My Belgian Adventure

Welcome to Belgium!

It’s about two months ago I moved into Belgium, so time to look back: How is living and working in Belgium as a Dutchy? Are the Belgians really not so intelligent, as a lot of Dutch jokes suggest? And most importantly: did I find the new challenges I was looking for?

To be clear about the jokes: these are just jokes, I can ensure you that the Belgians are not stupid. But my nieces and nephews (they see me already as Belgian uncle) can provide you with some examples of jokes…

After four years of working in the Oil & Gas industry for ORTEC Groningen I was looking for a new challenge abroad. It turned out that our Belgian office could very well use an experienced consultant with Analytics and Data Science skills, so a match was quickly made. I decided to live in Leuven, a vibrant, historic student city, and also quite important, part of the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. Or probably it is better to say Flemish since it turned out that the Flemish Dutch has some other vocabulary than ‘standard’ Dutch. Most prominent example I encountered the hard way: if someone wants to schedule a meeting in the “voormiddag” (pre-afternoon) I assumed this would mean somewhere early in the afternoon and said yes. Turned out that it meant in the morning. Luckily I also had space in my agenda in the morning!

Cycling is a national sport in Belgium, with well known classics as the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Also a lot of colleagues are cycling, we already made some tours together. I still need to get used to the cobblestones and the hills, but nice to my hobby together with my colleagues.

And about work? One of the projects I am working on is about planning of de-icing of airplanes, which is kind of weird when the temperatures went up to 35 degrees Celsius! But besides the (very) minor language problems discussed earlier, the cooperation with colleagues and customers is going smoothly. So I think I have found my new challenge in an environment with ample opportunities to apply my Analytics and Data Science knowledge!

Regards, or as the Belgians say: “Tot de volgende”! (which kind of translates into “till next”)

Harm Bossers