DUTCHMAN IN SPAIN, SPANIARD IN HOLLAND
The Dutch have traditionally tried their luck abroad. This has made “The Netherlands” both greater and smaller at one and the same time: adventurers who travelled the seven seas in search of trade and other activities. Even to this day, our compatriots remain entrepreneurs throughout the world. We have an example in Marbella, on the sunny Costa del Sol in Spain. You can find every kind of business sector in this city, from water sports and hotel and catering to real estate and the health and fitness industry. And also companies specialising accountancy affairs and legal and tax matters. A fine example is Wim Lamers, co-founder and co-owner of Arcos & Lamers Asociados.
Legal, tax and accountancy areas.
Very close to Marbella Old Town, you will find the office of Arcos & Lamers Asociados. This law firm was opened in 2004 by our compatriot Wim Lamers and his Spanish business partner, María Teresa Arcos Morales. Together they form the foundation of the company, with Wim working in the Tax and accountancy field and Maria Teresa in the legal field. Arcos & Lamers Asociados is a company made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals from the Costa del Sol, which includes lawyers, economists, accountants and tax advisors from Marbella. At the present time, the company has 9 employees: four lawyers, three accountants, and specialists in the fields of economics, real estate and business administration. “The company offers a broad range of expertise and specialist knowledge, with the assistance of a team of lawyers, business consultants and tax and financial advisors”, says Wim Lamers. “From a qualified, professional and personalised perspective, we advise and assist our clients in matters relating to their legal, tax and financial affairs. This marks us out from our competitors, who mostly work in a one-dimensional way. Our key words are: confidentiality, integrity and independence, with clear and trustworthy answers.”
Wim Lamers, a highly successful Dutch entrepreneur in Spain, first visited this sunny region when he was still a 12-year-old boy, when he came here with his parents in 1984. “They had a small hotel in Nijmegan and just a holiday home in Marbella”, says Lamers. “I often used to come to Marbella after my parents decided to sell their business and settle in Spain to enjoy the rest of their retirement. And you can do that here. At the beginning of spring, for example, you can ski in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and in the afternoon you can be sunbathing on the beach. The climate is wonderful.”
Wim’s two sisters stayed in Holland, while he enrolled in an international school. At first he found it hard to get used to, despite having come to Spain on several occasions. But after three months of intensive Spanish courses, he was managing pretty well. Spanish was the main language at the international school. And school days were long, with classes from nine in the morning until half past five in the afternoon. Wim then went on to study at university for five years. He graduated as an Economist from the University of Malaga at the age of twenty-five.
Seeing things in perspective
Lamers continues: “When I finished my studies, I tried to find a job in Spain. I was a Dutchman who could speak several languages: Dutch, English, German, and now Spanish. Apart from their native language, Spanish people generally only speak English. I realised I had a bit of an advantage in this area. I also observed that here in Spain they fail to see things from a wider perspective like we do in Holland. Here in Spain, experience is an important factor, and I didn’t have any. So I accepted my first job offer so as to get experience. I was manager of a company that sells golf buggy’s. It only lasted three months as I was soon offered a job in a medium-size law firm. I didn’t need much time to make up my mind as this area of work was much more related to my university training. I gained a lot of experience there, and I made a lot of good contacts. And most importantly, it was when I met María Teresa Arcos. We worked really well together, and when the time was right we decided to set up Arcos & Lamers Asociados. This train of life had passed in front of me 11 years previously and I didn’t think twice about jumping onboard. We have built up a large network in the fields of law, tax and financial affairs. We have been very successful from the very beginning. After only one month, we were able to employ a secretary, and our firm quickly grew to become a firm with nine employees.”
Wim Lamers says he feels like a subtropical fish in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and adds: “We belong to Lawyers’ Associations and Professional Associations for economists. We work a great deal with financial advisors, with whom we have established a mutually beneficial and strengthening network of contacts. We are also members of the Marbella Dutch Business Club and the British Chamber of Commerce, among others.”
Finding and keeping clients
“Entrepreneurs remain entrepreneurs no matter where they are, but in Spain things work in a different way from Holland. There the market is small, so we have to focus on providing an excellent service. When quality drops we immediately notice a drop in income. As entrepreneurs our job is to be creative. We seek out our clients and work to build loyalty, maintaining excellent relationships, organising seminars and conferences for various companies, and reaching out to other entrepreneurs with roots in England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France and Scandinavia. We do a lot of work for Dutch and Belgian people that have or are looking for a house here in Spain, or that have or want to start a business in Spain. We advise them on financial, tax, legal and work-related matters. Arcos & Lamers Asociados also specialises in accounting for holdings or commercial companies operating under any legal form.”
Planning from week to week
A Dutchman in Spain, a Spaniard in Holland. That’s how Wim Lamers feels. He tells us: “Of course I keep up to date with what’s going on in Holland, watching the TV and reading the Dutch newspapers, and through conversations with my compatriots and my family in Holland. But right now I don’t have any plans to return to Holland for good. When I come back,” he says, “from a visit to Holland, I once again fall in love with the special quality of life here in Spain. It’s great to know I never have to look at the weather forecasts and to know how appealing I find the culture of the people and how much I love their idiosyncrasy.” Although he does confess, “I’ve had to get used to the fact that, for example, the Spanish plan ahead much less than the Dutch. Here you can only get an appointment 2 or 3 weeks in advance, never several months in advance. That would be unthinkable. On the other hand, when it comes to social relationships, the Spanish are more affectionate. When a man and a woman greet each other, they kiss cheeks, which is really common in Spain.”
Wim Lamers says that he doesn’t feel homesick for his country, although he admits he occasionally misses Belgian and Dutch food. A delicious fresh herring is hard to find here. But he tells us that every two months he goes to Belgium or Holland, and can satisfy his cravings there.
- Accountant in Spain, Accountant Marbella, Lawyers in Marbella, Property Lawyer in Marbella,