Nita Hannele Virtala / Fotografie: Diewke van de Heuvel

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. Read all our stories on internationals in Eindhoven here.

Who: Nita Hannele Virtala
Country of origin: Finland
Study: Industrial Design, TU/e

Soft ticking behind the door when we ring the doorbell. It turns out to be the paws of dachshund Mü on the floor of the loft. We are greeted enthusiastically by a jumping dog. Her owner, the Finnish Nita (28), understands Dutch, but speaking it is a bridge too far for now: “I used to speak Swedish and that’s is so similar to Dutch, it’s confusing. Luckily, I can handle everything fine in English here.” At first she came to The Netherlands to work as an au pair. “I wanted a study that combined art and technology. The father of the family where I worked thought it was a good idea if I would choose Aerospace Engineering in Delft, but that was not my cup of tea. The study Industrial Design in Eindhoven was a much better combination of what I liked. ”

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Nita: “We really wanted a loft on Strijp-S. It’s a wonderful place.” / Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel

Two workstations in front of the window, overlooking Strijp. “In the summer of 2014 we moved here, to Strijp-S. We really wanted one of the lofts. In the months prior to moving, I checked the website of Kansrijk Huren every morning to see if what was available.” She recently graduated: “The last couple of months my life were all about my research.” Her graduation project From Mine to Ours is about a different perspective on owning and buying clothing. How can we make it more sustainable? “A good example is the clothing library LENA. There are some more possibilities, but these possibilities are not known by or easily accessible for the majority of consumers. Currently, Nita is looking for a job.

While Mü toddles excited around the table and examines the photographers’ bag, Nita tells more about Eindhoven: “When I came to live here in 2010, I didn’t like the offer in terms of food and local products a lot, certainly compared to Scandinavia. But it got better last few years. Although, it could be more multicultural, I see progress. I love to go to the Philips Fruittuin for my fresh fruit en veggies and the Philips de Jongh park for a nice walk. Mü goes everywhere with me.

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Nita: “Our dog Mü goes everywhere with us. This bike lane takes us to the Philips Fruittuin, where we get our fruit and veggies.” / Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel

When I started my study I was right away very active in the student association of Industrial Design, Lucid and later I also organised Stukafest (festival with performances in student rooms). My activities gave me a bigger social life and I got accustomed to Eindhoven quicker. For me, the Dutch culture wasn’t so different and I had already been living in The Netherlands for a year. At that point, I knew that I would possibly be staying here at least for my study, so I thought it’s important to integrate into the culture and community I will be living in. That worked out very well.”

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About the author

Author profile picture Sabine te Braake is a writer and an entrepreneur. She loves Eindhoven, the city where she once started as a student.