Who: Michael Wigman
What does your function entail?
I am an extension of the reception. Reception does everything with respect to what happens within the hotel, and I take care of everything that is outside. Transport, restaurants, tickets, reservations, you name it.
How long have you been working here?
Fifteen years. I started my career as a concierge in 1988. First I worked as a buyer/planner for a big factory. I remember thinking; I am not going to do this for the rest of my life. I was suffocating between the office walls, sitting behind my computer screen, staring at a blinking cursor. So I quit and took off to Ibiza for a vacation. I ended up staying for six months. I was broke when I returned to Amsterdam. A friend’s dad had an employment agency and I was offered a job as a doorman at a 5-star hotel. There I was, standing in a long coat, with a big hat on and a sash. But somehow within three months, I was offered a job inside, as a concierge. It’s the kind of work that comes on your path, and then you never get out of it.
How do you start your day?
I arrive before 7 am. First I make sure everything looks fine, the entree, the cloakroom, and I see to it that the door gets polished. Then I start my computer and I check my emails for an hour or two, and then the hotel wakes up, life starts, guests check out, they need transport, taxis, limousines, and rapidly the day takes its course.
What is the best moment of your day?
Tough, my days are different. There is the early shift from 7 am until 3 pm and the late shift, from 3 pm to 11 pm. Both have their own charm. The morning is fast paced, things need to happen, while people tend to be a bit more relaxed near the end of the day. That is when you have a little time for chatting at the bar.
Where do you live?
I live 3 minutes from here with my 20 year old daughter. I was born and raised in Amsterdam, which is crucial when you’re a concierge. You need to know your way about town and you need to know about what’s happening, what new restaurant has opened, where to shop, what to see, where to get the best massage. And I know everything and everyone. Because of my work one of my favorite things to do is to go out for dinner and discover new restaurants. A tip for now? Bougainville, the restaurant in Hotel TwentySeven on Dam Square, is supposed to be amazing. I believe that it is currently the most expensive hotel in The Netherlands. I haven’t been there yet, but I am very curious.
Imagine; you don’t live here anymore, and you are just passing through. You have one day in Amsterdam. What do you do?
That is easy. I’ll meet with all my mates to go to Ajax. We have been going for 16 years with the same group of about 20 guys. You know how people say that friends tend to disappear as you grow older? I don’t have that problem, it’s almost the other way around… That is what it’s all about for me; my friends, my buddies.