Our story

Our story about Villa Matilde could inspire you to buy this wonderful business. Together with friends and family, we have worked with our hearts and souls to turn it into a successful guesthouse.

Who are we?
Since May 1999 we, Roland Wassenaar and Mercedes Coco Pérez and our two daughters Aisa and Mila, have lived and worked at Villa Matilde. Roland was born in Delft, in The Netherlands, and he is a sports teacher, physiotherapist and Reiki master. At Villa Matilde he is the cook and the handyman. Mercedes was born in Zamora, Spain, and grew up in The Netherlands. She is a biology teacher and worked as a policy advisor in the women’s en migrant movement in the Netherlands.

Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza en Andujar
Monumento en Andujar
Entorno Parque Natural Sierra de Andujar

Moving to Spain
When our children were small, we decided to start our own business and in that way to be able to balance work and family life better. We also wanted our children to grow up in a natural environment, and Mercedes wished to go back to her old profession in nature education to promote sustainable lifestyles.
Because it was hard to buy land in the Netherlands and the work ethics are strenuous, we decided to look for a place in Spain where we could slow down and reset the balance. We wrote a business plan and looked for funding to realize our dreams.

With the help of our friends
We bought Villa Matilde with four friends. They invested in buying part of the estate and in return they receive an annual profit. All together we own the house and the land, but our friends do not take part in our business. Together we signed a contract with all our agreements.
Ten other friends loaned us money, which we were able to pay back in the course of ten years. Starting this business was thus an early form of crowd funding.
Since we started, we paid all the loans back, we paid the other owners their interest and we invested in the house and the business.
Apart from the financial help, many people came to help us out at Villa Matilde: they painted the swimming pool, repaired the buildings, took care of the animals and the vegetation and helped to set up our organic vegetable garden.

Nature education and B&B
In the beginning, our main goal was to start with a nature education centre. We organized volunteer camps, school activities, courses and excursions. We also received others who organized their own activities here, like yoga, mindfulness and Tai Chi. We were the only accommodation in the area, and we had this wonderful big house, so during the years our activities shifted towards running a B&B.
While we were building up our business, we discovered that the largest population of the Iberian lynx in the world was to be found in this area. This lynx is a wild cat species that only exists in the Iberian Peninsula. At Villa Matilde we cooperated in a four year project to preserve the lynx in Andalusia.

Casa rural en venta

Our guests
The majority of our guests (90%) come here to enjoy nature. They are bird watchers, biologists, nature photographers, experts on wild cat species and people who work all around the world in nature conservation or simply nature lovers. With them, we share this love for nature, which makes most of our contacts with guests special and personal.

Casa rural en venta
Villa Matilde is successful
We are happy to say that our choice to live and work at Villa Matilde has been a good one. Our children grew up bilingual and close to nature. They went to school in Andújar and studied in Córdoba and Seville. They have now access to the Dutch as well as the Spanish labor market.
Over the years we have built a strong and diverse professional network: with the local and regional government, in nature conservation, among trustworthy labor men, in international tourism and with our guests from all over the world, but mainly from Great Britain, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
We have been able to pay the other owners their yearly interest and we paid all the loans back. The business is healthy and stable. We have always wanted to have enough work to be able to live a good life, but it is certainly possible to expand the business.
Now that we want to retire, we would love to leave Villa Matilde in the hands of social and sustainable entrepreneurs who would like to continue this wonderful business.

Do you want more personalized information? Contact us and we will be happy to help you in any way we can. You do not have to invent anything new, you can also keep moving forward with a business idea that already works.