I find that sometimes in life hasty decisions are the best decisions. My move to the Netherlands was one of these decisions. The decision was one of the bigger decisions I have had to make, to pack my bags and ship off. I can safely say that it has been an experience, and a great one at that. I moved to the Netherlands to try something that was completely foreign to me, outside my comfort zone. What better place than somewhere it snows, and they speak a different language. I recently moved to Deloitte Eindhoven, the lesser known part of the Netherlands for most South Africans. Eindhoven is in the South (South East) of the Netherlands. Why Eindhoven? Why Not!
Eindhoven is one of, if not the technological hub of the Netherlands. Situated perfectly for those who want to travel, or enjoy the beautiful city itself. Eindhoven has been a treat, with various festivals, bars, parks, sports, restaurants and much more. Eindhoven is not as touristy as Amsterdam, therefore English is not the first language that you will be greeted by, but this is nothing to worry about as 90% of people can speak English.
The office culture
Arriving in the Netherlands I imagined that there was going to be a large cultural adjustment in and out of the office. However, this was not the case. The Eindhoven office is a small tight knit community with more of a sense of family than what there was in the Johannesburg office. My colleagues have all been very welcoming and hospitable. I find the work culture slightly different to that in South Africa, however a good different. I find that there is a better work life balance in the Netherlands, and a better appreciation for time spent on assignments. My colleagues all make an effort with the language barrier all talking in English, while trying to teach me some Dutch at the same time. They are always willing to help me, both with regards to work and recommendations on places to visit and things to see in and around Eindhoven. Furthermore, being one of the first South Africans in the Eindhoven office, really got me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to really be part of the culture and get into the thick of things.
My experience in ‘The city of light’ so far
Arriving in February made sure I was right in time for Carnival, one of the largest parades/festivals in the Netherlands, something I will not soon forget. Dressing up in my bob the builder suit feeling a little over dressed, we set off. However the Carnival exceeded my expectations and I soon realized, I may have been under dressed. Thousands of people take to the streets to enjoy the festivities, in all sorts of weird and wonderful outfits, watching the floats and colorful parades while showing off their dancing skills.
I was lucky enough to see the unusual but fantastic snowy February, with frozen canals, white streets and sunny skies. The cold weather requiring a few more layers than usual, however a great time for street markets with good food and gluhwein. Eindhoven has various weekend markets. I was able to join the 2018 Deloitte Ski trip, taking to the slopes to enjoy the cool winter breeze. It was a great experience and great way to meet my colleagues. Made some good memories that I will not forget.
Additionally I have been on many runs/walks and cycles (Even my first snow cycle), within Eindhoven and can safely say that it’s nothing less than picturesque. Another great bonus about Eindhoven is where it is located. 20 minutes to Belgium, 50 minutes to Germany and only a few hours to France and plenty other places. This makes travelling really accessible, even just for a weekend away here or there. We even have a local selling biltong within the city. You can also enjoy one of the longest stretches of bars in the Netherlands, which becomes a hub of activities during the weekend as well as the week days.
My experience so far has been fantastic, and I would truly recommend the Netherlands to anyone who is ready for an adventure and a good time.
Hope to see you soon, if you have any questions, please let me know!
Fabien Gerard Langlois
I am a 26 years old, South African living in the Netherlands. Working at the Eindhoven office as a senior staff. I enjoy all sports and being active, visiting new places and meeting new people. I enjoy good food, good music and good company.