Travel guidebooks were behind the times (even in 2008!) and they drove Spotted by Locals co-founders Sanne and Bart van Poll crazy. On city breaks, the outdated paperbacks brought them to touristy highlights, last year’s nightlife venues and defunct spots that no longer existed.
The Amsterdam-based duo finally got their trip back on track when, on a city break, they stumbled upon the personal blog of a local who wrote about his favorite spots in the city.
As two travel addicts, Sanne and Bart saw the need to replace traditionalist, conformist travel recommendations with insider tips by locals, for travelers who want to experience cities like a local.
Halfway between practical and idealistic, Sanne and Bart made the decision to quit their jobs in 2008 and venture across Europe for six months to find locals who wanted to join their dream project.
Spotted by Locals began as an Amsterdam city blog written by locals called Spotters. Spotters live in the city they write about, speak the local language, write only about their favorite spots and keep their recommendations up-to-date.
Since 2008, Spotted by Locals has expanded rapidly – first from Amsterdam to Zurich in Europe, and then from coast to coast in America. In 2011, 100% offline mobile apps for iPhone and Android were introduced for travelers on-the-go.
There are now 79 city guides across North America, Europe and the Middle East.
Every Spotter is handpicked by Sanne and Bart, who still lead a nomadic life traveling up to six months a year to meet each of the 475 city-loving locals at their favorite spots around the world.
Through each city guide, Sanne, Bart and the Spotters worldwide share the local culture and habits of each city. We believe that expanding the worldview of travelers by allowing them to see from a local’s perspective can increase intercultural understanding, which helps make the world a better place.
In 2018 we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. In this increasingly polarized world we are more determined than ever to keep growing our movement!