Meet Hans, a host in Rotterdam, Netherlands and one of Couchsurfing’s most active hosts. A cyclist, racewalking judge, and economics teacher, Hans has hosted over 800 surfers from dozens of countries around the world since 2014.
The best way to get to know Hans is through the hundreds of references from his grateful guests:
- “What else can I say about the guy with more than a 1000 references that hadn’t been said already? Well I guess that I can say that if get hosted by him you can count yourself lucky, because Hans is definitely one of the most generous hosts I’ve ever met, he is unbelievable.
- “Hans is amazing. He truly embodies the idea of “what we have, we have to share.””
- This was a life-changing CS experience. Hans has been one of the most helpful and kindest person we’ve met or spoken to on any of our trips.
- “Riding a bike on a Erasmus bridge is the best way of realizing how beautiful the life is. Thanks to Hans, my stay in Rotterdam was simply amazing.”
Hans first discovered Couchsurfing while renting his house to tenants: a Polish student renting one of his rooms mentioned the site, and encouraged Hans to sign up. It wasn’t until a while later that Hans hosted his first surfer, while he had a temporary vacancy in one of his rooms. Ever since, he’s hosted Couchsurfers just about every chance he gets.
For Hans, “all hosting experiences are different. Some surfers come with a list of things to do or see,” while others are eager for some help figuring out the best places to explore.
“My favorite hosting experiences typically include a bike ride to the 18th century Windmills in Kinderdijk. On the way back, we take a boat (called the Waterbus). I also love to bike around the center of Rotterdam with my guests, and show the highlights of the city.”
As for why he loves to host, Hans points to how quickly strangers can become close friends. “My favorite part about hosting is the connection you create with Couchsurfers,” says Hans. “Although you hardly know each other, sometimes you find yourself talking about things that you would maybe not ever share with your very best friends.”
His advice to new members, or those considering hosting their first surfer? “Don’t hesitate! Couchsurfers are the most open-minded, positive, and thoughtful people that you can imagine.”
While Hans hosts much more often than he surfs, he does get a chance to explore new cities through his volunteer work as a racewalking judge in competitions around the world. In September, he’ll be a judge in China, and in February, a judge in Ghana. “The organizers of the competition typically offer me accommodation, but during my last visit to Kenya I used Couchsurfing as a way to meet up with local hosts. That was a great experience,” say Hans.
And what does Rotterdam’s most active host have to share about his city? “It’s a surprising place,” says Hans.
Rotterdam is a port-city, the largest port in all of Europe. “The architecture is amazing,” Hans says. “World War II completed destroyed the city center, and rather than rebuild the city as-is, the city opted to start all over. There’s a few pre-war buildings (the Town Hall, and the White House amongst them), which you won’t want to miss.”
As for what to do during your stay, “going through the Maas Tunnel, the oldest tunnel in the country is a must-do. Don’t forget the monument of Lost Luggage (which symbolizes what you leave behind when you leave for another country) and the Fenix Food Factory.”