It’s late September and (almost) all employees of High Tech Solutions gather with their spouse in ’s Hertogenbosch, which is in the Netherlands also knowns as ‘Den Bosch’, for the traditional summer-getaway.
We meet in the first restaurant of the afternoon.
At the table, alongside Dutch there sounds a mix of Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Turkish and English. About 25 percent of the High Tech’ers comes from abroad. Everyone is highly educated and for everyone it is relatively easy to communicate in English. In the high tech world of today this is nothing special. The huge labor shortage for Embedded Software Engineers in the Dutch labor market is to blame. We import more and more techno-knowledge, High Tech Solutions is in that respect no exception.
I’m still unaccustomed to this phenomenon. The work of these engineers is quite abstract to me, trying to imagine how it is when you fly halfway around the world to work here is even more abstract. I try imagining me and my family flying tomorrow to Australia or Canada to work there. I feel admiration for this enterprising young people.
After the starter, for the Indians in vegetarian version, we all go toward the Binnendieze, a real river in the downtown area, where we will make a boat trip. Fellow Ardjan will simultaneously translate our guide for the foreign High tech’ers.
I have often been in Den Bosch, I’ve worked there even almost two years, yet I’m amazed that there runs 3.5 kilometer of canal under the city. I’ve never known that. Our foreigners however find it quite normal: ‘Typically Holland, so many channels’.
We navigate through narrow canals that are largely covered. For centuries the canals were a source of life and work. There used to be fifty breweries in the city that made the beer to fed the young and the old.
After the Binnendieze-by-boat-trip we go to the second restaurant for the main course. Again, I’m surrounded by foreign High Tech’ers. It is fascinating to hear how these international colleagues are moving around the world. Most of them were already living in various countries, from other European countries such as France to the United States.
Moving for work, not only changing residence but also of land, is the most normal thing to do for these globetrotters. They don’t understand why a Dutchman in Groningen who can’t find a job, just doesn’t move to Eindhoven or Rotterdam to get work. The distances in our country are peanuts in their view. This is completely understandable in comparising with a country like India or Turkey. I try to explain the differences in our regional cultures and being attached to your native soil.
I’m laughed at: ‘What do you mean by regional cultural differences? All Dutch are fond of the simple Dutch food and soccer in weekends, isn’t it?’
Pardon me? Are we eating simple? ‘Yes’, my neighbours nod their heads. ‘You always eat bread. And your food tastes like chicken’. I’m surprised but indeed my table mates rotate the pepper mill significantly. I’m seeing that the stew, the fish in tomato sauce and salmon are topped with a layer of shredded pepper. After this culinary-cultural intervention the food is eatable and they give me a smile.
Our guide explains on ‘old houses, the harbour, the market and all the rest’. We will hear ‘and all the rest’ more often. The guides is telling about the oldest stone house in the Netherlands that, how striking, is located in Den Bosch.
Where? ‘On the market where all the rest of the houses in the Middle Ages were of wood.’
On the dock in front of a narrow channel we hear that this was the largest port in Europe, back in the Middle Ages. ‘So this was the biggest harbour of Europe?’, one of the foreign colleague is asking. I cannot properly assess whether he is impressed or surprised.
We end up in a restaurant that lies in the shadow of the great church of St. John and evaluate an educational afternoon and evening in Den Bosch.
To put it at its Brabants, the regional dialect: it was KEI-DELICIOUS and KEI-ENTERTAINING!
At the end we get dessert and coffee or tea and discuss the plans the management of High Tech Solutions has with the company website and company blog.
On that topic I can only say: to be continued…
October 11th, 2014
This blog was already published on the website of High Tech Solutions on September 30th, 2014. I originally wrote it in Dutch and translated it afterwards because the website of the company is multilingual. The Dutch version entitled ‘Op stap met High Tech Solutions’ can be found by clicking here.
High Tech Solutions is the first company that hired me to write business blogs on their company site on various themes and do some of the Social Media Management for them as well. Most of the blogs will be about the work that’s been done by their employees. High Tech Solutions is growing and wants to attrack the right technical people. I named the blog ‘EMBLOGGED’, referring to the overall job title of the staff that is working at High Tech Solutions which is: Embedded Software Engineer.
On my own blog I won’t publish all these blogs, but for the first one I’m making an exception.