Even though Eindhoven has more and more to offer to expats and internationals, the city is still missing too much to really satisfy them. That’s what the recommendations show that were made by Expat Spouses Initiative after a survey among the target group. The advice was communicated to Metropoolregio Eindhoven and the Living In steering committee of the municipality.
This week, we make a short series on the position of the expat in Eindhoven. Read all the published stories here.
The board of Metropoolregio, the partnership between the 21 Brainport municipalities, has recently decided to take the recommendations into the “Integrated Spatial Strategy”. The first presentation of the survey on November 14th and a subsequent conversation about it prompted a sequel for the regional board. “The conversation has yielded so much energy and information, we want to have conversations with the expats about more subjects.
The “Battle for Talent” calls for action
The “Battle for Talent” calls for action, the Metropoolregio finds. “We are competing for the scarce talent with other regions of knowledge. That’s why it is important for it to appeal to expats. We have to figure out what they think is important or fun in the region, what they are missing or what has to be improved.”
The content of the work is almost always the reason for people to come to this region. The city itself barely appeals to the internationals; quite some parts of their ‘old life’ – often in metropolises – can not be found in Eindhoven. The ones that have been living in the region for longer, do say they have seen a sharp change in Eindhoven. The city has become more international and more vibrant. They are feeling more at home now. However, it still leaves much to be desired.
A big cause of that is the design of public spaces. Especially the centre of Eindhoven is too soberly designed, there are too few benches, fountains and playgrounds, it seems. There aren’t enough places to relax, or potentially have a picnic. “You feel forced to go to a cafe terrace and pay for consumption.”
Another thing the expats are missing are more public sport facilities. A tennis court, football field, fitness equipment. There are some in the city, but still very few and hard to find for expats. There is also a need for more shops in the neighbourhood and especially a coffee house or small cafe. The shops are closing early, moreover, which makes doing the groceries after work difficult. And when the shops are closing, the city is immediately abandoned. Many expats are wondering why there are no people living above the stores.
There is also still much room for improvement culturally, according to the expats. Primarily in public spaces: more visible design, innovation and culture in the centre could make the city a lot more vibrant. Secondly, there is a need for a wider range of English productions in the theatre. There is also incomprehension for the shrinking library and the offer of bookshops.
For many expats, Eindhoven is incomparable with where they came from, in terms of urbanity. From the report of Metropoolregio: “After expats have lived in cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, moving to Eindhoven is like escaping the big city. Eindhoven is green and you get value for your money. The choice of the residential area is determined by the size of the house and the garden. But they do like to live near the city centre of Eindhoven and all the facilities.
Expats would like one part to be less crowded: the bicycle lane. They all like to ride a bike, but they just don’t know how to cope with the fast motor scooters on the bicycle lanes.