The Zuidas is slowly transforming from a prime office location into a nice area to live in. For 15 years, real estate agent Eefje Voogd has been involved with this process and she recently moved into an apartment at the Zuidas. “This is really next-level living in a bustling area.”

When Eefje Voogd started her own business 10 years ago, she and her employees ‘accidentally’ settled at the Zuidas. “Not that I specifically wanted to be at the Zuidas, but I needed an office at a prominent location, not too fancy and easily accessible. That’s how we ended up at Parnassusweg. I’m still very happy about our decision and very pleased with this building with its high wow-factor.”

Makelaar op de Zuidas, Eefje Voogd

Makelaar Eefje Voogd. FOTO: Rob Kuyper

Despite having an office at such a great location, Voogd is certainly not a ‘Zuidas only’ real estate agent. “Sure, a lot of our work revolves around the Zuidas but we also have a strong regional presence. We really notice how Amsterdam is growing in stature as a true metropolitan city.”

Dynamic field

Eefje Voogd’s real estate agency helps people with the buying and selling process of existing residential property, but she also has a team specialized in housing development projects. A dynamic field to work in and a business area that has changed considerably over the last ten years.

‘The nicest moment of the day is around sunset, when all the lights are switched on’

“Previously, we only got involved after development of the project was already completed, whereas nowadays we there from the tender phase onwards and offer advice about feasibility, programming, target group marketing and pricing. We provide input from the very first design sketch until the final planning design”, says Voogd. The next step is selling these newly built houses, and this has a large spin-off effect on their other activities. “When people move on and want to sell their house many years later, they invariably come back to us.”

Female Real Estate Agent of the Year

The awards they recently received indicate that Voogd and her colleagues are very good at what they do. In 2015, her office was chosen as the Dutch Real Estate Agent of the Year for Newly-built Properties, and a year later Voogd herself won the Dutch Female Real Estate Agent of the Year Award.

“I was already happy being nominated for both awards and I never ever thought I would win them. What makes it special is the fact that the juries are made up of professionals working in the field of project development and real estate. In other words: my colleagues awarded me this prize, and that’s a great honour. After I became Female Real Estate Agent of the Year, it took me a week to reply to all the congratulatory messages. That was good fun but I felt that work should go on, so I quickly got back to business – maybe a bit too quickly and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have.”

Voogd: Passion for real estate

The expert jury wrote in their report that Voogd has a passion for real estate. She found that observation remarkable, tells Voogd. “Because that’s exactly the way it is: after 33 years in real estate, I still go to work with a big smile on my face every day. I did a short internship at a real estate agency when I was in high school and enjoyed it so much that I stayed there, working as a part-time receptionist. Then I slowly moved up through the ranks, worked for various real estate agencies and then set up my own company ten years ago.”

The combination of the dynamics of the housing market and the social aspects of her work are the elements that drive Voogd’s passion for real estate. “There is always a story behind people buying a house. Sometimes a sad one, but usually it feels like a little party. It is one of the most important events in a person’s life; it’s the biggest amount of money they’re ever going to spend. And that’s what I tell my colleagues: it is crucial that we always keep this in mind.” 

‘There is always a story behind people buying a house. Sometimes a sad one, but usually it feels like a little party.’

Good atmosphere on Zuidas is paramount

The past decade, Eefje Voogd’s agency has really managed to establish itself, growing from three to fifteen employees. “That means welcoming a new colleague every year. We managed to keep growing steadily, even during the economic crisis. I’m very grateful we always had work coming our way. This success is definitely not the result of a thought-out strategy, it simply happened to us.”

However, Voogd’s main concern is not how well her company does; she feels a positive work environment is just as important. “A good atmosphere at work is paramount. In my office I have a wonderful team full of incredible people who are passionate about their job. The majority of them are women and they all know the real estate business inside out. We have a lot of fun together and when we’re interviewing people for a new position we always focus on how well that person would fit into our team.”

‘The Zuidas is getting some character’

Children playing football

With space being reserved for around 8.000 houses at the Zuidas, the dynamics of the area are visibly changing, says Voogd. “There are now more bars and restaurants, plus more retail aimed at residents. And there are more trees and green areas, although there is still need for more if you ask me. In the Gershwin area towards Buitenveldert – where buildings are a lot lower – one can see children playing football in the backstreets. Actually, these are very nice little islands in the public space. The newly built houses bring more character to this area and that’s a very good thing.”

Voogd herself has always lived just outside the Zuidas but she recently moved to the area she has seen being transformed in the last 10 years. “I’ve always wanted to live here. My apartment is very high up and that’s fantastic. The nicest moment of the day is around sunset, when all the lights are switched on. That is really next-level living in a bustling area. I like the dynamics of the big city and I admire the architectural setting of independent little icons forming a complex unity.”

Eefje Voogd in short
– Real-estate agent, owner of Eefje Voogd Makelaardij at Parnassusweg
– Former chair and current board member of Makelaarsvereniging Amsterdam
– Board member of Amsterdam Woont
– Dutch Real Estate Agent of the Year for Newly-built Properties (2015)
– Dutch Female Real Estate Agent of the Year (2016)