Who we are
We are Armand Nizet and Sebastiaan van Wamel, we have been together since 2002, so we have been through a lot in our lives. On this page we briefly tell you who we are, where we come from and what we have done and what we are doing now of course.
Bas was born and raised in 's-Hertogenbosch on 8 May 1972 and studied medicine in Maastricht. He has successfully completed the study of medicine for which he has done research internships in the University Medical Centre Plus Maastricht and has obtained the title of doctor in medicine.
During his time as a student in Maastricht, Bas held various student jobs. From dishwasher in the kitchen to serving on the terrace in the catering industry and even machine cleaning the underground conveyor belts at ENCI (First Dutch Cement Industry) in Maastricht.
During the last years of his student life Sebastiaan worked as a Technical Support employee at Libertel-Vodafone. There he was responsible for the technical management of the mobile network and troubleshooting network failures. In addition to his work as a Technical Support Engineer at Vodafone, he earned some extra money on the weekends as a bartender in a friend's brown cafe.
Armand was born and raised in Geleen on 5 January 1980. After primary school, he opted for technical training at the LTS, specialising in electrical engineering. After obtaining his diploma at the LTS, he then went to work for three installation companies in order to complete his professional training as an electrical engineer.
During Armand's career, he went to work for his last employer as a repair and service technician for, among others, the utility companies in Maastricht (Essent) and often visited people at home as well as the hospitality industry to repair the electricity supply.
The job at the utility company was irregular and had many evening and night shifts. On shopping evenings and weekends, there were many breakdowns to fix in Maastricht. Armand could therefore often be found in the evening in the same café where Sebastiaan was working. In this way he did not have to keep shuttling between Maastricht and Puth and could return home later in the evening when things were quiet.
Moving on together
Because Bas worked as a bartender (student job) in a small café in Maastricht and Armand came there regularly as a guest during his shift, Armand approached Bas on a Sunday afternoon in 2002 during Happy-Hour and offered him a drink, because this time Bas was not behind the bar but in front of it and he visited the café together with a friend. This marked the beginning of the relationship between Armand and Bas.
In August 2004 Armand and Bas started living together in Geleen. Bas had subscribed to an advertisement by the housing association for a rental house that usually accommodated large families. To everyone's surprise, Bas' application passed the selection and the house was allocated as of 1 August, so the adventure of "living together" could begin!
Your own company
At the end of 2004, Armand decided to quit his job and start his own business as a self-employed person. The rented house was big enough to realise a small office, a workshop and a warehouse for the one-man business. On 1 April 2005, after thorough preparation by Armand and Bas, the electrical installation company NIWA was registered at the Chamber of Commerce. By the way, the company name NIWA was invented by Bas and originated from the first two initials of the surnames of Armand (Nizet) and Bas (van Wamel).
The big move
Due to the continuing growth of the installation company and the increase in the number of employees required, the rented house in Geleen soon became too small and it was a must to start looking around for larger premises. In early 2008, Bas found suitable premises in Einighausen with a fine house, sufficient space for the offices, the showroom and a private car park at the rear with a workshop and warehouse. In August 2008, the property in Einighausen was purchased and the big move, both private and business, could begin.
Together in the installation company
After the relocation of the installation company from Geleen to Einighausen in August 2008, it was possible for the installation company to grow further. Further growth meant more staff, more company cars and, of course, more turnover. In order to ensure that the installation company could continue to grow in a healthy administrative and financial manner, Bas decided to leave his job at Vodafone in 2009 and to take care of the financial and personnel administration full-time.
Because Armand and Bas have been together, working and living together since early 2002, Armand decided in the spring of 2014 to ask Bas to marry him for 12.5 years of living together and Armand and Bas got married on 17 October 2014 in the presence of family and close friends. Armand's sister (Angie) and her husband Dimitri were asked as witnesses. It had to be an intimate and modest party and they succeeded! After the wedding ceremony, we had a delicious lunch in Sittard and in the evening there was a small party at home where the neighbours were also welcome.
The eyes opener
In the summer holidays of 2018, Armand and Bas decided not to book an all-inclusive holiday but to hire a camper van to travel around France for 10 days. While travelling in the Périgord-Vert, the green Dordogne, Armand and Bas passed a small watermill in Saint-Mesmin which was for sale and looked deserted. That same day they contacted the estate agent and a viewing was immediately scheduled for the following day. During the viewing the next day, the eyes and ears of Armand and Bas were opened by the idea that, apart from running a business with a standard 80 to 90 hour working week, another life is also possible by following your dreams. On the day of the visit, Armand had resolved to find a new challenge before his 40th birthday and so the seed had been planted to quit the installation company.
First house hunt in France
In the autumn holidays of 2018, Armand and Bas decided to go house hunting in France and further develop their plans for the future. To experience for themselves what it is like to stay in a holiday home, a gîte was rented from Dutch people is the same region. During the house hunt, many properties were visited but Armand's preference was for an old watermill because the property to be bought must be exciting and challenging. No suitable watermill was found during the autumn holidays, so the next holiday would be planned in the spring of 2019.
Preparations for business termination
In order to make the immigration to France possible, it was necessary to find a suitable partner who would be willing to take over the company's activities completely, this including all customers, contracts and employees and that Armand and Bas could get out of it with a closed exchange. At the end of 2018, Armand approached an international party for a no-obligation meeting to discuss a possible takeover of customers and staff. The party approached was interested in the closed acquisition, so a second meeting was held in February 2019 to discuss the details. The meeting went well, the wishes of Armand and Bas were listened to and the party was prepared to take over the company the way Armand and Bas envisioned it. None of the customers should be short-changed and none of the staff should lose out, and all with no money changing hands.
Second house hunt in France
Now that a suitable takeover party had been found, the house hunting could continue! Despite all preparations for a "new" life, there was also a company to keep running. Every free hour that Bas could find he started to search the internet for a suitable watermill. The weeks and months passed but in April 2019 Bas made a list of about five watermills that caught his attention and were interesting to start a new adventure. At the end of April, Armand and Bas drove to France and rented a gîte there to visit the five properties on the list together with the brokers.
Shot in the rose!
The list with watermills was crossed off from top to bottom and from the first four watermills there was only one that might be interesting but just didn't have the "wow factor". The last object on the list was for sale as a country house and not as a watermill, Bas had added this object to the list with the idea of looking "further" than just watermills. It was a good move by Bas and a bull's-eye! When we arrived on the spot, it indeed turned out to be a country house, but one on a domain with a watermill, a private reservoir and woods. Armand and Bas were both sold and found their new "life"!
Who doesn't dare, who doesn't win!
On 5 May 2019, Armand and Bas made an offer on the "Country House" of "Le Domaine du Moulin Neuf 1605" in the French Dordogne which had been for sale for 7 years. The bid made by Armand and Bas was an all-in bid and therefore a gamble with all additional costs included, this is highly unusual in France as there are always additional costs on top of a bid made as is the case in the Netherlands. 2 days later the bid was accepted and the paper mill could start turning! The following weeks and months a lot of paperwork had to be arranged for the French notary, a French bank account had to be opened and the new insurances had to be taken out online. The final deed of sale would pass sometime in November 2019, giving plenty of time to organise the move.
Now that the offer for the "country house" in France had been accepted and the takeover party for the company had been found, the preparations for the company transfer could begin. It was a hectic period with a lot of stress during which even more discussions took place with the takeover party. Armand and Bas ensured that all clients and contracts would be taken over and that no one would be short-changed. As a condition for the employees, Armand and Bas stated that they could only be taken over against even better employment conditions, a salary increase and more holidays! On 1 October 2019, the company transfer took place after which Armand and Bas both have their hands "free" for immigration to France.
When preparing for immigration, the first thing to do, of course, is to sell the house. For many people the house is a detached house, a corner house or a semi-detached house which are relatively standard and easy to sell. For Armand and Bas, "the house" was anything but standard because there was also a business space, offices and workshop with car park to sell, after all, the old business was at home in the village of Einighausen between Sittard and Geleen. Luck was on Armand and Bas' side, even before the house was put on the market and the sale of the company was the talk of the town, a buyer was already at the door: I heard that you are going to sell, I offer the asking price! The first house was sold and the deed was to be executed before the end of the year. After the sale of the house in Einighausen there was still a second house to be sold, the square farmhouse in Puth (Schinnen). The sale of this farmhouse had already started in the spring of 2019 but was slow because the estate agent was not honest and a bad salesman. Eventually it was decided to switch brokers and with that a buyer from Maastricht was quickly found with whom the sale was arranged in July 2020.
In between the sale of the houses, a removal had to be arranged and an exceptional transport for the tractor of Armand including the machines and the Jeep of Bas. The transport of the tractor, the machines and the Jeep were finally arranged via-via by Leo de Haas, who set up his own transport company after his career as presenter of Blik op de weg. Leo also made a vlog of this special transport on 4 and 5 November 2019 and a video on YouTube. Armand and Bas decided to organise the removal of the household effects themselves and to hire a truck and a moving van. The truck and the moving van would have to make two trips to France to move the entire contents. The first transport would take place in November 2019 and the second in December so that the entire contents would be in France before Christmas.
The French notary
On 6 November 2019, the final purchase contract had to be signed at the notary in France, Armand and Bas travelled to France for this one day earlier. The previous occupant already allowed Armand and Bas to stay in the house and the first night on the property was exciting! New unfamiliar sounds, a sooty night and a cold big house with a strange bed. The day of signing had arrived, arrived at the notary there appeared to be a problem with the digital file and the deed of sale had to be signed by hand in quadruple by all parties. With the purchase of a 25-hectare estate, including the lake and the houses, you can imagine that this was quite a thick pack of papers and you could fill a file with it. Hours later than planned, at the end of the afternoon, the key was received and Armand and Bas became domain owners.
The big clean-up
After signing the deed of sale at the French notary and the first night on the domain, Armand and Bas decided to stay in France for a fortnight and in that period to clean the house so that it could be lived in when the final move took place in December. The house was dirty, the kitchen was filthy and everywhere there were mice and mouse droppings. The old stone bread ovens had been used as a toilet by the previous occupant's cats and there was a thick layer of faces in them. Bas spent days scrubbing the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom to get them clean so that they could be used without getting sick. Armand occupied himself with emptying the first removal truck from the Netherlands that had also arrived so that the first part of the contents could be unloaded and stored. The new house did not yet feel like the new home, the family was not yet complete, the two dogs Scooter and Vespa as well as the cat Doerak were still in the Netherlands.
I am leaving
The big cleaning has been done and the first removal van has already returned to the Netherlands. After two weeks of hard work Armand and Bas drove back to the Netherlands in mid-November 2019 to load the last removal van and empty the house for the delivery and the signing at the notary. For friends and family, a farewell lunch has been organized on 14 December at Frans Diederen's in Puth and on 18 December the departure to France is planned, there was still so much to be done while the days flew by, the energy ran out and work continues until deep into the night.