WHO IS AMSTERDAM


WHO WE ARE

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Meet the team

Say hello to the faces behind Who is Amsterdam and find out what makes us tick. 

Meet the team

Say hello to the faces behind Who is Amsterdam and find out what makes us tick. 

10 Fun Facts About…

Alexandra

Chief of Everything / Founder

I grew up between cultures (I was born in Poland, grew up in Germany and am now a proud Amsterdammer).

It taught me to move past differences and look for common ground. In my experience, I found that despite our backgrounds and beliefs, we all want the same things. To connect, love, be loved, seen and heard. For me, Amsterdam is a place that provides the space for these. That’s why I made this city my home.

I love to share stories which allow us to connect and grow.

I first did that by working in Sales and Marketing in the corporate world for companies like Heineken. Then I created Who Is Amsterdam Tours to share stories that matter. It was the first experience to win an AirBnB Experience Award in the category of “Connection” in 2018. Lonely Planet named our tour the “Best of Amsterdam 2019”. It also won TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2020. Now I continue to do that through our award-winning slow travel tour and our partners and their experiences.

I was lucky to be raised with an immense amount of love and attention.

Especially from my grandmother and my mum. They were forces for good while being truly badass. I lost them when I was a kid and then as a young adult. I remember whenever we had guests over, my family would welcome them with a huge amount of love, laughter, food and drinks. And everyone who came through our doors would instantly feel right at home. My family is my inspiration in life. In everything I do. my goal is to create this kind of atmosphere — to help people feel at home.

I regularly try to do things that scare the shit out of me.

I’ve learned that I grow the most when I get out of my comfort zone. This is why I did improv theatre and took a stand-up comedy course. Recently, I did Tim Ferriss’ “Comfort Zone Challenges”. The task was to randomly lay on the ground at Amsterdam’s busiest spots — for 10 seconds. I did it at Amsterdam’s busiest square (Dam Square), at a Starbucks and in other crowded spaces. It was priceless. The feeling of not giving a fuck about what other people think. It was an experience on steroids. It scared the shit out of me, but I loved it after I’d done it.

It took me years to realise that avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable.

And my partner Rachael knows to buy me strawberries whenever I’m blue. #comfortfood

Travelling makes me feel rich.

If I had to choose between an expensive villa in Amsterdam’s city centre or a free pass to travel to every country for three years… I’d 100% pick the second option. Travelling allows me to grow, learn and connect. To fall in love with the unknown. I love the excitement before each trip.

 

I’m here and I’m queer.

After a rough coming-out as a young adult, I moved to Amsterdam 14 years ago. This city gave me the space to be myself. With everything I do, I try to live and breathe inclusivity.

My favorite Dutch word is “Uitwaaien”.

It loosely means hitting the beach and letting the wind clear your mind. I can’t live without nature. It’s how I recharge. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by beautiful nature in the region of Dolny Slask in Poland. Nature is my home away from home.

Seeing my guests on our experiences become friends is gold!

When I first started our tours, I’d sometimes lead two tours in a row. We always end at a microbrewery. Sometimes when I returned with my second group, the first group would still there chatting, eating and being way too drunk. 😉 I love it when that happens.

10 Fun Facts About…

Rachael

Copy Cat  / Partner-in-Crime

I was born and raised in Singapore.

Which means I love good food, cool weather, and hate rules. So I found myself in Amsterdam! Nah, truth is, I came here to be my unapologetic gay self. This city is perfect for misfits like me.

I never wanted to be a tour guide.

After watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover Amsterdam”, I got inspired to create an experience Tony himself would’ve enjoyed. So I dipped my toes into tourism and started as a food guide with Amsterdam’s best food tour company, the Hungry Birds Street Food Tours. A few months later, I set up Amsterdam’s best craft beer tour which has made a splash in Lonely Planet’s “Best of 2019”, TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2020, featured in KLM and the likes.  #humblebrag

I met Alexandra on a tram in 2017.

After a series of heartbreak. I’d waved dating goodbye. A few months later, on a warm July afternoon in 2017, I crossed paths with this dynamic and infectiously positive woman on a crowded tram 14. The rest is history.

I travelled through Tony Bourdain.

I grew up in a lower-income family, so I didn’t explore the world until I was in my 20s. Through him, I travelled through the screen. I love the way Tony steeped himself into the culture of every place he went to by meeting the locals, eating and drinking whatever they brought him and no-BS conversations. That’s why I named my beer tour company Brews & Tales. Nothing complicated, really good local craft beers, snacks and stories. I still fucking miss Tony.

If I were a beer....

I’d be a Triple Black IPA. A little smoky, aggressively hopped, infused with big tropical fruit flavors, that go down smooth but leaves you wanting more — with a slight buzz.

My favourite Dutch expression is "Doe normaal"

Aka be normal. Because normal is crazy enough. Growing up in a country that values the 5C’s, I love how the Dutch don’t give a damn about what you do and how much you have in your bank account, as long as you’re happy. #notacrazyrichasian

The funniest thing that's ever happened during my tour was when...

I led a craft beer tour for a mix of Amsterdam’s finest concierges from the Golden Key Association and fun captains from our partners Those Dam Boat Guys. At one of the stops, we were enjoying some beers next to a canal and talking about swimming in it. Someone from the group said, “Why not? I’ll do it right now if you give me 50 Euros.” We pooled our notes together in record time and put it on the table. Sure enough, shirt and pants off, salmon-coloured boxer shorts on. Splash! It was spring, so we rewarded and warmed him up with a celebratory stiff drink. The best part? Whenever I share this story, everyone assumes it’s one of the boat captains who dove in. It wasn’t. 

I can't say no to...

Dinner parties. Or any excuse to get together with good people to enjoy delicious food, drinks and company. Maybe it’s the Singaporean in me (food’s our love language). Mostly, it’s because growing up, my family didn’t have many visitors over at our home. Then my teenage self watched a youthful floppy-haired Jaime Oliver on TV. Having friends over, cooking for them, eating together, having a grand time. I knew then I wanted to do the same. I’ve loved connecting with people from all around the world through my tours since.

If I could go anywhere, I'd go to...

Japan! From culture, cuisine to bidet, I’m endlessly fascinated by the people. their innovation, thoughtfulness and way of life. And also, the fooooood.

I believe everyone has the right to be themselves

This live and let live attitude is why Amsterdam’s been my dream city since I was 15 and why I made it my home. Like RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell can you love somebody else?”. Can I get an Amen?

10 Fun Facts About…

Paul

Web Wizard / Strategic Sage

I'm a real “Amsterdammer”.

Tried to leave my hometown, but have not been able to find a better place. And believe me, I did my best. Amsterdam forever, it’s in my blood.

I never anticipated to work in travel.

However, I have for almost a decade. Mentoring sustainable SME companies is a very fulfilling job nowadays. My fascination for this industry came from my wife Kisa, who owned a Sales & Marketing business travel agency. For many years, I enjoyed working with her and visiting many exciting places all around the world.

David Bowie opened up my world.

Always on top of the latest and greatest and engaging fans of all ages. Until the day he passed away, he was the biggest innovator I ever encountered. Phenomenal talent.

 Listen to “Life on Mars” being played on the carillon of the Westertoren:


I met Alexandra and Rachael ....

via our joint spiritual coach Yessica, and very soon became part of the Who is Amsterdam family.

 

If I was a drink ...

I’d be an Old-Fashioned *. It’s age-related maybe. A good cocktail, surviving many decades.. Seen Mad Men? Then you know what I mean. Proost (cheers in Dutch).

 

* The old fashioned is a cocktail made by muddling sugar with bitters and water, adding whiskey, and garnishing with orange twist or zest and a cocktail cherry.

My favourite thing about living in Amsterdam is "dat alles kan".

Aka everything goes. Almost all nationalities can be found in Amsterdam: the whole world in a compact city, full of different cultures. Mixed and intertwined. With equality and mutual respect.

The funniest experience during my travels was ....

My first trip with my partner Kisa. She wanted to impress me and organized a trip to Dubai with five-star resorts and stretched limo’s. After we came to the understanding that this type of trip is not our cup of tea, we laughed and enjoyed the artificial goodness that was around. From Burj Khalifa to the biggest mall. We also decided to never do anything like this again. Keep it real.

I'm a sucker for...

Hospitality. If I go to a bar or restaurant and service is great, I not only will complement them, I will return regularly. I am a sucker for routines and nice people. Aren’t we all?

My dream destination is...

De Jordaan in Amsterdam. Yes, it’s close to home. Just let me live in a little apartment with a bar on the corner and -preferably- a view on the Westertoren. If I can reach that goal, I will feel like I’ve made it. “Bij ons in de Jordaan”.

My belief is that ...

Inclusivity is not a thing we need to speak about. It should be in the fabric of our society, because every person has multiple sides. The multi-faceted people make the city. That’s Amsterdam to me!

Got a question for any one of us?

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Can’t find your answer?

Drop us a line. We always respond. If you don’t hear from us within 48 hours (except on holidays), try again. It could’ve gone to our canned meat inbox. 

 

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