An Interview with Veroniek Maat from Accessible Travel Netherlands

An Interview with Veroniek Maat from Accessible Travel Netherlands

3 min read

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Veroniek Maat, the founder of Accessible Travel Netherlands. Accessible Travel Netherlands is an Amsterdam-based travel agency specialised in accessible (custom) tours and travel arrangements throughout The Netherlands. Read on to find out about the exciting things this travel agency offers in Amsterdam and beyond:

First of all, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Veroniek Maat, I’m 32 years old, and the founder of Accessible Travel Netherlands. I live in Amsterdam together with my boyfriend and 2-year-old daughter.
I have a Bachelor and Master degree in Tourism. As part of my Master’s degree, I completed an internship in New Zealand at the NZ Tourism Research Institute. It was here that I learned about accessible tourism, and it immediately caught my attention. In the years that followed, I got involved in various national and international projects to develop tourism opportunities for people with a need for improved accessibility.
What motivated you to start Accessible Travel Netherlands?
While working on accessible tourism projects,  I realised there was very little information available about the accessibility of tourism venues, tours and activities in The Netherlands. Then, towards the end of my Master’s degree in 2010, I visited the World Travel Market in London. Travel agents at the time told me they had no local contact person in The Netherlands to organise accessible travel services for them.
“Without trustworthy information and advice, it’s very difficult for someone with a specific impairment to arrange a care-free holiday.”
Over the years, I also got to know a few people living with limited mobility. I realised that without trustworthy information and advice, it’s very difficult for someone with a specific impairment to arrange a care-free holiday. All of these experiences combined motivated me to become a travel agent & inbound tour operator.
Accessible Travel Netherlands has since grown in its size, network and expertise. Our team currently consists of two steady employees, one intern and two graduate students.
What does Accessible Travel Netherlands offer?
Accessible Travel Netherlands arranges holidays for single travellers, couples, families, and groups. We offer a variety of services, from complete holiday packages with a daily programme from 9 am to 9 pm, to mobility equipment hire and care services. The most common bookings include accessible hotel room bookings, guided walking tours of Amsterdam, excursions to the countryside, mobility equipment hire and airport transfers.
“… a tour of Amsterdam, a cheese making workshop, a clog decorating workshop, a visit to the Heineken Experience …”
Since 2018, we also offer holidays in Amsterdam for people with a visual impairment. Accessible activities during such a holiday include a tour of Amsterdam, a cheese making workshop, a clog decorating workshop, a visit to the Heineken Experience, and various outdoor beach activities.
Aside from trips in and around Amsterdam, Accessible Travel Netherlands organises tours to The Hague, Rotterdam, and the windmills at Kinderdijk. I love to research and visit new destinations, so if clients are keen on visiting other places in The Netherlands (or Belgium) I’m always happy to create a custom itinerary.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

My favourite thing to offer in Amsterdam is the private guided city tour. On a day like that I really get to know our clients (or travellers, as I prefer to call them). It’s great to know we put a smile on their faces and give them a care-free experience.
Do you have any favourite accessible places in Amsterdam?
My favourite places are the A’DAM Lookout, the Stadsschouwburg restaurant, the Beurs van Berlage, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum (mostly for the awesome book store!)

Can you tell me about your future plans?

For 2019, we aim to improve and expand our services for people with a visual impairment. This would include guidance during the day as well, so people with sight loss or people who are blind can visit Amsterdam independently.
“In the next four years, I aim to become an accessible travel expert for more destinations, especially Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.”
Personally,  this year I’m also involved in creating opportunities for people with distance to the labour market, to work as a tour guide or representative in the field of tourism. In the next four years, I aim to become an accessible travel expert for more destinations, especially Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.
Do you have any final tips for mobility aid users visiting Amsterdam?
Start off your trip with a canal cruise of Amsterdam — it’s a great way to get a first glimpse of the city. I also recommend taking a look at our brochure with 5 accessible itineraries in Amsterdam. We created the brochure a few years ago, but the city hasn’t changed much!
I’d like to thank Veroniek for taking the time to chat with me!  For more information about Accessible Travel Netherlands, please visit  www.accessibletravelnl.com

If you’re interested in making a booking with Accessible Travel Netherlands, send an email to info@accessibletravelnl.com, message their Facebook or Instagram page, or call +31 (0) 20 2612 696

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Josephine Rees

My name is Josephine Rees (1993) and I am Dutch-British. I was raised in Tokyo and Moscow and moved to The Netherlands to study Anthropology & Human Geography in 2012. After briefly living in Thailand and Cambodia, I am now based in Amsterdam. I love exploring this beautiful city and hope to help others by sharing exciting accessibility tips.

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