Astrid van der Knaap

Astrid van der Knaap

Astrid van der Knaap

Media Manager for the Jewels

It is a blessing to join the Jewels of Antarctica team as media producer/manager. The journey is of course a fantastic opportunity, but also the connection with the awareness campaign is dear to my heart. Only this year I have done my first mammogram. A good friend being diagnosed was the trigger for me to take preventive action.

How I stranded in Dubai

Having travelled the world as a professional athlete the settled live in Holland made me restless. Ten years after my sport retirement another big life changing moment passed by in 2004: asked to stay in the Middle East while freelancing on the Big Brother reality show in Bahrain. Giving Dubai a try for a year I got hooked to the expat life and not intending to leave the Emirates for years to come.

From Het Westland

Although officially born in The Hague, The Netherlands, I always felt the need to explain that I was not living in the city but on the only part of ‘Het Westland’ located in The Hague. Therefore I was a country girl and not a city person. Living on a property with green houses (called a ‘tuinderij’ in Dutch) is a child’s paradise. It let me be the an active, curious and adventurous teen. I think that never went away. Another character feature that still is with me is the ‘Westland farmers’ attitude to work and getting things done. If you cannot reach your goal one way, you will search for another solution that will bring you to what you wanted to achieve.

Road to the Dutch Olympic Team

My sport defined my choice after high school. By then I was member of the National Badminton Team and trained 5 days a week. I decided to study at the HEAO conveniently located in The Hague. This enabled me to travel to tournaments one third of the year and still finish a bachelor’s degree (Business Economics and Information Technology) in the normal 4 years. In this period I learned to study everywhere; in the car, plane, hotel, dressing room, restaurant, stadium, etc.

After having earned my certificate that would land me almost certainly a job I thought I could take the risk to try it as a professional badminton player for a few years. Badminton was going to be Olympic for the first time in four years time and I had to go for that dream. The result was 7 years professional, ranking of number 8 in the world and being part of the Dutch team on the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.

Media Producer

During my sporting career I was already fascinated by TV crews. Most athletes would ask a producer when their item was going to be shown, I would ask the camera team how they were making it.

I took the offered opportunities to have a look into the media world from the other side and; wrote for the Badminton Magazine about my travels in Asia, reported for Radio West from within the Olympic Village, was live badminton commentator for Radio West & Eurosport, and sport producer for Brabants Bont & NOS. From the moment I started to learn the video editing profession I knew my place was not in front of the microphone but behind the cameras.

A lot of interesting projects passed by until a life changing moment in 2004: while being part of the Dutch team to setup Big Brother in Bahrain I was asked to come to work for MBC Television in Dubai. I said yes and did not leave the Middle East anymore.