Cityden – How it all began
From two boys who were practically always arguing, to running a successful business together. Life can take unexpected turns. Peer Aldenhoven (38) and Dirk-Jan van Eeuwen (38) met each other about twenty-five years ago, at their high school in Schijndel, North Brabant.
They were and will always remain two entirely different people, in their own words. Now they are sitting brotherly side to side on the office stairs, memorizing the beginning of Cityden, one of the most successful hotel apartment providers in the Netherlands. “Sometimes you just have to go for it. That is exactly what we did.”
How it all started
We start off with a walk down memory lane. How they became friends? Dirk-Jan and Peer gaze at each other for a brief moment and then start to laugh. “It might have something to do with our shared love for parties and fun in general. One way or another, we were always enjoying ourselves.” They remained in touch, even when their paths separated and Dirk-Jan went to study in Utrecht and Peer in Amsterdam. “We kept visiting each other and eventually we even lived together for a while in a student house in Utrecht. That worked out surprisingly well.”
Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if’
The collaboration on a business level has developed gradually. Before they decided to join forces, Peer had a job in finance at a well-known multinational. Not an easy decision to give up the certainty of a permanent job, but Peer wanted to feel the excitement of starting a business and was ready to take a deep dive into the unknown. For Dirk-Jan it was actually a logical turn of events, since he had already started for himself in the small-scale development of real estate. The support from family and friends strengthened their perseverance and helped them turning dreams into reality. Cityden was born.
Fall and rise up again
But, not all went smoothly at first. Their initial project was a building at a close distance from the famous Carré Theater. They bought it, renovated it and tried to sell it. But, the market was not steady at the moment, to say it mildly. Long story short: it did not work out as planned. It was a setback for them and they began doubting their business model. They got in touch with accommodation website Booking.com, who underlined the high demand for short stay apartments in Amsterdam. Peer and Dirk-Jan decided to take a different approach and placed the apartment on Booking.com. They decorated the apartments entirely themselves, with the help of their mothers and girlfriends. “The demand was huge, the reservations kept on coming. We then started to realize that this could actually work out very well.”
Learning is a continuous process
Cityden now exits for about seven and a half years. The label Cityden has 45 serviced apartments throughout the city centre of Amsterdam, better known as Cityden Residences, a hotel apartment complex in Amstelveen called Cityden Up and by the end of 2018 the latest addition Cityden The Garden will open its doors. In total, Cityden offers nearly 250 apartments throughout Amsterdam and Amstelveen. Their vision? “Of course we have a dot on the horizon, a focus point. But we do not tend to think in five or ten year plans. Our main focus is 2020. By that time, we will have opened four locations in the biggest cities of the Netherlands. From there on, we will expand ourselves further. Then it is time to go abroad.”
Cityden The Garden
Their eyes light up when they talk about the newest addition to the Cityden family: The Garden. This will be an unique hotel apartment complex that offers best of both worlds. Guests will have the luxuries of a hotel – complete with a fitness area, wellness, meeting rooms, restaurant – and at the same time the convenience of an apartment with a private kitchen. Restaurant Lucia’s will be all about bringing an unique Mediterranean experience to guests. The most unique aspect is definitely the location; next to the vibrant city centre of Amstelveen, close to the Zuidas business district, and at a short (tram) ride from everything that Amsterdam has to offer. The building is realised according to Feng Shui guidelines, a pseudoscience that originates from China and stands for harmony. It fits the Cityden motto ‘find your balance’ quite perfectly.
At Cityden The Garden, guests will find a perfect balance between service, luxury and sustainability. It is all about creating unique experiences around everything The Garden has to offer, whether it involves working, relaxing, eating, drinking or playing. “Whether guests stay with us for business or pleasure, they will leave us feeling recharged, inspired and most of all: in balance.”
Cityden The Garden is now open for reservations and will be fully operational from September 2018 onwards.