Mount Lavinia Hotel was pleased to host Mr. Gerard Janssen, the founder member of Bata in Sri Lanka, during his present visit to the island.
Mr. Janssen first came to Sri Lanka in 1950 at the age of 22, to establish Bata and played a key role in developing the foot-wear into the house hold name it is now. Making Sri Lanka his abode for years to come Mr. Janssen was married at St. Sebastian’s Church, Moratuwa where subsequently his three children were christened.
“Sri Lanka was our home when my children were growing up. They were called ‘Akka’, ‘Nangi’, and ‘Malli’ by their Sri Lankan nanny and we still call them and they each other, by the same names,” reminisced Mr. Janssen. “We visited Mount Lavinia Hotel often since we lived close by, and it was obvious that I chose to come back this time as well,” he adds.
Bringing back moments from past, Mr. Janssen carried with him three menus published by the hotel in the early 1950s, with signatures of friends on it. Meeting Chef Publis Silva, one of the oldest serving employees at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Mr. Janssen was delighted to talk about the past; the food, service and ambiance.
“In our long journey of hospitality, we have hosted many personalities who have shaped the history of Sri Lanka; be it politicians, businessmen or artists. Mr. Janssen is one of them who came to the country to initiate a foot-wear business and left us with one of the most known brands, Bata,” commented Harinda Weerasinghe, Resident Manager of Mount Lavinia Hotel. “We are pleased that he has revisited us, and brought us fragments of the past as well.”