Author profile picture

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: Eliska Slovakova
Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Work: Freelance designer

Maybe you stepped on the work of Eliska recently, and you didn’t even notice it. Or you did see it and it made you smile, even though it was raining. Need a bit of help to know what this is about? Eliska designed for the project Droge Humor (dry humour) texts and images on different locations in the centre of Eindhoven. They are only visible when the surface is wet. “I came up with the idea and realised it together with Marielle Coppens. She is a specialist in kindness and the first Smile Curator of the city.”

Eliska has an atelier at Sectie C, a terrain with studios, workshops, gardens and labs. She is a freelance designer on different areas:  graphic design, installations, interior and painting. “I do the design, I live like an artist,” she chuckles. During the upcoming Dutch Design Week you can visit her work place and see the diversity of her work. Or as she calls it: “My creative mess.” Eliska designed different spaces: “For Seats2Meet I designed brainstorm rooms with tools to get the creativity going. My designs have a certain interactivity in them, like the 3D printed lamp consisting of bowling pins and a bowling ball. It goes on by hitting the pins with the ball. A design that is fun and useful.”

“I lived in Amsterdam for a couple of years, but I missed Eindhoven. The people here feel more like family to me.”Eliska Slovakova, Freelance designer

I came here for the Design Academy and my Dutch boyfriend. None of them worked out, but I stayed here anyway. I lived in Amsterdam for a couple of years, but I missed Eindhoven. The people here feel more like family to me. In Amsterdam you don’t make contact that easy, everybody is so busy, they don’t take the time to get to know you. The contact stays shallow. Making friends with the Dutch can be quite difficult. They are super friendly, that is the first layer. But if you want to move to the category of close friends, that can take years. There are a few paradoxes in the Dutch mentality: free and open minded, but also distant in a way. On the other hand it’s very common Dutch people make jokes about you to your face. In the beginning I found that to be quite rude. Now I’m used to it.”

“I do think people mind their own business in the Netherlands. In the Czech Republic you are watched more. There is more social control. A legacy of the communistic days, I suppose. But people also take care of each other in a good sense. You see a lot of family houses where grand parents live with a son or daughter and their family. I haven’t seen that here. Lots of things are well organized here, but I see issues when it comes to health care. It is way too expensive and not so good. The own risk is getting so high. The maternity leave is absurdly short in the Netherlands. 16 weeks, that is nothing. The parental leave in the Czech Republic is three years. A big difference.”

“We are here at the Sociale Dienst, former building of the social services, now a place for a drink, dinner and parties. An artistic haven. I love it here. They guys who set this up, used to run Kelderman en Van Noort. They had to leave there, but luckily they are back. In the weekends you can come for an exposition, dinner or an awesome party in the basement. In Eindhoven I also enjoy the Van Abbemuseum very much. I like the art, the architecture and the activities hosted by the Young Art Crowd.”

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