Although Mammamsterdam is my private garden, everything you find in the blog comes from my 24 years experience living and working in the Netherlands. Due to the large amount of people writing me privately for information, I decided to put here a list of partners and services I selected in the course of the years. These ARE NOT SPONSORED LINKS. It is just my recommendations of people and companies I have been known and trusted for many years as I would recommend them to friends. Please contact them directly if you need them.

ITALO EXPRESS COURIER
Italo offers fast and regular transport services between Amsterdam and Italy (and every place in between) by van. He serves importers, restaurants and expats, and brings with the same dedicated care the love-packages from you mom to complex machinery for trade-fairs.

I love his service because it allows me to give him a shopping list of essentials I cannot find in the Netherlands (like food, wine, the tomato-sauce I make with my mom every summer in Italy) and because it opened for me and my friends a whole range of possibilities beyond the hand-luggage we usually travel with.

Besides, he is my brother and I have been known him for my entire life, including the years he worked for a large Italian transport company. And because he is my brother, I usually marvel at the amount of knowledge he has of the transport industry, because you know how we big sisters are: we think we know EVERYTHING better. Which in this case, is not true, he knows more than me on transport (and a few more matters).

Find his updates and routes on Facebook:
Italo Summa
italo.courier@gmail.com
0031-6 19148204

REAL ESTATE GALMAN AND VERSTEEG
It took me 12 years to find a house to buy in Amsterdam, and since the start I did it with Galman and Versteeg because lots of our friends bought a house with them and were absolutely happy. Consider I started to look for a house to buy in 1998, at the beginning of the hugest real-estate craze round here. It was the period prospective buyers would start fighting with each other during the open day of a property, because they all wanted to buy it and bid first. It was the times we missed a number of homes because there was always someone else offering more money just to get that house. It was the people people got so weird about buying a house NOW because tomorrow the prices were already rising, the period many people got in trouble later on with unsellable houses, because the property market is just much more than buying at a high price the home of your dreams. It is also about being able to resell it if your life and circumstances change, without going bankrupt.

I started seeing homes with the old Mr. Galman, who was about to retire, and who knew probably every single house in Amsterdam by heart. The first time I talked to him I asked if I needed to sign a search assignment. You know, the young and wild agents I met before him all wanted such a thing: even if I would find a house to buy from my friend, they still were entitled to their share of the price, so I didn’t know any better.

He laughed politely and said: “You would be in 45 years the first one to sign me such a thing. We work with hand-shakes”. So we shook hands.

We started visiting houses and he would bring some sense to me. For example he would bring me on the opposed sidewalk and showing me the home I wanted to buy and buy NOW:
“See, madam, those cracks up there in the facade? It means that in 5 years you would have to remake the foundations of this house, and believe me, next to the cost, it is a nightmare. I wouldn’t do it”.

A few years later, when we were ready again to search for a home, I met Rob Dansen, his old employee, and Janny, whom I remembered from the good old times when she send every morning by fax the new listings on sale.

“We still work with the same system”, she reassured me, “no matter if it takes 3 visits or 30 visits to find the right house for you”.

At the third house we saw, an old tobacco-shop in a former village in Amsterdam North, you know, a quiet, green, well-serviced neighborhood with old and original homes, he talked very clearly to us:
“Listen, your husband has a demanding job far from Amsterdam, you have your company, you guys got young kids, if you buy this house you will be divorced within two years. This is a great deal only if you work yourself in construction, or other it will cost you a fortune to make it livable. I understand the atmosphere, and the idyll, but seriously, I am here to keep the emotional part out of the deal”.

It reminded me of someone I met before 🙂

Finally, we bought a great home, he helped through the bidding which was a complicated thing, and helped make a renovation budget as he had all prices in mind, and here we are, still happy (and in the meantime a bunch of other friends bought a home through them, which is reassuring somehow).

I also interpreted for Italian entrepreneurs searching for a commercial space in the centre and was impressed by the subtleties his colleagues of the business-estate section explained to the clients.

So I can recommend them, because if in a market like Amsterdam a company manages to still keep going after 60 year, they sure know a couple of tricks the others don’t.

Rob Dansen
Nassaukade 123, 1052 EC Amsterdam
020 622 2258
http://www.galmanversteeg.nl

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