International Experiences – Emile’s Story

 
This is the story told by Emile Kroon, who moved to Greater Aarhus in Denmark from the Netherlands. Emile shares his story about why he came to Denmark and how Greater Aarhus fits his lifestyle. Furthermore, Emile shreds some light on the major similarities and differences he experience between Danes and Dutch people. Finally, he tells his experiences about the Danish work environment.

 

Quality Time and Equal Job Opportunities

Hi, my name is Emile Kroon and I’m Director Service Sales, TSS Aeronautics, Support & Services at Terma. I’m from the Netherlands and this is the story about why I came to Denmark.

 

To me there are many reasons when deciding to come to Denmark. My wife and I both had ambitions to work abroad for some years, and although Aarhus was not the first city that came to mind when thinking of being an expat, it however became a perfect match when my wife received a job offer. I received a job offer quite quickly after we decided to move, even before we physically moved. The main reason for choosing Aarhus was that it was the best opportunity for us as a family; less commuting; more quality time for the family; and equally fulfilling job opportunities for both me and my wife.

Emile working at Terma

Less Crowded, Relaxed, and Family First

Since I have lived in Denmark for some years, I experience there to both differences and similarities between Danes and Dutch people. The main difference between Denmark and the Netherlands is the size of the population (1:3 ratio) and you notice that in a lot of things. The additional space makes Danes more relaxed, I think. Also, the importance of family in Denmark seems stronger than in the Netherlands; family is the no. 1. priority in Denmark, where in the Netherlands work and family often have to compete.

 

It can be more difficult to socialize with Danes and they have close relationships with existing friends and family and therefore it takes time to make new friends – e.g. Danes do not socialize as much with neighbors like we do in the Netherlands. However, on a positive note, Danes are very willing to help when needed, and having kids really helps socializing. In school parents socialize when kids come over to play or have birthday parties etc. We even had a ‘parents only’ event with drinks and pizza so parents got to know each other, which was a lot of fun.

City Life Surrounded by Nature

I like Aarhus very much, especially how the city is situated, by the sea enclosed by hills and forest. The historical and industrial aspects of the city mix very well, and the closeness of nature makes it a very livable city.

 

My family and I live north of Aarhus, in Egå, which is close by the sea. During summer there is constant holiday buzz. Aarhus invites you (especially in the summer) to be outside, on the beach, in the forest, running, cycling, etc.. You can join the crowds in the city or escape them on a short trip to Molsbjerge. There are a lot of cultural activities to attend to and nice restaurants to dine at. In sum: a mix of an active city life with nature just around the corner.

A Work Environment with Freedom and Flat Hierarchy

In the Danish work environment I experience that you are very free in your daily work – this is a blessing as you can plan your own tasks. However, this freedom is also challenging since it requires that you are good at organizing structures yourself and that you are independent in your approach to figure out solutions. Moreover, there is a flat organizational hierarchy where people can voice their opinion on all sorts of matters. So, you and other people’s opinions are appreciated, and better decisions can be made because of it. But make an active effort to involve people in the process. It can sometimes be a challenge to balance between being effective, hitting deadlines, have timely decisions and having everyone involved. 

 

Danes are very well-spoken in English, but it is a major asset if you also learn to speak Danish. This is an advantage both in the workplace and in social settings, and Danes like you making the effort of learning Danish. Another great thing about the Danish work environment is that there are many opportunities for personal development (lots of training activities etc.) and focus on wellbeing of the employees. People are friendly and there are many social activities e.g. Friday morning breakfast with colleagues, Julefrokost, Sommerfest etc., and social activity clubs (sports etc.). You also need to be prepared to eat lots cake which is very Danish.