Diederik lives and works in Aruba: ‘People are much more positive here’ | NOW

Around 40,000 Dutch people emigrate abroad every year. How do you like working in their new (temporary) home country? And do they really want to go back to the Netherlands? This time we talk to Diederik in Aruba.

  • WHO: Diederik Kemmerling
  • Function: owner of the marketing agency The Lab
  • Where: Oranjestad, Aruba
  • Ever since: 2012

How did you end up in Aruba?

“After I finished hotel school I worked in Aruba for a year. Then I wanted to go back to the Netherlands because I thought the island was very small. Aruba is about the same size as Texel. I wanted to be able to go out again in Amsterdam missed I the big city, so I continued my studies in the Netherlands and then worked for a while at Douwe Egberts in the marketing department.”

“But then it started to itch again. After I had just bought a house, I went back to Aruba – against all the advice of those around me.”

What do you like about the island?

“In the Netherlands, most people work from nine to five and then go quickly to Albert Heijn, watch TV after dinner and then go to bed. In winter, life is indoors. I missed the free life and the outdoors very much. terrible.”

“In Aruba you are outside as much as possible all year round. In addition, people here are much more positive and cheerful, they even enjoy their work. It is so different in the Netherlands, where you go to the station in the morning drizzle. to wait there totally grumpy on the train.”

Is there anything else you had to get used to?

“I can be quite impatient sometimes. Because certain things can take a long time here, it is sometimes difficult. Especially when you start a business. The paperwork is still done with paper forms. You have to collect them first, fill them in and then return them. By the time it’s all sorted out, you’ll be weeks longer.”

“On the island, it’s also us-know-us. If you don’t have any contacts yet, it’s difficult to intervene. But once you know people, all kinds of doors open up for you straight away. They are a bit reluctant per the way. when it comes to working with Dutch people. A lot of people who come here also leave, so they wait and see if you intend to stay before they enter into a partnership.”

Have you always planned to stay a long time?

“No, I wanted to see how long it would last first. I’ve been here for ten years now. I started an online marketing agency, The Lab, which is now quite large. We have an office in Aruba with ten people and are located on Curaçao, five colleagues. Among other things, we do marketing for the islands. I am completely committed, I am married to an Aruban, and we have a two-year-old son together.”

“You can’t really eat out here in a varied way, everything is kind of the same.”

What do you miss most about the Netherlands besides your family and friends?

“You can’t really eat out here in a varied way, everything is a bit the same. I miss the Thai and Vietnamese restaurants that you have in the Netherlands. My wife also likes the thing about the Netherlands that you can find so many different restaurants and kitchens in the city. I also miss going to the terrace with friends or to a festival.”

What do you like to do in your sparetime?

“I work quite a lot, and I’m often busy at the weekend too. But when I have time off, I can actually be found on the water with the boat, and I travel regularly. I also try to spend as much time as possible. with my son can I like to be busy and have recently started something new: pilot training, for which I will eventually graduate in America. After that, I can fly small planes.”

Are you currently staying in Aruba?

“My parents are very sad that we live so far away. We might also buy a house in Holland so we can be there more often. But I don’t think I’ll ever come back, I like life here too much. “

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