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

Name: Juliá Delos Ayllon
Country of Origin: Catalonia
Work: Entrepreneur

Juliá lives in one of the loft buildings on Strijp S. When we are on his floor, we enter a sterile looking hallway. On the left are offices, so for a moment we are confused: is it Juliá’s house or office we are visiting? After we ring the doorbell, we get the answer: it’s Juliá’s home. Next to the front door are a couple of bags of charcoal for the barbecue. “Yeah, we had a barbecue last night with some friends, we had a good time.” Juliá’s apartment is a bit cluttered, so after the dining table is made empty, we have seat. Juliá talks with a lot of energy about his life, while he makes tea.

“I came to Eindhoven in 2011 when I got an opportunity to do a PhD at Philips. I said ok to it without thinking too much about it. I’ve always been fascinated by high tech.” Juliá studied in Barcelona, Lille and New York. “I kept in touch with one of my professors, also after I graduated. When I was working, I wasn’t quite happy with where I was at that moment. I had a talk with my former professor and he suggested to me to do a PhD. I had my doubts, but after I got an offer to do research on power electronics and microelectronics, I accepted it. I was a guest student at the TU/e. The PhD was difficult at times. I worked on breakthroughs, which weren’t very relatable to everybody in society. To also set my mind to something else, I started pitching ideas at innovation events. It was something I really enjoyed. I finished my PhD and thought about what I really liked to do. At ICT Group they had just the right job for me: I worked on bringing ideas of the company to the market. Today I´m a full-time entrepreneur in various fields: my own Calçotada festival and kite surfing.”

As you may have noticed in the title of this article, Juliá chose to have Catalonia as his country of origin and not Spain: “I feel that my origins are related to the Catalan identity. I have a difficult time as being Catalan to fit in the Spanish identity, especially with all things that happened last year. My position is just a reflection of the current political situation in Spain. The Spanish government is lagging behind in redefining a new Spanish identity that focuses on including all of us instead of dividing.  My name is also typical for Catalonia. A lot of people think they are communicating with a woman, when I email them. I have had quite some funny mix-ups with it. And then the pronunciation of my name: we say Djulia and not Gulia, as most Spanish people would say. I’m also bringing the Catalonian tradition to Eindhoven. I organize a Catalonian barbecue festival with the Ketelhuis here on Strijp S. It is a messy tradition with onions, fire, and smoke, and Ketelhuis has the fire pits and barbecues outside, so that is a good combination. The latest edition we had 450 people at the barbecue. I want to create inclusive activities where everybody is welcome.”

Juliá is part of the first group of tenants of the loft buildings on Strijp S: “For my study, I lived in New York for a while. One of my friends lived in a loft and I loved it. When I saw the plans of Strijp S, I knew I wanted to live there too. I had to apply with a motivation letter and I got in. I’m still very happy I got my place. In my spare time, I like to go kite surfing at the Maasvlakte. Kiting is a big thing in the Netherlands, and I enjoy it very much. I go by myself or with friends.”

Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel
Read more stories of internationals here.