Posts Tagged ‘emigration’

A few months ago, I interviewed Katja Berkhout, Area Director of Boston for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). We talked for almost two hours. About her decision to move to Boston with her husband and daughter, cultural differences, her objectives as an Area Director and lots of other things. But what really impressed me, were the examples she gave me of companies from Massachusetts that decided to establish an office in the Netherlands and use it as a gateway to Europe.

Katja’s main goal is to help companies from New England and eastern Canada establish their European operations in the Netherlands. She provides them with the necessary information and connects them to valuable networks and institutions in Holland. Through benchmarking and case studies, her team brings the benefits of a location in the Netherlands to light. For example, the Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace estabilished its European service center at Schiphol,  because of its central location in relation to customers. And Vistaprint chose for an office in the south of Holland, near the Belgium and German border, due to the quality of the distribution infrastructure of that area and the competitive tax rates in our country. For the life science industry, the quality and availability of skilled employees in our country can be decisive. At least, for the MA-based biotech giant Genzyme it was.

Today the interview with Katja Berkhout was published on one of the mayor career sites in the Netherlands, intermediair.nl (in Dutch).


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mixed identitiesAs you may have noticed, I’ve been away for a while. In the first two weeks of May I flew back to the Netherlands, since my family was expanded by two new, little creatures which I wanted to visit. It was wonderful: the weather was great, it felt good to be close to my family again and I met up with friends.

However, walking around in my old neighborhood, dropping by at what I once called the office and talking with friends over diners and drinks, can feel pretty weird as well. There’s not a place that you call home anymore and you’re a visitor in your own country. This makes you realize that you had it all: a career, your own apartment and a great social life in Amsterdam.. But I gave it all up, which made my visit hard as well.

Small steps
On the other hand, it really made me want to go back to Boston, to be able to work on my long term plans again. To continue building my new network and exploring the local industries in Boston. I couldn’t wait to look for new assignments, jobs or projects in the communication, PR or social media field. Since my new me, had to focus on building a life on the other side of the ocean. After several weeks of searching on the web, visiting network events and a drink with a well-known entrepreneur in Boston, the first steps are made.

To be continued..

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On the 4th of April I received a long awaited document. My employment authorization document arrived 76 days after I applied. A  few days later, I went to the Field Office to apply for my Social Security Number, which was delivered one week later. In total, it took me a little less than 3 months to get them both. So from now on, thanks to my J2-visa, I am eligible to work in the USA.

I will start as a self-employed copywriter and PR consultant. Hoping that in the near future I will get to know the local markets clustered around Harvard and MIT a little more.

I’ll keep you posted.

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What was I expecting before we left Amsterdam and moved to Boston? I didn’t really have a clear picture in my head. The only thing I thought of was that it probably would feel like being on a holiday in the first two or three weeks. Since we had so many things to arrange before we could actually leave, arriving on the other side of the ocean would give us some sort of relief as well. Did it really? (more…)

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Woensdag 19 januari heb ik een stapel kopieën en formulieren opgestuurd naar the US Department of Homeland Security. Blij dat ik in Amsterdam nog zo helder van geest ben geweest om een uittreksel van ons huwelijk te halen overigens. Als alles goed gaat, heb ik ergens half april 2011 mijn werkvergunning binnen en mag ik dus ook in de Verenigde Staten aan de slag. Om me in de tussentijd tevreden te houden, kwam Wim vandaag met een prachtig cadeau aanzetten…


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Uitzicht op de stad vanuit Central Park

Na onze eerste week in Boston stapten we zaterdagochtend in de bus. Voor slechts 30 dollar werden we in  3,5 uur later door de Fung Wah bus afgezet in New York, midden in China Town. Samen met vrienden uit Nederland die een reisje naar the Big Apple cadeau hadden gekregen – niet verkeerd natuurlijk – struinden we de straten af.

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothing you can’t do.

So we did. Soort van dan. (more…)

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Wat! Ben ik in twee dagen tijd al 5 kilo aangekomen? One pound staat toch gelijk aan een halve kilo? Niet helemaal, las ik later gelukkig in mijn Moleskine boekje (1 lb = 454 g). Ik stond op de weegschaal en moet blijkbaar nog even oefenen met omrekenen.

Hetzelfde geldt voor Fahrenheit en Celsius. De verschillen in temperatuur tussen twee dagen kunnen vrij groot zijn in Boston. Bij aankomst was het bijvoorbeeld 0 graden Celsius en de volgende dag liep het kwik terug naar zo’n -10 graden Celsius. Dan is het dus best handig om ook de temperatuur in Fahrenheit goed te kunnen inschatten voordat je de deur uitgaat.

Gelukkig hangt er een thermometer in ons appartement die beiden aangeeft. Want die rekensom moet ik nog een paar keer maken, voordat ik meteen kan inschatten of het dooit of vriest buiten.

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