Jorn Janssen, Operations & Product Executive, The Netherlands & Belgium
What makes you a Local?
I would actually call myself a “semi-local” as although I have now lived in Amsterdam for several years and know the city well, I am originally from Leunen, a small town in the south of The Netherlands. I now live in a great neighborhood on the west side of Amsterdam and have been here long enough to develop some good local connections and great destination knowledge.
Why are you an expert on this destination?
I previously worked in a local hotel, which helps you learn a lot about a place and my current job obviously requires that I really know the destination, but in addition to this I am naturally interested in tourism and often spend my time off visiting different parts of the city or attractions that could help my work.
What do you love about Amsterdam?
The vibe of the place, it is a unique city and very liberal – nothing is too crazy! In the spring especially, the surroundings are amazing – we have more than 150 canals and 2500 “living” boats, which are set against a backdrop of flower fields.
What would you recommend to others?
- Rent a boat and sail through the Canal district
- Try the local “Kroket” or “Frikandel”, local deep-fried fast food.
- Visit one of the windmills on the outskirts of Amsterdam or the small villages around Amsterdam, such as Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Marken
If you really want to try something different, you could roll up your sleeves and do some gardening to aid Present Amsterdam, a non-profit, “bridge” organization that connects people in need with people who can help, where your efforts will yield much-needed support for those needing a little extra aid, whether it is strengthening social networks, addressing financial shortfalls or providing health services.
What will you smell, see and hear in Amsterdam?
The most famous noise in Amsterdam; the bells of all the bicycles in the city – in fact we say that it is more important to have a bell than a brake! You will see a diverse population, with people of all different cultures and backgrounds, peacefully moving together around the city.
What do you enjoy about your Intercruises role?
I feel like I am working for a company that really knows what it is doing and I really like the passion of the people, not just in Amsterdam, but all Intercruises teams everywhere in the world – everyone seems more than willing to go above and beyond for the cruise lines and their guests. In my specific role, the contact with clients and guests is a big motivation – to see or get feedback that they enjoyed their excursion, or had a smooth embarkation or disembarkation, or received great service – this makes me proud. I previously worked on cruise ships and what was important was having suppliers you could rely upon – I like the fact that cruise lines can rely on me.
What is the future?
Amsterdam will continue to become a global and ever-more innovative city, with new ways of living that improve people’s quality of life, while maintaining the local, small-town charm and, of course, the bikes. In terms of tourism, I expect that experiences and tours will become more personal and customized to small groups, helping keep the city centre attractive for everybody. For me, I hope to still be working for Intercruises – in Amsterdam or perhaps another place – I’d be quite happy to live in The Philippines!