Category: Lifestyle

Living on the Zuidas is the best!

“I fell in love with this apartment straightaway. It is luxurious and has a big south-facing balcony. Everything is new and there is no noise from my upstairs neighbours.” Six…

“I fell in love with this apartment straightaway. It is luxurious and has a big south-facing balcony. Everything is new and there is no noise from my upstairs neighbours.” Six years ago, Vincent Helmer moved from Amstelveen to the Miles Building at George Gershwinlaan. 

A year ago, stewardess and media psychologist Bibi Eckhardt moved in with him. “I really needed time to get used to this place. I’m from a village in the countryside and I prefer old houses with nice period details. This area could do with a bit of soul.” When she tells friends she’s living at the Zuidas, they’re always surprised: do people actually live there? “In their minds this is just a business hub. Or they think we’re loaded and it’s totally dead here.”

“I was the fourth person to move into this apartment block. It is absolutely ideal. I’m a pilot and it’s only a six-minute train ride to Schiphol Airport.”

Everything is here on the Zuidas

In six years’ time, Vincent has seen the Zuidas change completely. “On the street, you’d only see men in suits. Now you can find everything you need. Take Market 33: just as good as De Hallen in Amsterdam-West. I can see us living here when we’re having kids.”

“I’m living in the Zuidas bubble,” Bibi says. “I shop at Gelderlandplein, sometimes I go out for dinner in the centre of town but I do most things here at the Zuidas. It’s become like a village. Ten years ago, when I was a student at VU University, the station felt like a ghetto. Now it’s a fun place with stores like Hema and Sissy-Boy. It is so nice to be here. No, it won’t get any better than this.”

Images: Katja Mali Fotografie

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Men’s fashion guide for the Zuidas

The Zuidas is a different world. Time is money, leaving business men very little room to buy clothes.  Yet, it is crucial to be stylish and well-dressed: apart from expertise…

The Zuidas is a different world. Time is money, leaving business men very little room to buy clothes.  Yet, it is crucial to be stylish and well-dressed: apart from expertise and people skills, success is largely determined by one’s personal appearance. Part 1 of the fashion guide with style advice, etiquette and anecdotes from the heart of the Zuidas, written by Adam Tasi.

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Dogwalk service on the Zuidas

The name of her company – Happy Dog Walks – reveals what Femke Kaspers does for a living: walking other people’s dogs. She grew up in a household full of…

The name of her company – Happy Dog Walks – reveals what Femke Kaspers does for a living: walking other people’s dogs. She grew up in a household full of dogs, cats and turtles, so this was a bit of an obvious career move.

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Dental care on the Zuidas

A dental practice in a business district like the Zuidas, does that make any sense? Most people would simply say ‘no’. Until they hear Eijmbert Noordermeer’s and Marie-Anne van Lexmond’s…

A dental practice in a business district like the Zuidas, does that make any sense? Most people would simply say ‘no’. Until they hear Eijmbert Noordermeer’s and Marie-Anne van Lexmond’s story. For 26 years, Noordermeer has been running a successful dental health care practice in the central hall of the WTC building at Strawinskylaan; four years ago dental hygienist Van Lexmond joined his practice.

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Design like Flexform belongs at the Zuidas

If a high-end designer brand like Flexform thinks of opening a monobrand store in the Netherlands, the Zuidas would be the most logical option. Guess what… last year, design centre…

If a high-end designer brand like Flexform thinks of opening a monobrand store in the Netherlands, the Zuidas would be the most logical option. Guess what… last year, design centre Co van der Horst opened a showroom here dedicated to this Italian brand!

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Josh Veldhuizen: ‘Living on Zuidas is great!’

Josh Veldhuizen, owner of fashion label JOSH V, lives at the Zuidas. “Two years ago, when there were only a handful of people living here, my boyfriend Nick Amman and…

Josh Veldhuizen, owner of fashion label JOSH V, lives at the Zuidas. “Two years ago, when there were only a handful of people living here, my boyfriend Nick Amman and I bought an apartment in the Intermezzo Building.”

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BeoSound Shape: Design based on acoustics

When creating a great atmosphere at home, many different factors play a role. One important aspect is room acoustics and the sound coming from a good speaker system. Bang &…

Beosound Shape

When creating a great atmosphere at home, many different factors play a role. One important aspect is room acoustics and the sound coming from a good speaker system. Bang & Olufsen recently introduced the ultimate must-have for design and music lovers: the new wireless speaker system BeoSound Shape delivers an experience comparable to being at a live concert. And if that in itself isn’t enough, buyers can also customize the look and performance of their own Shape.

The name B&O speaks for itself. The brand’s high-end audio and video products have been immensely popular, ever since Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen established their company in the Danish town of Struer in 1925. People all over the world praise their superior sound and image quality, as well as the user-friendliness of B&O products.

This smart system consists of multiple elements, providing a fantastic sound experience comparable to being at a live concert

At Hegeman’s Bang & Olufsen showrooms in Amstelveen and Bussum, one enters a world full of state-of-the-art audio and video technology that’s pleasing to the eyes and ears. Brothers Fred and Jaap Hegeman are at the helm of the family business that was founded in 1931. “We’re the third generation and the passion for B&O is simply in our blood; we inherited it from our father. In the early seventies, he was one of the first dealers of this exclusive Danish brand in the Netherlands.” 

Enriching the interior

Over the years, Bang & Olufsen has become a timeless icon in the universe of sound and video. The BeoSound Shape got its first showing at the Italian Salone Internationale del Mobile. Since August 2017, this fantastic system is available at Hegeman’s stores.

“Shape is a wall-mounted modular speaker system consisting of a unique combination of speakers, amplifiers and acoustic dampers that allows for customization of both sound performance and visual design. It is based on hexagonal elements that are fixed to the wall, offering the opportunity to create a harmonious environment and enriching the interior with shapes and sound. The resonance damping qualities improve the acoustics of the room, even when the system is switched off. This means the Shape is also the perfect system for large spaces such as shops, studios, showrooms, hotel lobbies and offices”, Fred Hegeman says with enthusiasm.

Band on the Wall

Music and noise really have a strong impact on our living environment. People responsible for private and commercial interior design obviously try their best to eliminate noise as much as possible and optimize room acoustics for music and other audio experiences.

That’s why Bang & Olufsen has dubbed the Shape the ‘Band on the wall’

“B&O designer Øivind Alexander Slaatto created the BeoSound Shape with sound as his starting point and assuming that the climate indoors is extremely important for our well-being. One crucial aspect is light, another factor being air quality. But acoustics are just as important because it has a strong influence on us humans on both a physical and psychological level. The Shape has a twofold objective: the speaker system offers a design-oriented solution to the issue of bad acoustics and creates an innovative musical experience.”

This smart system consists of multiple elements, providing a fantastic sound experience comparable to being at a live concert. That’s why Bang & Olufsen has dubbed the Shape the ‘Band on the wall’.

Customized design

In contrast to other speaker systems, the BeoSound Shape allows for customized design: buyers can define the desired dimension, shape, colours and even the sound performance of their system. Fred: “The modular concept of the Shape is based on one geometric form: the hexagon. Each separate element serves as a speaker, amplifier or acoustic damper and can be configured in endless combinations making it ideal for both small and large rooms.”

Using the online Configuration Tool buyers can realize the design of their choice. And due to the cooperation with Kvadrat, a Danish manufacturer of designer fabrics, it is possible to go for a high-quality wool finish, allowing for boundless mixing and matching! Apart from classic black there are colours with catchy names such as: Parisian Night Blue, Purple Heart, Infantry Green, Brazilian Clay and Wild Dove Grey.

Distinctive look

With all the available options every BeoSound Shape will be truly unique and it will give any wall in any room a very distinctive look. Plus, it is nice to know that the invisible ‘connectivity hub’ at the back of one of the hexagons allows you to stream music from mobile devices.

“Moreover, the Shape comes fitted with a multi-room feature, making it a fully-fledged member of the family of Bang & Olufsen products capable of playing different music genres in different rooms.” People looking to enrich the features and esthetics of their home or office with a BeoSound Shape, should not hesitate to visit a Hegeman store. Good to know: the Hegeman brothers employ their own technical and installation engineers, as one might aspect from such a household name in audio and video.

Hegeman B&O

Amsterdamseweg 418 – 420 Amstelveen
T 020 – 641 4019

Vlietlaan 4A Bussum
T 035 – 693 3973

E info-amstelveen@bohegeman.nl

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Gelderlandplein, shopping centre with international character

We like it tidy, that’s the motto at Gelderlandplein in Amsterdam-Zuid. This shopping centre with almost a hundred stores is a real shopper’s paradise. And if you need a break…

Winkelcentrum Gelderlandplein

The wonderfull shoppingmall Gelderlandplein

We like it tidy, that’s the motto at Gelderlandplein in Amsterdam-Zuid. This shopping centre with almost a hundred stores is a real shopper’s paradise. And if you need a break from all that shopping, there are plenty of places to relax and have a coffee, grab a healthy snack or order a nice meal.

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‘When the job is done and the client is happy, that gives me a huge kick’

As a PA to expats and VIPs, Audrey Mezas offers practical guidance to people from all over the world who settle at or around the Zuidas. Her clients range from…

As a PA to expats and VIPs, Audrey Mezas offers practical guidance to people from all over the world who settle at or around the Zuidas. Her clients range from CEOs to musicians and from start-ups to Olympic athletes. Mezas’ agency, Expat in Amsterdam, helps them with anything they need. “When a request comes in I often don’t know who the actual client is. Not that it really matters as they all receive the same high-quality service.”

“As far as I know, I’m the only one in the Netherlands in this line of business”, Audrey Mezas explains. There are relocation advisors, but the real stress for many of her clients actually begins after being handed the keys to their new home. “Make a phone call over here and the standard message you get is “all our lines are busy at the moment.” Moreover, many websites still only offer information in Dutch only. That’s why I offer this high-end personal service, ‘Executive Lifestyle Management’, for both private and business customers.”

After mapping her client’s needs, Mezas starts looking for the specialists to take care of the various tasks, such as real estate agents, chauffeurs, builders, mortgage advisors, doctors and bodyguards. Over the years, she has built a network of 64 professionals. “Recently, I collaborated with a team of specialists on an assignment for an American company; within 7 weeks we managed to find a suitable location for them and helped with the necessary paperwork to buy the property”. While leaving specialized tasks to the qualified members of her team, Mezas is in charge of the entire process and acts as the ‘quality controller’: “I’m there when the real estate agent carries out the technical inspection and I’m also present when the keys to the property change hands.”

Saving time and money
The above is just one example of the service she offers as every client has unique requirements. Mezas helps CEOs who only spend 24 hours in the Netherlands to finalize a business take-over but she also assists Olympic athletes who want to buy a house and stay here for 5 years but who need to be able to focus on their training and their families. She won’t mention any names since confidentiality is key to her profession. She can draw from personal experience when it comes to living in a foreign country with a language you don’t speak and a culture you don’t know. Her father was a banker who was transferred to another country every two years.

“My mother, my younger brother and me followed my dad wherever he went: from Holland to Tahiti and Australia and from the Middle East to the United States. Every time we were facing a new culture with different rules. My mother was brilliant in finding out how it all worked’. To save other expats these troubles she started Expat in Amsterdam®in 2012. ‘With my help my clients save valuable time and money as I have the expertise and the contacts expats do not have.”

Respect for etiquette
Apart from all the differences between the 17 places she lived at in her youth, Mezas also saw a lot of similarities. “Wherever we were living, business people came around to our house and deals were negotiated during a dinner party or a poolside barbecue. And the same principle applies here in Amsterdam: deals are finalized over breakfast, lunch or dinner. ‘So I need to go to the gym a lot”, she smiles.

Her parents taught her the importance of etiquette and this still helps her to this very day. “You always need to respect the way things work in a different culture, especially being a business woman. Information on unwritten rules in other cultures I often deduct from The New York Times and the The Financial Times: they are full of stories on business life in virtually every country. Sometimes I call my dad to ask him about a culture I don’t know. That is if I there is time to call him because it does happen that I need to act on very short notice.”

Raising the bar
No matter how difficult a request or how quickly it needs to be done, Mezas will always try to find a solution. “I don’t like saying ‘no’. If the assignment is really impossible I’ll accept that but it hardly ever is. One day, a client wanted to build a music studio so I decided to call Armin van Buuren’s office. I spoke to his right hand who referred me to the person who constructed their studio. That’s the way I operate; if people ask me something, they expect me to do it perfectly.”

Mezas believes that knowledge is power, therefore she always uses the best experts in their field. “I’m a connector, I want to bring people together. My experts are very professional but above all they are very fine people and I trust them completely. I have no choice because this job never stops. Normally, I work from 8 till 8 but when a project is running my client can contact me 24/7.”

And this doesn’t bother her at all. “I’ve never been so happy. I know I’m made for this and I feel privileged to have found my niche. The best part of this job is people giving you their trust. When a request comes in I don’t always know who the actual client is. Not that it really matters as everyone receives the same high-quality service. When the job is done and the client is happy, I feel a sense of relief that really gives me a huge kick! At the same time I have to keep raising the bar for myself: when I’ve managed to find a house for a client really quickly, the next one will have heard about and will demand the same service.”

Growing with global allure
Audrey Mezas enjoys the fact that her work is mainly centered around the Zuidas and in Amsterdam-Zuid. “Some of my clients are located as far away as Wageningen, but 90 percent of the expats live in this area. And that’s great because this is my home turf. “Zuid” is booming and things change quickly here. That Expat in Amsterdam®, that’s me: an urban kameleon. I love Amsterdam and I’m proud of this city and the Netherlands. It is wonderful to see it developing but I do feel it’s important to do it with global allure. That’s my style; I sell expertise with attention to detail and focus on quality. You need that if you want to achieve something. My dream is to offer this service on a large scale but always with personal attention.”

 

In 2012, Audrey-Lynn Mezas started Expat in Amsterdam, an agency offering PA services to expats, executives and VIPs. Her clients include professional athletes, bankers, CEOs, start-up companies and musicians – some only staying here for 24 hours, others spending 5 years or more in the Dutch capital.

www.expatinamsterdam.com

 

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Get your perfect pump on… the Zuidas

They’ll make your legs look longer and leaner, they’ll make you walk more upright and, according to Juliette de Vries, they’ll even change the way you speak: that’s what good…

They’ll make your legs look longer and leaner, they’ll make you walk more upright and, according to Juliette de Vries, they’ll even change the way you speak: that’s what good pumps can do to a woman. But we all know the troubles: pangs of pain in the ball of your foot, toes that feel crammed and feet that are totally numb after a night out… O, perfect pump, where were you all this time?

Juliette de Vries (61) already had an impressive career in hospitality behind her when she started shoe brand Feraggio – with just one pump shoe in the whole product range. We meet up at Brasserie Paardenburg in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a stone’s throw away from her home and office. Expecting a woman click-clacking her way to us on high heels, we are very surprised when she comes walking in.

Feraggio is special

Juliette appears wearing a pair of white All Stars. White blouse, nice pair of jeans, razor-sharp look, gift of the gab. “Oh yeah, sneakers today. A good pump can empower a woman but that’s not always necessary. When I arrive somewhere, there’s a lot of woman entering the scene. And I hate heels that click-clack so loudly. Feraggio heels have a little rubber sole so you won’t hear them at all.” A silent heel, that’s just one of the many good points of the pump she launched well over a year ago.

Four years ago when Juliette said goodbye to her company Promotion Partners, an agency in flexible staffing and hostess services, she desperately needed a rest and more free time. She swore to never start her own company again.

Feraggio damespump

“Well, I was wrong,” she says drily. “The point is: whenever I start something, I’ll do it thoroughly and I like thinking big. Feraggio is not just a means for her to keep boredom at bay. It is a real company, backed by serious investment and with a large team working 24/7 to make it successful. The advantage of a ‘second tour of duty’ is that one doesn’t get too nervous when plan A fails. I love this pioneering phase but it will definitely be grandma’s last trick: I really underestimated the amount of work a business like this involves.”

Shoe designer Jan Jansen

Juliette spent many years searching for the perfect pair of pumps: elegant shoes with a nice heel she could walk on all day without feeling any pain. But she couldn’t find them. “So I thought: well, I’ll just have to make them myself then. A kind of Pippi Longstocking reflex: ‘I’ve never done this before, but I’m sure I’ll manage’. But I’m not a fashionista and I’d never been inside a factory, let alone that I knew anything about production or retail. I went to the best leather fair in Italy but I couldn’t even distinguish goatskin from pigskin leather. Only the word vitello rang a bell… because of vitello tonnato, haha!”

“I studied numerous designs to try to find the perfect shoe and then I had a lot of samples made. After a few weeks Jan Jansen, Holland’s most famous shoe designer, called and asked if perhaps I could use his expert opinion. That was magnificent because this man knows everything about shoes and their manufacturing techniques. Together we went through every tiny detail of my design. After two long years we were finally ready to present the perfect pump: the Feraggio!”

Why is Feraggio special?

The key question is: what makes the Feraggio pump, with its 365 euro price tag, so special? “Our pumps are fitted with a soft insole with memory foam. Pain in the foot is caused by pressure on the ball of the foot, blocking the blood circulation. The memory foam springs back into position and makes the blood flow again, allowing you to walk and stand much longer without any pain. There is only one model, in suede, in a timeless design and in two different heel heights: 3 and 4 inches.”

‘You’re sold once you realize how gorgeous and comfortable these shoes are’

“These shoes are always available and never go on sale. The heel has a non-slip surface and the tip of the outsole is fitted with a piece of iron. All these aspects together we call heelability. Anyone can wear these pumps and because of the clever design they are comfortable for all types of feet. Sizes range from EU size 35 to 42 (US: 4 to 9, UK: 3 to 8), including all half sizes.”

During the production and manufacturing process Juliette had to fight a lot of conventions. “I had certain things in mind and then people simply said: ‘That’s impossible. Welcome to the crazy world of shoes, but this is how we do it’. And then I replied: ‘Listen: my team was not trained in the shoe business, we’re going to do it differently!” And so we did.

Men like Feraggio

‘It’s extraordinary that 35% of the online orders are placed by men’

The name Feraggio was coined by Juliette’s former business partner, Patricia Schagen. “It doesn’t mean anything. We were looking for an international name that sounded nice and referred to luxury and Italian design. With Feraggio I focus on the international market, mainly the US – the market in affordable luxury is very big there and they have a real dresses-and-skirts culture. And the Middle East and England are very important as well, but these days we ship Feraggios to all corners of the world. It’s pretty extraordinary that 35% of the online orders are placed by men. They understand our product: this model was here 100 years ago and it will still be here in a 100 years’ time.”

“Most people usually start with a pair of black shoes and then buy other colours later. You’re sold once you realize how gorgeous and comfortable they are. Feraggio pumps easily combine with casual wear, a party dress or business attire. A pair of pumps in scarlet red or lemon yellow under a formal workplace outfit, that’s what makes life a bit more fun! The original idea was to start with only 4 colours. Well, that plan failed – our customers can now choose from 24 different colours.”

Feraggio shoe box

Not only the shoe but also the shoe box excels in usability and great design. It has a pull-out drawer and a window for a picture of its content. The boxes are big enough for men’s shoes and are fitted with a non-slip surface on the outside, enabling her customers to build a wonderful shoe cabinet. Because of the immense demand Juliette now also sells shoe boxes. Yes, that’s right: just the box, without any shoes in them – an idea that can only originate from the practical brain of a woman. A woman thinking out of the box.

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Feraggio pumps are online available and in all PAUW shops.

The warehouse at Amstelkade 17 in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am till noon.

 

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