The day started with our traveling group coming together outside the Amsterdam Central Station. The group consists of me, Nikos, Marina and Beatriz. Marina is Brazilian and only 15 but already exploring the world and having her first internship. Beatriz is also Brazilian, works for Seats2Meet International and had the initiative of bringing me and Marina in and showing us some of the busiest S2M locations. This day we were going to explore two locations in Amsterdam, Meet Berlage and Amsterdam Connected.
First up was Meet Berlage, a really nice building near the Amsterdam Central Station. The building itself has some history. It is an industrial building designed by the Dutch architect Hendrick Petrus Berlage to serve as a stock market for some years but eventually become a public palace for the people to connect. And as predicted, the stock market moved after some years. Then, it was professional home to a ship owners club which still holds some meetings in it. Finally it used to be a philharmonic orchestra rehearsal building. Now a part of it hosts a Seats2Meet location. The building has really high ceilings and big windows so it is has good lighting and a nice temperature.
We met Jean Pierre, co-owner of the place. He was kind enough to give us a tour through the whole location. The rooms have separate names that indicate their use and style. The library, is a quiet room, the buzzroom is for small fast meetings and so it goes. The co-working room was really busy, you could work on the couches, a long tall table or the normal height wooden tables. Many people created a cosy but lively environment. There was also a tablet where you had to check in and a large display that showed who is in the room with a little information about them to give a really helpful overview.
The place had really positive vibes and promoted working efficiently together. I have to say, it reminded me a little of some industrial districts in Berlin. We also saw some offices and some more meeting rooms, one of them was called “the tribunal” and I could not resist taking a photo of it. It was majestic and my poor photography skills do not transfer the feeling of being in the room.
Then it was time for lunch break, where everyone is eating together and talking to each other. It is a quintessential part of what seats2meet represents and is about. At lunch break we met Leto who is trying to set up his company doing “non-tourist” tours with his boat. He seemed really content with how seats2meet helps him meet new people and also have a productive time working. I really liked the place and might come back to it to meet Mike Lee, the founder of Appsterdam.
Moving on we traveled by train to a really quiet district. There was a lot of space and Beatriz told us that it is a district that is about healthcare and hospitals. There, in a big building, was our second location for the day, Amsterdam Connected. It starts with a huge atrium where events are hosted.
Then there is the ground floor preserved to co-working, quiet, cosy and professional. A nice combination of furniture and the glass walls that make it easy to look outside give it a really modern style. It is extremely spacious but not in a distancing way. It was completely different from Meet Berlage but you could feel the same vibes and philosophy. Same product different package.
We met Felix. I had seen his video explaining Society 3.0. It was quite an interesting theory you should watch it too. We went into a small meeting room and we talked about the challenges of getting a seats2meet location up and running. He was very eager to share his experience but also to listen to my own stories.
I always value someone who can talk about his success but also can genuinely listen to other peoples stories. Turns out Felix has opened up quite a lot of locations so I had some questions about the struggles of the process, some experiences of it and some general entrepreneurial topic questions. We talked for some time before he had work to attend to, and I highly respect the fact that he took the time to meet us.
So here I am, finishing the story of the first day, getting used to the Dutch weather and wondering what the next day will have in store.