Where were you based before Amsterdam?
At age 21, freshly graduated from event management, I literally had no idea what to do. But I was damn sure of two things. I was not going to work in event management and I hated the idea of being in an office for 40 hours. So when a friend invited me to become a bike messenger, I jumped in. Being on the bike for 40 hours a week in and around hilly Maastricht (the most southern city of The Netherlands) was so much fun. It made me very clear-minded and forced me to think about my future and development.
It was at this time, that a designer friend asked me to collaborate on the design blog he just started. It was great to work together with someone who was able to design and code. We talked about design, content, and inspiration while exchanging new ideas and functionalities for the website. I wrote most blog posts and noticed that I really enjoyed it. At one point I stopped and googled: ‘writing for the web as profession’. Obviously, the term ‘copywriting’ popped up and I knew I found my future job.
Why do you choose to move to live/work in Amsterdam?
I moved to Amsterdam because of friends, love and a better chance of becoming successful at copywriting. After a 6 week copywriting course, I felt like I could land any job. I could not. The lack of experience and education brought me back to reality. So I got a side job and started building my portfolio as a freelance copywriter. It was the way to go because no one asks for your education if you have a kick-ass portfolio right?
Give us a history of the companies you’ve worked for in the past
I was lucky enough to land a few big names in my first two years. I think my biggest (psychological) breakthrough was writing a landing page for BMW. It pushed my professional self-esteem and I suddenly felt ready to send my portfolio over to agencies and companies I had been following.
Now five years in the game, I would say that Culture, Tech and Start-ups are my main domains. I wrote for MessageBird, Philips, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, TWOFIFTYK, Zalando and Eastpak among others.
What skills/specialisms do you offer clients that other writers in Amsterdam don’t?
Because of the design blog collaboration before my freelance career, I developed a designers’ eye for words. So I naturally rolled into web copy and UX copywriting. But since last year, I made about 5 or 6 video/animation scripts. It’s such a creative way of working with words and I would love to expand my experience as a scriptwriter.
Is it easy to be a freelance copywriter in Amsterdam? Do the government help freelancers a lot?
I actually live in Berlin at the moment but still visit Amsterdam regularly. The Dutch government is great for freelancers, especially compared to the German situation. In Germany, a lot of things feel unnecessarily complicated. There’s an offline form for everything. UX makes me cry.
What is the best thing about being a copywriter in Amsterdam?
The advantage of having a professional network in two major cities is obvious. Next to that, I think that both Berlin and Amsterdam have a huge fun factor. People are open-minded and free to enjoy whatever it is they enjoy.
What is the piece of work (ad, brochure, website) you’re most proud of and why?
Late 2018, I had the honour of creating the concept and script for the 2018 wrap-up video of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
When I dug into Stedelijk’s history, I found out that their mission is to understand past, present, and future through art. So that’s when the concept of time started to stick. After all, 2018 is just another measurement of time. I started to wonder what time is, and what it means to us by reading articles on philosophy. After writing the first draft, I connected each sentence to a few projects, making a meaningful connection between words and images.
This was an almost carte blanche project on creative terms, which was scary as hell. You never know if you picked the right direction, you know? But when I sent over V1, everyone was hyped and I was happy.
Another project that I’m proud of is the new website for The Main Ingredient, a startup studio that co-creates or co-founds startups. I worked in close collaboration with the designer; maximizing the synergy between copy and design from the first drafts.
What is your favourite client you’re working on right now? Where are they based? What do they do? How do you help?
I’m currently working for æternity blockchain in Berlin, writing UX copy for their decentralized apps. Blockchain tech faces huge UX and design challenges. I am figuring out how much to show, explain and educate the user. It will take us years to understand the eventual influence of this technology on our daily lives.
Plus any other interesting info or anecdotes you’d care to share
The thing I like most about my job is the need for a broad range of interests and social skills. I always enjoy diving into a domain that is new to me, which was the case for investing, blockchain, spirituality, and inclusivity to name a few. Every job learns me something that positively affects my life. Copywriting broadens my mind and pays my bills. Priceless.