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 Rob in Milan.By Sanne Wolters
- WHO: Rob Brouwer
- Function: CEO of the international job site Jobrapido
- Where: Milan, Italy
- Ever since: 2014
How did you end up in Milan?
“I have always had international jobs in recruitment. For one of my previous employers, Monsterboard, I worked in London, among other places. Later I was offered a job in São Paulo in Brazil. After four years we came back to the Netherlands. It was quite difficult for the children to reconnect because they were so young when we emigrated.
In 2014, I was asked by Jobrapido to become a director because of my international experience. Since the head office is in Milan, we had to move to Italy. My family and I didn’t have to think about it for long. We were ready for a new adventure.”
Are you already well established?
“The working language at work is English, but I now also speak a nice word of Italian. Italians sometimes even think I’m from here because of my appearance. We’ve already completely adapted to the rhythm here. We don’t eat at
Italians talk with their hands. You have to be careful not to use the wrong one.
How would you describe the Italians?
“They are very passionate and enthusiastic, but always polite. Dutch and Italians can both be very direct, but an Italian will never offend anyone. In addition, they are very warm and welcoming, even to foreigners. Once you make friends, you can have dinner with a whole Italian family every Sunday afternoon.”
Should you also get used to life in Italy?
“Italians cannot speak without using their hands. All gestures have their own meaning. You have to be careful not to use the wrong one, then you have to be careful.
But in the end I didn’t really have to get used to life here. I had that in Brazil. In Holland I was used to something happening today, if you ask today. Things get delayed a lot more. Furthermore, a meeting only starts when everyone is there, and not everyone arrives on time. There I learned to start projects much earlier.”
What is the atmosphere like in the workplace at Jobrapido?
“Very good. There are people of different nationalities walking around, but I also have many Italian colleagues. On Friday afternoon, one of those colleagues often cooks a meal in the office, usually a delicious pasta based on a family recipe. We drink a good glass. wine with it. is very pleasant.”
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What do you like to do as a family at the weekend?
“Milan is a beautiful city, there is a lot to see and do here. Especially in the cultural area. In addition, we are in the mountains in no time, in winter we go skiing almost every weekend. Lake Como is only half an hour’s drive, so we often go there. We also do a lot with the family, but we also regularly go out to dinner with friends. Or we play sports together, the Italians are a very sporty people.”
How long will you stay in Italy?
“Two of our children are studying abroad, the youngest of the three still lives at home. Soon we will stay empty nestersThe question is what we should do now. We will no longer cross the sea so soon because the children are in Europe and our parents live in the Netherlands, they will also grow older one day. We’ll see what comes our way.”
You’ve been abroad for so long, do you still feel a little Dutch?
“Yes, definitely. I think it’s because I left Holland at a later age. I still enjoy drinking a Dutch beer at, say, the Dutch embassy and eating bitterballen with other Dutch people.”
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