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BnB Home by Anita, is it the most sustainable BnB in The Netherlands?

March, 2018

Anita is the owner of BnB Home by Anita in Almere. She is a super host on AirBnB with over 259 reviews. This is a story of a determined woman with a dream, in a very inspiring city. Why? Find out below. 

Having everything second-hand was and is a priority.

🐼: Could you tell us the story how your entrepreneurial & sustainable journey started?

👩: When I was a small girl, I learned sustainability from my Dad as he inspired me through his garden and homegrown vegetables. I also went to the flea market with him often so I became more and more familiar with this way of living. This city, Almere is also a special place as it is the largest artificial island in the world. From WWI we suffered from the lack of food and other resources, so we Dutch live in the mentality of making sufficient use of what is available and create what should be in our perspective. I also try to live this up in my life. Fast-forward to 2013, that is when I started this AirBnB. Having everything second-hand was and is a priority. Now, every furniture you see is secondhand, apart from the bedsheets, mattresses, the washingmachine etc. So things required absolute hygiene for the guests are brand new whereas the other things are secondhand.

    ^ Almere, The Largest Artificial Island in The World
🐼: Was it easy to find all the resources?
👩: We have a platform here to discover all second-hand stuff, called marktplaats, so it is quite easy. In my BnB 99% of the interior is already completed with secondhand products. Now I am searching for second-hand materials to celebrate the typical Dutch/Western holidays for my guests.

    ^ Anita’s Sustainable BnB with All Secondhand Furnitures 
🐼: What was the biggest challenge?
👩: First was finance. I was working full-time and I had to write my business plan for the bank. Secondly was moving the furniture, but I was very happy that people could help me. In Dutch we say  1+1 =3, I really love the community around us that people would love to give a hand. 
🐼: Besides people helping you, how did you overcome the challenges?
👩: I have to say I had some sort of luck. Everything was joining together at the right time for me, great timing. The financial crisis was hit after the building was completed with furnishing. Also, focus has helped me: if you have a good idea and you want to achieve, you need to put all your energy into it with a timeframe. 7 July we signed the contract for the house and 10 July we got our first guest. I prioritized the necessities that had to be ready and worked very hard.Last but not least, I am a very intuitive person and I follow my heart. To sum up: elements make up my success are a plan, focus, working hard and intuition. Timing is important too but it is not the most crucial. 
🐼: What does sustainability mean to you?
👩: With all the international guests coming and going, you also open your eyes to the climate change everywhere in the world. Last time a guest showed us a video from Yemen, where it was 64 degrees. And in other places such as California, I really do see things are changing. In the Netherlands, 50% of the territory is below sea level right now though we have good water management system. In Venice or Bangladesh for instance, I really do not want to imagine what could happen. I think the mentality of the people should change, think for themselves, and know the value of materials. Everything has value, so instead of constantly buying and consuming, we should all be mindful with our existing stuff.
🐼:  Cool idea. We interviewed one organization in Shanghai that shred recycled plastics to fashionable products( Interview Here ). And we got to understand the process how they reuse this material. Quite inspiring. Back to your biz, what other sustainable steps are you taking in your BnB, besides second-hand furnishing?
👩:We have one recycle system for the trash with separate bins. Plastics go to the bin of plastics and organic waste goes to the bin for compost. 
🐼: Can you also tell us more about sustainbility in Almere?
👩:In 2022, there will be show centres in Almere to the world, which is a closed-loop residential area, urban farming and playground altogether. There will be exhibitions and at the same time we have already started programs in school to educate the kids. The kids think the foods are from the supermarket(!!!) . 
🐼: I also thought so… this is great! I am looking forward to receiving more materials and sharing with our community regarding the innovation in Almere.🐼:What is your ultimate goal?👩:I want to be the most sustainable BnB in the Netherlands, implying we will be fully self-sufficient with water and electricity. This means solar panels on the roof, which would require some investment though.
🐼: Great! I was surprised to read 95% of the energy in the Netherlands is still not renewable. This is one of the most innovative countries in the world. Thus I assume it is very costly to be renewable.
👩:Yes, but the cost of climate change is higher. People will start to notice more and more the impact of climate change around. We notice it here already. Before, snow was very common but now it is very rare and the weather can be so extreme. 
🐼: I notice it too and it woke me up literally. Anyway, thanks a lot for your time Anita. I hope fellow social entrepreneurs are inspired by your story and I appreciate all you do!
👩: No problem!

Dear readers, stay tuned! Grab the front seat for the progress and vision of world exhibition centre in Almere, we will bring the insider news soon!

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