Hop off the train at Hoofddorp and you’ll often hear three languages before you’ve got out your travel card. Home to Team Digital and one stop from Schiphol, it’s an international enclave on the edge of the Dutch countryside.
We have people from 24 countries here (give or take), all slaving away making shipping easier. Let’s ask a couple of them how living and working in the Netherlands compares to their own countries.
Adam Alloul, 29
Three months at TNT
‘I feel Amsterdam combines the good parts of both big and small cities.’
Where do you hail from Adam?
I was born and raised in Algeria but moved to France when I was 17. Over the past 10 years I’ve lived in Paris, Montpellier and finally Strasbourg.
You now live in Amsterdam. How do you like it?
I feel Amsterdam combines the good parts of both big and small cities. There are always lots of things to do and you meet people of so many different nationalities. But you still get the feeling of a small city — you can reach pretty much everywhere by bike.
What’s the best thing about working in the Netherlands?
Working in the Netherlands is great! The Dutch put a lot of emphasis on work-life balance and have this pragmatic way of approaching challenges. If you add to this the great international environment and the high level of motivation everyone gets from getting a job done, it equals a really stimulating and enjoyable work culture.
Has anything surprised you about living in the Netherlands?
One really surprising thing for a French person is the Dutch lunch. If you see two slices of cheese, four slices of soft bread, an egg and a small bottle of milk on one tray, you can be sure it belongs to someone Dutch or someone who’s been seriously Dutchified.
Emily Barber, 30
Senior Scala Developer
Six months at TNT
‘People here work hard but also highly value their personal time.’
Whereabouts are you from Emily?
I’m originally from a town in the UK called Horsham. Its main claims to fame are its ugly fountain (taken down in 2016) and its excellent transport links. Although for the past seven years I lived and worked in central London.
You’re living in Haarlem at the moment. How are you finding it?
Haarlem is a very beautiful place. There’s a huge difference between living there and in London — the main one being I can cycle everywhere rather than having to take the Tube. Even though it’s smaller, I haven’t found myself missing many of the big city amenities. You can find everything here!
What’s working in the Netherlands like?
People here work hard but also highly value their personal time. In other words, I think the work-life balance works really well. The culture of peer pressure at some companies in London encourages long working hours. I haven’t encountered that here. Also, people are quite entrepreneurial and like to embrace new technology.
What’s surprised you most about the Netherlands?
I really like the fact there’s just one travel card for trains, buses and trams across the whole country. It makes travelling around a lot easier!
Head of Testing, QA Lead for Digital
One year at TNT
‘The biggest difference is the weather. As a Greek, I have to say, it’s a disgrace.’
Tell us about Kalambaka Teo.
It’s a small town in the middle of Greece famous for the Meteora rocks. You need to Google them. The monasteries on top of the rocks are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. I lived there until I move to Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, for my studies.
How does living in Amsterdam compare?
The biggest difference is the weather. As a Greek, I have to say, it’s a disgrace here — but you try and get used to it. Amsterdam is also a lot more multicultural, which I like.
What’s the best part about working in the Netherlands?
The opportunities you get to further your career. I’ve found that you’ll get the chance to prove yourself and grow professionally very quickly — especially in the digital sector. You have to grasp these opportunities but when you do, you’ll be rewarded.
Is it different to working in Greece?
The working environments are completely different. We’re talking about two different worlds! In Greece, most organisations are hierarchical and the workloads are enormous. I worked a lot of Saturdays. It’s a good school though because, if you make it, you become a very strong employee. Working in the Netherlands is still challenging but the work-life balance is better.
Has anything surprised you about working in the Netherlands?
I didn’t expect to have so much autonomy in my daily working tasks. I love it though. It shows people trust you and your capabilities.
Want to join Adam, Emily and Teo? We’re always on the lookout for Digital talent. Get in touch with us here.