Jane Hardjono, Australia
Australian Jane Hardjono planned a stint living and working in Amsterdam. But along the way, she met her future husband, moved to Eindhoven and is still here five years later!
Profession: Writer, Editor of The Dossier, Translator
Year Moved to the Netherlands: 2006
Eindhoven is... home.
Your motto is: "Embrace wherever you are." Do you embrace Eindhoven?
Certainly I embrace Eindhoven. To me, life has to be lived sincerely, with your head and your heart. I decided the moment I arrived in Eindhoven to give it every chance I could. I had no preconceptions, and it's repaid me in full.
How can other expats embrace living here?
It's a state of mind. And although it sounds like a cliché, find some locals to make friends with, and learn Dutch - or a bit of it. It's not an easy language but be a bit patient and persevere. Also, look for the things you used to do back at home. It's here, or not far away! Just ask.
What do you wish someone would have told you when you first arrived?
I wish I knew that the street I live in was so close to the PSV stadium, that every Saturday during the season we'd never be able to get a carpark in front of our house!
How can The Dossier help expats?
The Dossier shows other expats, or expats-to-be that Eindhoven is more than a technology-city, by documenting my encounters with people and glimpses into creative events. The Dossier means to paint a picture of life here. It is not a resource as such; it is proof of Eindhoven life. And it's online, so people can access it whether they live here or are planning to come.
What is your goal for The Dossier?
I'd like to run The Dossier independently with the help of a group of like-minded people (Dutch or foreign) who want to be part of putting Eindhoven on the international map. With the right group of people, I'd like to run some events and build a network for people to connect about cultural topics in a language they feel comfortable with - English. The idea is to engage people about culture in Eindhoven, and at the same time show the world (in English) that there's a lot going on here.
What was your first impression of Eindhoven?
Although I knew most of the city had been bombed in WWII, I was surprised to see how grey it was, with its concrete buildings and uniform houses. I was delighted by the quaint Bergen streets, and how quickly people were ready to speak back to me in Dutch. That really surprised me. I also met some great people, some of them Dutch, by forming my own network through both paid and volunteer work.
What do you miss most from home?
The food. It's a fairly general answer, but I'm talking specifically about hospitality, service, attitudes to home-cooking, sharing special moments centred on food made by people together and the quality of the produce. I feel that food is quite functional here, whereas I come from a culture where we treat food as an obsession, which infiltrates almost every minute of the day!
What is Eindhoven missing?
A big music bowl or amphitheatre for concerts where large groups can picnic together in summer -- the weather isn't really conducive to that, though! A vibrant, free, diverse live-music scene, a comedy venue, a lovely picturesque market square near the historical town hall. Organic-vegetarian haute cuisine. A more than 1 star Michelin star restaurant. A bi-lingual "Time-out" type of magazine or printed publication for visitors and expats to pick up every week.
Your favorite part about living in the Southeast Netherlands is:
It's close to everywhere. Last weekend we went to Scheveningen for the day, and the other weekend, Delft. You can decide to go for a big walk in Limburg on a whim. Eindhoven has an airport.
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