People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Ebru Janssens Kayan
Country of Origin: Turkey
Work: Manager environmental permits at the municipality of Deurne

The story of Ebru about her arrival in the Netherlands starts with romantic events between her and her current husband, about 18 years ago. “At the time I worked as a flight attendant at Turkish Airlines. I worked part-time, in addition to my study urban and regional planning. I wanted to explore the world in this way. I met my husband on board. It is forbidden for the crew to exchange contact information with passengers. We had a nice connection, but we didn’t act on it. My husband regularly flew to Istanbul at that time and hoped to see me again. Eventually, he gave a letter for me to one of my colleagues and my colleague placed it on the bulletin board of our common room. I loved that! After a year and a half of dating, I made the choice to come to the Netherlands and in 2002 we got married. And all of it because of his letter to me.”

Ebru started her new life in the Netherlands with a lot of enthusiasm: “I immediately jointed language lessons at the ROC school. Within a year I was already at level 5, the language level for higher educated people. I had a great time during these lessons, I also made some very good friends there. When I was learning the language, I was constantly learning words, writing and looking up what they meant. I was not afraid to make mistakes, which also helps a lot with learning. Of course, the children of my husband used to laugh when I messed words up, but they also tried to help me. Articles remain an obstacle to me. My 13-year-old daughter determines the article of a word automatically. And sometimes I cannot properly assess whether a word is appropriate in a situation. But that my knowledge of the Dutch language is good, I have proven at the game show Lingo. I even won the final with a friend.”

“In the years that I am here now, I have seen the city change. Eindhoven is becoming more and more charming”Ebru Janssens Kayan, Manager environmental permits

When we talk about work, we notice Ebru is very happy at the municipality of Deurne: “I applied for a position where I would give zoning plan information at the desk. During my application, the selection committee looked further than my diplomas and work experience. I have always done volunteer work in the Netherlands and contributed to society. And that was appreciated. In addition, I have a background in planning. I was well prepared and had immersed myself in the municipality of Deurne. That also caused them to accept me. In a reorganization, I got promoted and now I handle environmental permits and the process around them. I enjoy going to work.”

“In the years that I am here now, I have seen the city change. It has all become more international here. I do not know if the Eindhoven inhabitants themselves also see this. The course of the city is something to be proud of. City planners speak of a male or female city. For me, Eindhoven is becoming an increasingly more feminine city. That’s it in more cosiness, contrasts of modern and old and playfulness. Eindhoven is becoming more and more charming. At GLOW, for example, I think of Eindhoven as a lady who already puts on her party clothes and jewellery in November. When I came to live here, the big events such as GLOW and Dutch Design Week were not there yet. I think they are very valuable for the city.”

In addition to her work, Ebru is committed to TPNE, the Turkish Professionals Network Eindhoven. “I am co-chairwoman of this organization. We bring Turkish professionals together and invite, for example, speakers. We recently organised an information evening about the Dutch educational system. That was received very positively. It gives a lot of energy to do this. I see many special encounters and I think more people should know us. Our activities are for everyone.”

Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel