It was not just all that easy

It was not just all that easy

De Wereld Skypes weekly with an Amsterdam native living abroad.

Author: Ngala Lodge/09 January 2014/Categories: General

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De Wereld Skypes weekly with an Amsterdam native living abroad. This week: Peter Engels…

‘It wasn’t just all that easy’



“In the 1950s my father opened up his paint shop at Elandsgracht: Engels Verf. Together with my brothers, we knew to make this into a leading wholesale business with branches at among others Van Hallstraat, Joan Muyskenweg, and Victorieplein. But then the great powers began buying up the small paint factories. We merged with Akzo. That did not click. Nowadays they would say that I had a burn-out, back then they thought I had become mad. It was indeed clear that I had to go and do something else.”


Bijlmer in Africa

“Two years before, in 1993, during a holiday in The Gambia I became acquainted to a local doctor who was building a clinic. Instead of sending each other a bottle of wine for Christmas, I proposed my business relations to put some money in a fund to help that doctor. The still usable construction materials of a block of flats in the Amsterdam Bijlmer region I shipped to Africa as well, as I did with the beds and operations lights of the Boerhaave clinic that was just closed then.

On the day that I decided to quit with the paint, I had the removers pack my stuff and gave a farewell dinner; the next morning I was already on my way in the airplane.”


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