Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’

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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