AD 2021

Algemeen Dagblad about contrarianism as an escort service operator

On September 25, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad published an article on their website in the section "Contrary" about owner Marike who operates an escort service. In the section, people who organize their lives in a different way than is customary are discussed. Marike talks about setting up an escort service and the consequences this has for her life. You can view the original article published in Dutch below, as well as an English translation.

Marike (37) has been running an escort service for fifteen years: 'Business appointments were held in a hotel lobby'

CONTRARY Diploma, study, get a job, save, buy a house, settle down. And then retire as early as possible. That may be the way it should be, but it could also be different. In this series of people who fill in their financial lives less predictably. This time Marike van der Velden (37), who founded Society Service on her 21st: a high-end escort service.

Why does a girl get into this industry?
Marike: ,,I studied business administration at Erasmus University and after my bachelor's degree I didn't know which direction I wanted to take. I don't like a 9 to 5 lifestyle and I don't like hierarchy or working under a boss. I find it easier when I am the boss and it's something I am good at. Maybe entrepreneurship would suit me, I thought. But in what? The idea of an escort service came from an other student, but she had no idea how to go about setting up a business. I did. So we started together.”

But why this industry?
,,It is accessible: you need little starting capital, no machines or stocks. And in retrospect, I think provoking is also something that played a role. I was very young, at that age you like provoking.”

How did you handle it?
,,A fellow student made our website, my business partner and I each contributed 2000 euros and we registered our company. I lived in a dorm room and my business partner still lived with her parents. Business appointments we did in the lobby of a five-star hotel. Eventually I bought her out after two years and continued on my own. I have been doing this for fifteen years now, have an office and ten freelancers who support my work. In addition, I have about sixty escorts, ladies and men.”

What do the escorts offer?
“Entertainment inside and outside the bedroom. Eroticism is part of a booking, but there is more to it, such as seduction, conversations, doing fun things such as going to museums or restaurants. But sex is in line with expectations. If you think it's just having a nice dinner with handsome rich businessmen, you are not in the right place here.”

How do you protect your escorts?
“By assessing who the client is in advance and refusing a client if necessary. Many people think that clients are dirty old men, but that is not true. They invest in a beautiful experience and enjoy being a gentleman. I ask in advance what their ideal date looks like, then what type they find attractive. It is also in my interest that the appointment goes smoothly. If you're only interested in sex, you're not at the right place with us. That would be like going to a Michelin star restaurant and ordering a BigMac."

You will not get any insurance to cover any disability, no mortgage because this is not available to people in your industry. How does that feel?
,,Vulnerable. Suppose something goes wrong. And I feel left out. Put away in an annoying way in the list of criminal practices such as arms trade, drug dealing. While my work is completely legal.”

How did you get a house without a mortgage?
“Bought it myself. When it was no longer necessary, I could suddenly get a mortgage. But insurance? Forget it. I am licensed by the government to do my job. Every five years I undergo a thorough investigation to prove that I am not misusing my business to launder money or engage in illegal activities. It takes me a lot of time to collect all the documents that are checked by the health department and the police. For fifteen years straight the screening had a positive outcome. And I still get rejected by every insurance company.”

Are you rich?
,,My favorable financial position is because I have always invested in real estate. I am now reaping the benefits of that. I drive a Fiat 500, live luxuriously but not in a villa. I could also have opted for designer bags and a Porsche, but I prefer to make wise choices.”

What do you like to spend money on?
“Life is too short to drink cheap wine. It's nice that if I want something, I can just buy it. Like recently a Big Green Egg, one of those ceramic barbecues. I like to cook, my partner loves good food and I love to enjoy fine food with my friends. That is nice luxury.”