Today’s Culture with Travel interview comes as part of our Travel Entrepreneur series in which we talk to travel leaders who are running businesses from all over the world.
We recently spoke to Sjoukje Oostindie, the founder of A Dutch Experience. Learn more about this travel entrepreneur and her Dutch company in the interview.
What inspired the creation of A Dutch Experience?
The Netherlands is a beautiful country that many people like to visit. Most people visit the well-known sights or stay in the neighborhood of Amsterdam. But, there is so much more to be seen and learn about the Netherlands, and the people that live here. I grew up in a small village in the North, studied in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and live now in Hilversum. All those places have their own unique character and charm. It’s only by exploring a little further afield that you’ll get to know the real Dutch and the best way to do that is with a local, sharing their knowledge and passion about the area they live in.
What do you think uniquely sets A Dutch Experience apart from other organizations that feature local hosts?
Our local hosts are quite unique in who they are. The experiences that they offer are more focused on sharing knowledge, and inspiring travelers than pure entertainment. In addition, we only go for those little gems and passionate people which are hard to find, and it’s so worth it when you do. We feature only our absolute favorites.
How do you feel local experiences enhance travel for a visitor?
One of the scarcest commodities we have nowadays is real human-to-human attention. Most of the things we want to visit as a traveler can already been seen on YouTube, or we can read about it on the Internet. But, if you truly want to experience a country and its people, spending some time with a local is the way to go Click To Tweet.
Where is your own favorite city or town in the Netherlands, and why?
The Netherlands still has four very distinct seasons. Depending on the season and the weather (nothing is less predictable than the Dutch weather), I have my favorites. In the spring, I like to cycle around in my own area and enjoy that nature is waking up and everything bursts forth to grow. In the summer, I like to go to Friesland and watch the sailing boots or cycle along the Eleven cities Route.
As a great nature lover, in autumn I enjoy going to the province of Gelderland and going for a hike through the forests to see the colors change and have lunch or dinner in a beautiful outdoor place or estate. In the winter, I like to visit the cozy little streets of a city like Maastricht, Den Haag, Utrecht or Amsterdam.
How do you think A Dutch Experience making a difference for travelers around the world?
There is so much choice and most of the time not enough time. We know that feeling. That’s why we’ve done the work for travelers, searching the Netherlands for those ‘pearls’ which are so hard to find and so worth it when you do. We like to connect people because we strongly believe that people make a difference, by bringing them together beautiful things can happen.
What advice would you share with a budding travel entrepreneur?
I am still a budding entrepreneur myself, but what I have learned so far is that you need to surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs or people. They will challenge you, test you, and grow you more than you can ever grow on your own. “We” is greater than “me.”