Meet Niek and Frank and Maarten
Working at Westcord Hotels

Meet Niek and Frank and Maarten

Meet Niek and Frank and Maarten

Niek Strous, Frank Tuhusula, and Maarten van Amerongen have been good friends for many years. They met during their time at the Hotel School in Leeuwarden and have remained close ever since. Coincidentally, they all currently work as General Managers at different WestCord hotels: Niek at The Market Hotel in Groningen, Maarten at Hotel Arsenaal in Delft, and Frank at Hotel Jakarta in Amsterdam. Despite living in different parts of the Netherlands, they talk to each other about three times a week. We talked to them about their special friendship.

How did you guys meet?

Niek: 'We have to go back to our student days for that. There are different opinions on exactly when and how we met, haha. I met Frank during the introduction week of our studies at the Hotel School in Leeuwarden. One day, a group of us new students were in a bar, and I ordered a meter of beer with another guy I happened to know from before. Frank saw that and immediately came over to us. "I see you guys are thirsty," he said. And he never left.'

Frank: 'Haha, not at all. The truth is, we started with a pub crawl. There were nine pubs and a snack bar where you could start. We started at the snack bar, and you have to imagine, there were ten of us at a table who didn't know each other. I went outside for some fresh air and to smoke a cigarette, and Niek happened to come along. That was our first contact.'

Niek: 'The meter of beer came later that day, haha.'

Maarten: 'I joined a bit later. When the study really started, I took the train from Veenendaal to Leeuwarden. I saw Frank sitting there – I knew him by face since we were both born in Veenendaal – and that's how it started for us. Eventually, this group of friends formed. I only lasted a year in the study, but I've always kept seeing these guys!'

What characterizes your friendship?

Niek: 'We have a lot of fun together. We often hang out, plan dinners, play card games, or go to the pub together. We've also become a lot more active in sports, so nowadays, we sometimes work out together.'

Maarten: 'Yeah, cycling! With varying success, haha.'

Niek: 'Yeah, I try to keep up with the rest, but it's not always easy.'

Frank: 'Everything is a competition for us!'

What makes your friendship strong?

Frank: 'We're very loyal to each other. Even though we don't see each other very often, we still keep in touch a lot. Sometimes as much as three times a week, haha. If I'm stuck on the highway, I can always call Niek and Maarten.'

Maarten: 'Yeah, and we're very honest with each other. If something's not going well, we can easily tell each other.'

Niek: 'Besides joking around, we can also have very serious conversations with each other, for example, about work. Since we all work at WestCord, we can understand, support, or even change each other's opinions. We talk a lot about work, but I don't find that annoying.'

What's been your best memory so far?

Maarten: 'We all went to Prague together for a few days once. You can guess it: it was one big party. We drank a lot of beer there, haha.'

Frank: 'I also really enjoyed Niek's wedding!'

Niek: 'Agreed! Prague was amazing, my bachelor party was a lot of fun, and of course, my wedding too!'

It's funny that you all ended up at WestCord by chance!

Niek: 'Yeah, right? I worked at the hotel on Vlieland during my studies on weekends, and after graduating, I stayed there for a few years. When I started working full-time here, I heard that Frank had started at the WestCord Fashion Hotel in Amsterdam. It was quite a coincidence.'

Frank: 'And later on, I brought Maarten into this hotel too. During that time, we were also roommates, so we saw each other a lot. Now it's been ten years, and we've all been able to make great strides within WestCord.'

Maarten: 'In those ten years, I also worked somewhere else briefly, but I'm back now, and I'm very happy about that. It's a great organization to work for. It's young, dynamic, and warm.'

Niek: 'Communication here is very fast. With just one phone call, you can make a big decision happen. I really like that.'

What advice would you give to other groups of friends?

Niek: 'Respect each other.'

Frank: 'Always be there for each other.'

Maarten: 'Pay attention to each other, keep reaching out to each other.'