John Huitema

My job is to make sure the tech folks and the business folks are speaking the same language, so we all work together smoothly

Who is NL-ix?

Behind the world of the Internet, behind the world of fibers, protocols, peers and terabytes, are actual people making it all work. But who are these people? In other words: Who is NL-ix?

Today: 🤝 John Huitema, Solution Architect

I'm John, 52 years old, living in a tiny spot called Rottum, not far from Heerenveen. When I'm not at my day job at NL-ix, I'm out there volunteering with the Red Cross's emergency response team. This gig involves jumping into action during big emergencies to help folks who might look okay on the outside but need urgent care. 


I've been doing this for nearly 15 years, starting with what we called the Sigma team, which was all about fast medical help. These days, the work's a bit different but still about making sure people get the help they need, especially after events like plane crashes where some injuries aren't immediately obvious.

I got into volunteering because I was already pretty active with a local first aid group, helping out at events where people might have had a bit too much to drink or taken something they shouldn't have. One of the trainers saw how keen I was and suggested I join the Sigma team. It was a great move—lots to learn and really rewarding.

At NL-ix, I work as a solution architect, which I love because it's right at the intersection of tech and business. My job is to make sure the tech folks and the business folks are speaking the same language, so we all understand each other and work together smoothly. Before landing here, I studied Business Administration and had a varied career, starting in the glass industry, then moving to telecoms with KPN, where I got into the world of fiber optics. Eventually, I wanted a new challenge, which led me to NL-ix. Here, I've really found my place in helping our sales team and clients understand and navigate the complexities of the Internet.

I still remember the early days at work when the Internet was this new, slightly intimidating frontier. It was seen as a risky novelty, something we were cautious about integrating into our daily work lives. We had this one computer designated as the "Internet computer," quarantined from the rest of our network like it was some kind of digital Pandora's box. If you needed to use the Internet, that was the machine you had to go to, under the watchful eyes of IT.

My job is to make sure the tech folks and the business folks are speaking the same language, so we all understand each other and work together smoothly

John Huitema

This setup seems almost comical now, considering how integral the Internet has become to everything we do. Back then, the idea was to keep the Internet at arm's length, to protect the sanctity of our work environment from the unknown variables of the online world. Fast forward to today, and it's hard to imagine any aspect of our professional or personal lives untouched by the Internet. Our entire work ecosystem now thrives on connectivity, with cloud-based applications, remote work, and digital collaboration becoming the norm rather than the exception.

And that’s where we come in. NL-ix is basically a big hub where different networks meet and exchange data. My role involves explaining how all this works to our clients, making the Internet a bit less of a black box for them. One of our services, Elastic Interconnect shows clients how their data moves around the Internet, which makes things way more transparent. It’s a key part of my role: supporting both our sales team and our clients by demystifying the Internet.

Throughout my life, whether volunteering or working, the main thread has been about solving problems—finding out what's wrong and figuring out how to fix it. It's about listening, understanding, and then putting together a solution that works. And honestly, that's what I enjoy the most. Whether it's helping someone who needs medical attention at a football game or guiding a client through their tech issues, it's all about making things better for them. Working at NL-ix has been a great way to blend my love for tech with my drive to help others, showing them how to make the most of what the Internet has to offer.