About myself

An interesting life to make interesting work. I’m a Dutchman in Shanghai, working at Pimax. Earlier, I worked at GoEast Mandarin, Seventy Agency, KesselsKramer, and Vandebron. I have a background in blogging, social media, and design, and I think this all springs from the same source: the desire to create.

Freelance writing

Freelance copywriter in Shanghai

As a freelance copywriter, I’ve written well over a hundred articles for media such as China Daily, Dao Insights, Fonk Magazine, Adformatie, Marketingfacts, BadgerGP, Virtual Racing School, SalRacing, Freunde von Freunde, OneWorld, 萍鄉(PXN), and more. I’ve also translated Derek Sivers’ book ‘Your Music and People’ into Dutch. I’ve also been featured or quoted on the NY Times, Sky News, Fox News, NOS, Reuters, MSN, Hacker News, RT, and RTL Nieuws.

On this website, I’ve written over 500 articles and nearly 100 book reviews. I also post snippets of daily Chinese life in Shanghai on my Instagram.

Factory visit ShanghaiI live in Shanghai since the summer of 2018, and I’ve also done several freelance writing assignments for media, both Chinese and international media, including interviews and factory visits (photo). These took place in Shanghai and the surroundings (Shanghai Songjiang, Nantong, or Suzhou Jiangsu). I can interview local people both in Mandarin (working proficiency).

Contact me for freelance writing assignments:

Email me at jaapgrolleman@gmail.com or add me on WeChat.


My brother, me, my mother, my sister. My dad took the picture.
My brother, me, my mother, my sister. My dad took the picture.

I grew up in a tiny village in the Netherlands, and I consider myself lucky to have had an upbringing that fostered curiosity, creativity, and not being lazy or spoiled (that applied to doing chores as well as achieving things I really wanted). As a child I loved drawing, LEGO, and being read to. Being a boy scout taught me to be resourceful.

When I was older, I played around with drawing software on an old Windows 95 computer, and as a teenager, I downloaded videos from YouTube to make compilations. Later, I made sketch comedy videos in World of Warcraft, modified in-game models and textures of Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and created my own 2D video games with Game Maker.

The twenty-something me took an internship at Marketing Mechanics in Australia, and JWT, Arnold Amsterdam and Usual Suspects in Amsterdam. I graduated in graphic design, and advertising, and developed a love for writing and creative advertising. I started blogging in many places, such as Looks Like Good Design, iGP Manager, BadgerGP, Coanda Simsport, Virtual Racing School, and the International Sim Racing Federation. I also got popular posts on Facebook, Quora, Reddit and Twitter.

In 2014 I got my first job, when I joined Vandebron before its launch and helped develop its identity and growth to 100.000+ customers, all within two and a half years. After that I joined KesselsKramer as a strategist in 2016, and moved to Shanghai in 2018.

After half a year in Shanghai, I started learning Mandarin up to an advanced level, which has added much more depth to China for me. You can read about those findings here.

Mentions, appearances & publications

荷兰小哥一头潜入上海大世界要当新一代的马可波罗——荷兰人在中国系列 – 一网荷兰
Jaap Grolleman uit Hattem is een moderne Marco Polo in Shanghai: ‘Ik dacht dat ik nooit Chinees zou leren’ – De Stentor
Warum schweigen Menschenrechtler, Null-COVID-Fraktion und Politiker zu den Ereignissen in Shanghai? – RT
我与中文的相遇 | 游戏学中文:认真学习,认真玩! – 语合中心
From Hattem to Shanghai – The China Project
Satelites are not the solution to everything – Other Valleys Substack
Newsday – BBC World Service
China Turns to Well-Worn Playbook to Keep Protesters Off Streets – Wall Street Journal
Say 你好! (nǐ hǎo) to Your BRICS Partners and Friends – BRICS
上海失色 – Maple Woods
Twitter on the Lingering Effects of Lockdown – ThatsShanghai
I love the book “Developing Chinese” – LanguageLearnerGuide
For Its Next Zero Covid Chapter, China Turns to Mass Testing – NY Times
Frustraties bij inwoners Shanghai – RTL Nieuws
Shanghai neighborhoods return to lockdown a day after restrictions eased – CNN
May notes – Kaohongshu
Shanghai lockdown stories: Jaap – Memos to the future
Inside Shanghai’s brutal COVID lockdown – Daily Telegraph
‘Nobody’s allowed to leave’ – Sky News
Lockdown in Shanghai Shakes Rich People’s Faith in Communist China – China Insights
“Feels like our compound has been given up on” – MSN / Reuters
Corona-regels in Shanghai worden weer stranger – NOS Jeugdjournaal
Dutch expat describes life under Shanghai lockdown – Reuters
Nerves fray, frustration grows in Shanghai’s lockdown purgatory – Reuters
Shanghai’s brutal lockdown – Gnews
2週間もロックダウンが続く上海で暮らす人の生活記録 – Gigazine
If we want to know what the future looks like, you can look at China and shiver – Tucker Carlson, Fox News
An Account of the Shanghai Lockdown – Hacker News
Easy to Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 1 – Imagin8 Press
Third place Chinese speech contest – CIFAL/Unitar & IMCPI & Mario & BRE Overseas
Runner-up Chinese writing contest – MSL Master
Chinese consumers don’t really care about sustainability — does Alibaba? – Dao Insights
Teacher-led language training Vs. self-paced – BiCortex
Home Away from Home – MTS
Tips & Advice from Language Learning Experts – Porch
Learning Chinese makes Shanghai more like a home – SEA
SDI x BIPS | 产品与品牌联合工作坊 – 德稻集群
Writing exercise: Our story – BIPS
Links – Satellites are not the solution to everything
Westerse Merken in China: Hits en Missers – MarketingFacts
‘In China gaat alles weer terug naar het vroegere normaal’ – MarketingTribune img1 img2
De valse start van QR-codes in het Westen versus hun succes in China – MarketingFacts
现在向主席台走来的是BIPS教学团队 – SIVA
Happy Mother’s Day – HerCentury
Spring Mentoring Session – HerCentury
赋能实现1+1>2 – SIVA
A window to the world – Several artists
线上教学与老师们的故事 | BIPS -Jaap Grolleman – DeTao
润识现场 | 王香蕉个展:东方与西方的文化对撞 – 润识艺术
Kenners over marketing in China – China Marketing
Winner ‘My China Story’ (The difference between ‘woef’ and ‘wang’) – China Daily
Gaming als middel voor maatschappelijke doelstellingen – Esport Expets
Chinees leren met Fortnite – Marketingfacts
Chinees leren met Fortnite: klinkt gek, kan wel – JFK
Chinese taalschool geeft les in Chinees door het spelen van Fortnite – Tweakers
Taalschool geeft Chinese les in Fortnite – Bright & RTL-Z & RTL Nieuws
Against the motion: ‘University isn’t worth it – Winner 34th Big Debate Shanghai
Chased by dogs in historic Shanghai – Sherpa Shanghai
Inbound Marketing Forum Shanghai – Entrepnr
Understanding China from within – China Daily
China in digitale context – Marketingfacts & Hollandone
More nuance needed in Western news on China – China Daily
Ayrton & Massimo – Winner F1 Fan Voice blog competition
F1 Drivers: Maria Teresa de Filippis – SalRacing
F1 Drivers: Didier Pironi – SalRacing
用心品味中国巨变 – China Daily CN
2nd prize China Watchers competition – China Daily
The building is the medium is the message – Pop Up City
Kapot-marketing en lof voor de OV-fiets – Marketingfacts
De ultieme Do It Yourself voor Facebook Ads – MarketingFacts
Graphite Pencil – D&AD New Blood Award
Launch of the Year Award (with Vandebron) – Dutch Marketing Awards
Nominee — DJ100
Toekomstdenker OneWorld
Nomination CLIO Awards – Amnesty Unlock
3rd prize Dutch Young Creatives, Canal Company pitch
Nominated ADCN Young Talent award, ADCN
1st prize Boomerang Create, Elsevier pitch
1st prize Dutch Young Creatives, ThermaCare pitch
2nd prize Dutch Young Creatives, Radio 4 pitch
Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets? – Quora Weekly Digest
‘Ik wil geen gecensureerde chips’ – OneWorld
Meer waarde toevoegen door minder te doen – MarketingFacts
Het klimaat trekt zich niets aan van grenzen – OneWorld
Consument neemt de hoofdrol in de transitie naar duurzame energievoorzieningen – DuurzaamNieuws
Internet, I love you, but you need some goddamn perspective – Quora Weekly Digest
Amnesty Unlock – Adsoftheworld
What the Instagram backlash says about the future of media – Gigaom
Why I hate Instagram – Bits (by The New York Times)
Innovatie als vorm van protest – Duurzaamheidskompas
Nieuwe smaken tandpasta of media met betekenis? – OneWorld
Stad met 432.610 energieleveranciers – Stadsleven
‘Waarom ben je creatief?’ – ReclameRidders & Adformatie
Dutch energy start-up targets small producers – Politico
International Festival of Creativity (voorwaarden van toepassing) – Adformatie
What Really Matters — Change Our Thinking
Vandebron profiteert van gebrek aan ervaring in energiemarkt — Adformatie & PIM Online
Vandebron geeft marketing pas echt energie — Adformatie
Interview Vandebron — Ineziatief
Interview Vandebron — Hallo Roos
KesselsKramer lanceert campagne Vandebron — MediaNieuws
‘Vandebron wil geen geforceerde reclame maken, maar doen wat wij zelf goed vinden’ – Adformatie
Meesterklas #6: Werken bij Merken – ReclameRidders
Jaap Grolleman en Pieter van Wijk – Niks Genootschap
Discussieavond: Meer dan het bureau – ReclameRidders
Tegenlicht meet-up, Fossielvrij in Lelystad – Stadmakerij
Jaap Grolleman – Anya Asks People
Zo was het op de Dutch Marketing Awards 2016 – Adformatie
Het kan raar lopen – Fonk
Terug uit Cannes – Fonk
In Cannes – Fonk
Featured in edition 14, ‘Vector & Vexel’ – Sixtydegrees
50 under 50 (under 20’s feature – dwalker1047 deviantArt
We Took A Quick Peek At This Guy’s Bed-Office And We Absolutely Loved It – Collectively
‘Advice from Three Startups’ & ‘Emerging Energy Solutions’ sessions — Disruptive Innovation Festival


Text me at +182 177 46072, email me at jaapgrolleman@gmail.com), Skype me (jaapgrolleman), or follow me on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, Quora, Linkedin, Goodreads, Reddit, or WeChat.