The New York Minute

Interview Series: Fascinating Engel & Völkers Colleagues from Around the World

Wieger van der Linden

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Wieger Van Der Linden, from Engel & Völkers Amsterdam, Netherlands.
I like that everything is close. We ride our bikes everywhere. I go to my office on my bike; I go to appointments on my bike. We never use a car for that. 

Wieger van den Linden grew up in a real estate family in the Dutch city of Haarlem, just outside of Amsterdam. After finishing his education, he worked with the real estate firm Heeren Makelaars for seven years before joining his mother, Barbara van der Grijp, founding partner of the Amsterdam South shop of Engel & Voelkers.

Wieger now serves as Managing Director of his sixteen advisor team and has been in the region’s Top 10 Highest Selling Agents for six years. He lives in Amsterdam with his partner, Lynn, and their two-year-old son. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling to work, playing football and golf, and discovering the city’s pubs and restaurants.


Paul & Vince:  What are the best things about living and working in your city?

Wieger: Well, Amsterdam is like a village compared to New York. You have everything you need, but I like that everything is close. We ride our bikes everywhere. I go to my office on my bike; I go to appointments on my bike. We never use a car for that. 

Paul & Vince:  Right…We’re always amazed at how fast the bikes go by, right next to the lane for pedestrians, squeezed in between the tram and the canals. So what’s your favorite local place?

Wieger: I like the old bars. They’re not like clubs or fancy restaurants. A traditional Amsterdam bar has all-brown wood walls and sand on the floor. Yes, sand. That’s typical because it’s easy to clean. That’s a really old bar! Of course, Amsterdam is quite old, and we have buildings and canals which are hundreds of years old. But it’s really like an old village.


Paul & Vince: What did you do before entering real estate?

Wieger: Well, my dad had a real estate agency, and I used to work there when I was a kid, just twelve or thirteen, on summer holidays. I would do copying and get coffee, that kind of stuff. So even from a young age, I was around it and felt comfortable in that environment.

Paul & Vince: Hmm…so did you know you would end up in real estate then?

Wieger: No, I originally studied hotel management, but I realized after my gap year that real estate was where I wanted to be. But I didn’t start with Engel & Voelkers at first. My parents wanted me to learn for myself, to have a boss who would teach me everything independently, and I would have to work hard. So I worked there for seven years.

Then my mom started a second E&V office in Amsterdam in 2015. So, when she said, “Okay, I need your help,” it was time to come to the new office I’m managing now with my brother, Tjerk. We manage the three offices we have now in the city. We’ve been very successful.


Paul & Vince: Great. So, how is the real estate market these days in Amsterdam?

Wieger: At the moment, the market is changing. Before last year, when interest rates were very low, and everybody could get a mortgage, there was very little to buy…but markets went crazy. If you put something on the market, fifty people would come to see it for one million, and after three days, you’d sell it for 1.2 million.

Paul & Vince: Interesting. And do you have a lot of investor Airbnbs as well, in the city center?

Wieger: The government made a lot of rules recently…Airbnb is essentially not allowed anymore. There are steep fines of 20,000 euros if you’re not following the rules. Then this year, a rule was made that for every home purchased at less than 512,000 euros, you must live there yourself if you buy it. You can’t rent it out for four years.

The Netherlands has had another strange rule in the last two years. There’s a rule that, when the lease is up, after a year, if the owner says, okay, you have to leave. I want my house back because I’m going to sell it…if the tenant says no, then you can’t get them out. We also, in some cases, allow tenants to leave with one month’s notice if they don’t like the place.

Paul & Vince: That’s interesting. The idea that the tenant can end the lease at will has been very controversial in New York. And it’s funny because we tell ourselves that certain traditions and rules in New York – like when everyone had moving day on May 1 – go back to Dutch traditions!

Wieger: Ha, ha, yes, it’s okay; you can blame our old ways.


Paul & Vince: So, Wieger, you’ve been in real estate almost your whole life. What do you like most about your career right now?

Wieger: Well, I especially like this company compared to the one I worked with before. Engel & Voelkers is more global, and I like that. Just as we are all talking right now – Amsterdam is in contact with New York – we can also have more contact with advisors in Belgium and France.

Paul & Vince: Agreed. Now, back to your home market, what are your favorite homes to sell?

Wieger: Well, there is a big difference between selling a small apartment for maybe 400,000 euros versus a whole house, which could be 6, 7, 8…10 million. Especially in the Netherlands, there is a really small group who can afford to buy those homes. It’s much more of a challenge, but I do love that. When you sell that kind of house, it’s the best feeling; it’s very rewarding.

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Okay, now we have our Just For Fun question. Wieger, if you could live in a setting in any book or movie for a day, which would you choose and why? 

Wieger: Hmmm…well, I would say in a James Bond movie, of course [laughs].  I think every man likes James Bond and wants to be him. He can save someone’s life, has cool toys, always has a beautiful woman, and goes to the casino and wins every time.

Paul & Vince: Yes, and martinis are shaken, not stirred?…perhaps with the Dutch liquor…Genever?

Wieger: Genever, yes! Made with juniper. Everyone drinks that next to his beer.

Paul & Vince: Great! And what kind of gadget would you choose…a fast plane or a fancy car?

Wieger:</strong You know…well, I still do everything on the bicycle, so I would have a really fast bicycle.

Paul & Vince: So you can speed past all those pedestrians on the way to your showings?

Wieger: Quick bike, quick sales!  [laughs]

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing

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