Tag: living

Fun things to do with your kids on the Zuidas

With all the new apartment blocks opening their doors in the Zuidas there are a lot of young families moving into the area. And there are plenty of new initiatives for…

With all the new apartment blocks opening their doors in the Zuidas there are a lot of young families moving into the area. And there are plenty of new initiatives for the youngest Zuidas residents. Journalist Natasja Admiraal and photographer Jeannette Huisman, two friends who gave birth to a baby girl on the exact same day, reveal their favourite hotspots and activities.

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Kindercampus Zuidas: Playful learning

The Zuidas area in Amsterdam is an inspiring environment undergoing rapid development. People work here, people live here and children go to school here. Kindercampus Zuidas is an integral education…

The Zuidas area in Amsterdam is an inspiring environment undergoing rapid development. People work here, people live here and children go to school here. Kindercampus Zuidas is an integral education centre offering child care, elementary education and after-school care services.

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You need to know what expats want

Ruben Feenstra (39) grew up in the Zuidas area. When he was young he spent a lot of time playing tennis on the courts that made way for the current…

Ruben Feenstra (39) grew up in the Zuidas area. When he was young he spent a lot of time playing tennis on the courts that made way for the current offices and apartments. These days he helps expats find suitable housing and he advises various parties on the kind of living space expats are looking for. After fifteen years in this business he’s become quite an expert.

“This area means a lot to me as it’s been my playground for such a long time”, Ruben says. “You could find me on the tennis courts here every day as I played top-level tennis from age 10 to 21. So you can imagine this place is full of nostalgia for me.”

When he was twenty-three, Feenstra called time on his tennis career and started working for Rotsvast Amstelveen, a real-estate agency specialized in long-term rentals to expats. Six years ago, Feenstra and his business partner Ewoud Cossee took over Rotsvast Amsterdam-Zuid and Amsterdam-Centrum.

Budget for housing

Rotsvast rents apartments and houses to expats looking to stay here for a period of one to five years. “Not too long ago expats would stay for five to seven years, but companies are rotating staff quicker between countries. What used to be one period of five years has now been cut into two sections of 2.5 years.”

When he was twenty-three Ruben Feenstra started renting apartments to expats

Another big chance is the other party he is dealing with. “Fifteen years ago, our clients were mainly multinationals looking for living space for their employees. These days the rental market is much more transparent due to websites such as Pararius. It is more and more common for employees to arrange their own housing using a budget allocated by their company. On the other hand we do a lot of advisory work for home owners wanting to rent out their property and for investment companies building apartment blocks.”

Advising property investors

Ruben Feenstra Rostvast

Ruben Feenstra PHOTO: DONALD VAN HASSELT PHOTOGRAFIE

Ruben likes his advisory role. “In this market an investor or developer needs to offer a competitive product. This means we can work with nicer rental properties that are better tailored to the needs of the market. And that makes our job more dynamic and fun.”

He talks to other parties about development and lay-out of a property or an apartment block, what kind of services should be offered and what people expect for their money in a particular area. “We love working together with leading property investors. For example, we’re involved in 50 high-end design apartments at various A-locations in town belonging to investment company Prowinko.”

“We also participate in the De Terrassen complex in Amstelveen, a new development with 134 luxury apartments owned by the RJB Group. De Terrassen is tailored to expats and will open in July this year. We manage the whole rental process of these projects together with Eefje Voogd Makelaardij.  We’re really happy working with them. We complement each other and it’s a fun clash of company cultures.”

Far-reaching service

The building management department of Rotsvast is going to take care of all services for De Terrassen. “That involves the entire daily management of this complex but we’ll also be the point of contact for other property owners. At the moment, we have three people working full-time to manage services for around 300 apartments. Sometimes we are asked to fix a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t work because the bag is full or we get a call in the weekend urging us to please come over and explain how the dishwasher works”, Ruben says with a smile.

After fifteen years in this line of business, Ruben knows what expats want. There is not a big difference between expats and locals but there are a few cultural things to take into account. “Japanese people want a bathtub in their house; they won’t even look at a property that doesn’t have one. Indian and American expats are genuinely surprised that Dutch houses have so few bathrooms and toilets. The Japanese want a rice cooker, Indian expats need a powerful blender to make curry.”

‘Japanese people won’t even look at a property that doesn’t have a bathtub’

Another big difference are the housing prices. Generally, housing for expats is more expensive although the difference is getting smaller. “The apartments of the new projects we work on are in principle available for everybody. We see more and more often that Dutch young professionals are willing to pay 1,800 euros for 60 sq.m2 (645 sq.ft) if this means they get a nice apartment in a good location. Whereas ten years ago, only expats would pay these prices.”

Relatively affordable

Ruben sees a bright future for ‘his’ Zuidas. “You can see the dynamic changing. In the early days there was not much to do here and at night it was pretty dead. But now there is a good mixture of different functions, which makes the whole area much more vibrant.”

When it comes to the appeal the area has for expats, Ruben doesn’t worry at all. “I’ve rarely spoken to a client who didn’t like it here. The living conditions are great. Dutch people are open-minded and they all speak English. The quality of living is high: there are lots of green spaces and excellent facilities. Housing in Amsterdam is relatively affordable, even though the perception among locals is that real estate prices have gone through the roof given the 50% increase in the last six years. But there are at least 30 thirty cities worldwide that are more expensive than Amsterdam. An Australian banker who has lived in cities all over the world recently said to me: ‘For the quality of your city, your prices are a joke’.’’

 

Rotsvast Amstelveen
Amsterdamseweg 185
Amstelveen
T 020 503 6560

Rotsvast Amsterdam
Johannes Verhulststraat 30
Amsterdam
T 020 662 7662

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Real estate agent Mossel: ‘Living on Zuidas is populair’

Ramón Mossel started his own real estate agency 15 years ago. He’s seen the Zuidas develop into a part of Amsterdam where living space is getting increasingly scarce. You’ve been…

Ramón Mossel started his own real estate agency 15 years ago. He’s seen the Zuidas develop into a part of Amsterdam where living space is getting increasingly scarce.

You’ve been a real estate agent for 15 years now. What has changed in all those years?

Amsterdam has become much more international due to the city promoting itself more and global companies opening offices here.

Has your role as a real estate agent changed well?

More and more often I find myself in meetings giving advice to project developers looking to build a new complex. That’s a very nice part of my job. I know exactly what people want and that makes me as a real estate agent interesting for different parties.

How would you describe the current housing market in Amsterdam?

There’s a serious housing shortage in Amsterdam. The city has a couple of very nice neighbourhoods with a strong identity and the city council is pretty good at urban renewal. It’s just a shame that there’s an acute shortage in all segments of the housing market. We need a change in policy!

Zuidas is a populair place to live

What position does the Zuidas have?

Makelaar Ramon Mossel

Ramón Mossel FOTO: Wesley Bergen Fotografie

The Zuidas gives this city an international look and has developed into a dynamic area with a high level of facilities and allure.

Who would like to live here?

Me! I’m moving here very soon. And I notice that young families want to stay in Amsterdam, including the Zuidas, instead of moving to a semi-detached house with a garden outside the city. They’re looking for a large energy-efficient apartment with panoramic views and a big balcony or terrace.

What is the appeal of the Zuidas?

The international feel and a fantastic geographical location. All the facilities you need are nearby and the terrific Gelderlandplein shopping mall is just around the corner.   

Prices of houses on Zuidas

What about the house prices in the Zuidas area?

Prices of 10,000 euros per square metre are not an exception. Only Amsterdam’s Oud-Zuid quarter is more expensive: 14,000 to 15,000 euros. So it’s only a small step towards the 20,000 euro mark, like Cor van Zadelhoff predicted in the previous edition of this magazine. Moreover, Brexit is going to be a reality very soon and the percentage of home ownership in Amsterdam will decrease even further.

There is also some social housing in this area. Is such a mix good for the Zuidas?

Around 60% of the housing stock in Amsterdam is social rental. The Zuidas is an area with ambitious developments and international aspirations. You could ask yourself if social housing is what we need here and whether there should be any new construction in Amsterdam at all. What the city needs are rental apartments in the middle segment.

It must be a wonderful time to work as a real estate agent.

It’s always been fun to be a real estate agent! At the moment I try to convince stakeholders in the market to think in concepts. The customer journey changes and it is important to adjust to their changing needs. Turn-key houses are the future. Internationally, this is already a proven concept.

How do you see the Zuidas in 10 years’ time?

I’m convinced that 10 years from now the Zuidas will be the prime residential and business area of this city. The Zuidas is a very welcome addition as it gives Amsterdam an international look. However, the city should show a bit more swagger and raise the bar a bit higher, for example by extending Zuidasdok with Zuid/WTC Station.

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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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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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Nextlevel living on Zuidas

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…

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.”

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