(Editor’s note: With Brexit looming, many British citizens are looking for alternatives that will allow them continued access to the European Union. This post about options in Eindhoven is a collaboration with Brainport Eindhoven.)
For many Brits, Brexit is raising serious questions about our futures, such as “Do I want to live in a country that is not part of the European Union? What will Brexit bring me in terms of economic growth and employment? If I decide to relocate, where should I go?”
Well if you have a background in engineering or information technologies, the Eindhoven region with its many innovative tech and IT companies in all sorts and sizes makes sense on so many levels, including pure proximity to England. Should you get homesick, you’re back in London, Manchester or Liverpool in an hour from Eindhoven Airport.
Not only does everyone here speak English, English is the main business language of the Netherlands and many university courses are taught in English. Many broadcast television shows are in English with Dutch subtitles, and it’s not unusual to hear Dutch people not just go back and forth between English and Dutch in ordinary conversations but speak to each other only in English!
The climate is basically the same as London’s with both cities weighing in at about 76 cm or 30 inches of annual rainfall. In our experience, Brits tend to come here and stay because the Netherlands looks and feels a lot like the UK but is a higher-functioning society with less crime and ethnic tension.
Overall, it’s considerably less expensive to live in Eindhoven than in major British cities, especially London.
As a Brit living in the Netherlands for eight years, I am happy to lay out the welcome mat for the disenchanted and to offer some words of encouragement as you pack your teabags and Marmite for your big adventure.
Brainport Eindhoven – home to a wide variety of innovative companies
The Brainport Eindhoven region is unique in Europe, with a sophisticated mix of innovative companies ranging from global tech giants to successful startups and scaleups. With top engineering programmes and a major research campus, Eindhoven is generating global buzz due to deep-tech partnerships with CERN and other research centers, booming semiconductor companies and even solar cars.
Lots of career opportunities for tech and IT professionals
In terms of careers, there are far more opportunities here than in Brexit Britain, especially for engineers, physicists and those with tech skills such as developers and coders. While London remains the financial capital of Europe, the tech industry here is deeper- and wider-ranging from Philips Healthcare to emerging companies and future unicorns such as Lightyear and SendCloud.
There are literally thousands and thousands of jobs here, including openings for people with “soft” skills such as management and marketing. You can check out all the tech & IT jobs in Brainport here.
The Dutch are excellent English speakers
If you enjoy learning a new language, the Dutch offer a wide range of courses and schools to improve jouw nederlandse taal. If you’re having a difficult time working language classes into your day, this is a great country to live as almost everyone speaks some English and, if they are under the age of 30, they embrace the opportunity to show off their English skills. All students must graduate secondary school with a passing grade in English … and it shows.
My Dutch is minimal, but I am able to live my life here with some essential phrases and a little help from Google Translate. I find as time goes on that I absorb more than I realize.
In my experience, doctors, hospitals, vets, banks – all the important contacts – speak English to some degree. Even when they say, “I only speak a little English,” it is invariably better than the Dutch most expats speak!
Read more about the high English proficiency in the Brainport region here.
In Part 2 of “Top Reasons Brits Should Consider Brainport Eindhoven,” we’ll look at education, healthcare, culture and travel in the Brabant region.
About the author:
Jackie Harding, a British-born journalist and photographer, has lived in North Brabant for eight years. Jackie is one of millions of British citizens who will be impacted by Brexit. Jackie wrote this overview of life in Eindhoven to educate her fellow citizens about why they should seriously consider the Brainport region if they decide to work and live in the European Union.
Photographer/writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a long-time expat, she lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past 10 years.
Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.
Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.
She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.
She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.