr. Wennekes found the hospitality industry not satisfying. In his early twenties, he started working as a butler, personal assistant, and executive manager for an American billionaire. He stayed with this employer for six years. He then moved back to Austria, becoming head butler for one of Austria's most prominent families. Later, Mr. Wennekes became head butler at the American Embassy in Germany. He received an official framed certificate from the US White House for "Outstanding Service." profile
Mr. Shimko is what in the private service world would be considered a Gentleman’s Gentleman, primarily because of his impeccable manners and an incredible eye for detail. After many years as a Country Club manager in the USA, it was his passion for impeccable service that led Mr. Shimko to attend the training program at The International Butler Academy in 2019. Graduating with honors, Mr. Shimko returned to The International Butler Academy as Executive Head Butler. Mr. Shimko has tremendous stage experience as a performer and vocalist. He uses this remarkable experience to aid students in developing their performance as a butler.
Ms. Kersemaekers is our Executive Head Chef, and as such, she is responsible for all the food we consume at The International Butler Academy. And, you better believe it, this food is excellent. At the same time, Ms. Kersemaekers is also our culinary trainer. She loves to share her experience and passion for the culinary industry and imparts basic but important knowledge of modern food preferences. These preferences can be based on medical or religious requirements and other dietary food trends. Ms. Kersemaekers provides active masterclasses in the Butler Academy's professional kitchen, plus certain theory lessons in the classroom as well.
Ms. Imambaks is highly experienced when it comes to Private Service. She has been placing private household staff at the highest level for more than ten years. Besides her great responsibilities at The International Butler Academy as Recruitment Director, Ms. Imambaks is a trainer at The International Butler Academy and as such she teaches cleaning techniques, using (eco-) cleaning products, cleaning tools, cleaning schedules, and safe and healthy work methods. She also places graduates worldwide in internships.
Mr. Munro is a trained private butler, and a 15-year experienced golf club manager. His real passion, however, is the theater, and it is this passion that links him to our Academy. As a trainer, Mr. Munro is specialized in training body language and expression, butler etiquette and protocol, rhythm, speech, and service situations. Through drama classes and body language training, he brings the students a wealth of knowledge about posture, decorum, style, and grace, all pillars of the private service profession.
Melchior van der Meulen is a highly experienced butler, gentleman's gentleman, and valet with more than 25 years of experience in the private service profession. He knows his business like no other. At The International Butler Academy, Mr. Van der Meulen is responsible for teaching butling plus valeting in its many varied facets. Mr. van der Meulen uses real-life settings in his hands-on training, something the students value tremendously. Mr. van der Meulen is one of The Academy's most valued trainers, and he has been with us almost from the start.
Ms. Zhao is originally from China, where she has been working for The International Butler Academy in the beautiful city of Chengdu (Sichuan Province) since 2016. In China, her responsibilities included training operation manager and chief translator. Zoey Zhao moved to TIBA The Netherlands in early 2021 to become Finance Director. Because of her love for training (and for our students), she has become an important part of the training staff. She enjoys teaching our students about Chinese culture and customs, focusing on Chinese tea service.
Mr. Eman is responsible for a creative and proven training system within private properties, hotels, cruise ships, and private yachts. He is passionate about role-play training and group assignments as training and education tools to inspire people to be aware of the changes and transformations within the service industry. Mr. Eman studied Hotel Management in Germany and The Netherlands and graduated with Distinction from The International Butler Academy. He has sailed worldwide with various River Cruise Yachts and ocean Cruise vessels.
After a long career in international banking, Mr. Huizinga followed his dream by becoming a professional butler. After many years of being responsible for Recruitment at The International Butler Academy, for which we are extremely grateful, Mr. Huizinga has chosen to take things easier starting in the year 2023, and he will, therefore, no longer be involved with Recruitment. However, he remains connected to our Academy as a trainer of House Management, something that he is specialized in. Mr. Huizinga is semi-retired but young at heart. Because of his passion for the service industry and our Academy, he chooses to remain actively involved with our school.
Mr. Steijvers studied hobo and chamber music at the conservatorium in Maastricht. He graduated in 1977 and became solo Hobo player at the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, as well as the lead trainer for Hobo at the Conservatorium Maastricht. After a teaching career of over 30 years, he became Chair of the Jury Final Exams Bachelor and Master of Music, Chair of the Exam committee Bachelor and Master of Music, and Head of the Chamber Music Department. Mr. Steijvers spends a day with our students to enlighten them on the importance of Art & Culture in our daily lives, with theory in the morning and a cultural fun-filled afternoon in Maastricht.
Mr. van der Meij is a Prestige & Scotch Brand Ambassador at Diageo Benelux, the biggest spirits producer in the world and owners of brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Gordon's, Baileys, and Tanqueray. In 2013 the Scotch whisky industry awarded him with the title " Keeper of the Quaich" which is a prestigious title for those who outstanding contributed to the promotion of Scotch whisky. Mr. van der Meij has spent over 35 years working in the spirits business as a whisky connoisseur and collector.
Mr. Pieters speaks about cheese tasting like a sommelier speaks of wine tasting. He says it is very similar. Mr. Pieters explains that when you taste cheese, you use your eyes, nose, and mouth. He has great knowledge about cheese (and wine!), but it is his fun personality and down-to-earth philosophy that our students appreciate most of all. They simply adore him. They spend one full evening with him. Mr. Pieters' cheese tasting is all about experimenting and learning. And learning about cheese and wine, you will. He has been a TIBA trainer for more than 15 years.
For over 13 years Ms. Rousseau has specialized in high-end fabrics, interior design, and styling. She works with the most beautiful materials and combines them into stunning designs for private customers and luxury hotels at her Maastricht studio. Ms. Rousseau calls herself an Atmosphere Creator because that's exactly what a house needs, a good atmosphere. She is very passionate about her work and is always thrilled to share that passion with our students.
Mr. Edwin Raben is a passionate wine enthusiast and owner of Edwines.com. He has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, where he originally started as a cook. Mr. Raben worked as a sommelier at top restaurants such as Lauswolt, La Rive (Amstel Hotel), and Landgoed Wolfslaar (where he was co-owner). He was awarded 4 times as the best sommelier in the Netherlands, and in 1997 he was 3rd in the world championships for sommeliers in Paris. As a former chairman of the Dutch Guild of Sommeliers and a member of the ASI Exam Committee, he knows the international sommelier world like no other.
Ms. Visser has been a Professional Organizer for over 10 years and is registered as a teacher with the CRKBO. While teaching her organization lessons at The International Butler Academy, Ms. Visker’s mission is to help free our students from physical and mental clutter and for them to subsequently use these very important and necessary tips, processes, and tools in their professional careers. Butler Academy students are extremely appreciative of the valuable lessons provided by Ms. Visser.
Mirjam & Myriam are two enthusiastic personal trainers who have many years of experience in teaching sports, group lessons, boot camps, and organizing sporting events. Since 2012, Myriam and Mirjam have been responsible for fitness training at The International Butler Academy. In these workouts, the students renew their energy levels, so they stay fit and focused during the whole course. This class is also meant to serve as "time off" from being a Butler and ends with a relaxation and meditation session, where students wake up with a new level of vibrancy!