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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: Arianna De Lazzari
Country of origin: Italy
Work: Photographer

As a frequent guest of Meneer de Boer, the all-day breakfast place to be in Eindhoven, Arianna wants to meet us there. On a Tuesday morning, we get settled at a table in the back of the restaurant. “Our daughter goes to school nearby, so this place is ideal for me. I also like to come here to work. The atmosphere is great and the cappuccino is delicious.” Well, what does a person need more? While the coffee machine makes his different noises when the barista is making all kinds of coffees, we start talking about how Arianna ended up in Eindhoven.

“My husband is an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology. After he finished his postdoc he had interviews all around Europe, and also at the university over here. It was June, the weather was amazing. Everybody was smiling, everything was so nice, it almost felt like the movie The Truman Show. After the interview, we were on a bench on the campus, right beside the Dommel river. We said to each other ‘it is almost like the future boss is doing something, to make it look this good here’. I joked that if within five minutes canoe would pass, we would stay in Eindhoven. And yes, two minutes later… girls in a canoe slid through the water. That was so hilarious. That was four years ago and we are still very happy here.”

“When living abroad, the first year is the honeymoon: everything is nice”Arianna De Lazzari, Photographer

Getting to know a country and finding your way goes in stages, says Arianna: “Before Eindhoven, we lived in Lisbon for three years, so we got to know how it works, living abroad. The first year is the honeymoon, everything is nice. The second-year little cracks appear. Things aren’t always that nice. And after that, you have a clear view on the good and bad things of your new city and country. What I really liked is that we got an introduction talk on life in the Netherlands at the university. That was very helpful. And now our daughter goes to school and we also get to know more Dutch people. I’m learning Dutch and at school everybody needs to talk Dutch to me, so I can learn the language. At home, we speak Italian, but we also speak English and Portuguese. Our daughter corrects me if I mix up Dutch words.”

Sabine, one of the owners of Meneer de Boer, makes sure we get our caffeine doses and brings new coffees to our table. Arianna: “In Italy, the rule is ‘no cappuccino after 11:00’. But when I’m abroad that rule doesn’t apply anymore. I grew up in the Veneto area, about half an hour from Venice. Besides my family, the mountains are the only thing I really miss. As a child, the summers were all about the beach. But during the weekends, when the tourists came to the beach, we went hiking in the Dolomites. And in the winter we went skiing every weekend. Unfortunately, that is not an option here. I do like all the parks and playgrounds here. And I love to go to bookstore Van Piere and the library with our daughter. Every Wednesday afternoon the library has reading and craft time for young children. Our daughter loves it and it is also good for my Dutch. I love the vibe of Eindhoven. The Dutch Design Week is wonderful and Strijp S is my daily inspiration.”

Arianna is a photographer specialized in weddings and family portraits. “It’s more storytelling, what I do with my photo’s. I show what life is like, in a playful matter. I also work a lot abroad and sometimes people combine a visit to the Netherlands with a photoshoot with me. A couple from Hong Kong found me on Instagram and came to the Netherlands in the wintertime and I had a lovely shoot with them. I also have a collaboration with a graphic designer and together we make original birth announcements. The cards the Dutch send out to friends and family when their baby is born, was completely new to me. In Italy, we don’t know that kind of phenomenon. We put a pink or blue ribbon in the garden. I think it is really festive to send out a nice announcement.”

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