Sanne & Bart in Athens (by Julia Krakau)

Urban Crabs is all about our members, but as we don’t have any yet perhaps we can start by introducing the first two members of The Society of Home Office Swappers: Sanne & Bart van Poll (yes, we’re married!).

Urban Crab number 1: Sanne

Sanne has always enjoyed listening to and helping people. She was trained as an occupational therapist, but she’s been doing many odd jobs. Among her favourites: working as a bartender during her student years while talking to the regulars about their life and their (many) issues.

As community manager at Spotted by Locals from 2008 to 2022 Sanne had her dream job: keeping in touch with and assisting our community of local bloggers from 50+ countries, while working and travelling remotely most of the year. At Urban Crabs she will have the same role. Sanne is so looking forward to getting to know you all, preferably in person!

Urban Crab number 2: Bart

I’m a recovering economist and ex-management consultant and a travel addict. I have been very fortunate to be able to live in, and travel to quite a few of places around the world. I have a crush on many of the cities I visited as a co-founder of Spotted by Locals. Sanne and I have worked remote and traveled around a lot most of the years we’ve known each other. But I love Amsterdam & Athens, where we live and wake up most of the time, the most.

At Urban Crabs I’m responsible for technical projects, marketing and strategy. My strategy as a manager has always been to hide the fact that I don’t have any specific skills by surrounding myself with team members who are much smarter than I am. At Urban Crabs I work with a team of brilliant location independent freelance specialists (designers, programmers, legal people) around Europe who are doing an amazing job.

Even more important will be our community members. I can’t wait to learn and work with all of you to make The Society of Home Office Swappers the best and must trusted home exchange community for digital nomads!

Why did we start Urban Crabs?

Our tiny but very central Amsterdam apartment

Obviously for selfish reasons… A place where we would meet and connect with trusted and like-minded digital nomads and stay at their homes for free didn’t exist, so we thought we’d built it!

On our frequent travels as remote workers we must have stayed in at least a hundred Airbnb apartments. Airbnb was once a wonderful place to connect with locals, but this has changed. Their huge success has caused unaffordable rents and a disruption of neighbourhoods. We see it happening from our windows of our apartments in the center of Amsterdam & Athens. We were looking for more affordable, less disruptive and most of all more local places to stay on our travels.

The home exchange websites that are out there are doing an amazing job, but they were created for families swapping their houses (often outside big cities) during holiday periods. We don’t have children, and we prefer traveling when others don’t. And when we travel for work, we prefer to stay in cities. We know there are many people out there like we are, who are also looking to get in touch with locals.

Our main drive to start the Society of Home Office Swappers is our very strong belief that it is important to meet people who are different than they are. Bubbles are a real problem… In our opinion, an understanding of other cultures is a very important key to peace and prosperity. It’s been our main drive to start Spotted by Locals in 2008, and we’re hoping to take this to a next much higher level with Urban Crabs by building a much larger and more inclusive community!

Does our story sound familiar to you? Are you also interested in joining a lovely international community while enjoying free accommodation all over Europe? Do you have friends in big cities who may be interested in joining us? Please spread the word and get in touch with us. We can’t wait to meet you, or host you in our tiny but extremely central Amsterdam apartment!