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 the stories here.
Name: Stefan Pfundtner
Country of Origin: Austria
Work: Scientist at Philips Research
Just outside the city centre of Eindhoven, you find a cosy newly-built quarter. This time we are not visiting an office, but visit a home. Stefan stays home with his children one workday a week, and that happens to be today. He already spotted us already and is waiting for us at his front door, while we park the car in the quiet street. It hard to believe that the busy downtown area is so close by.
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When we enter the light and modern house, we immediately notice a special table: “It was made by the designer, and our friend, Ben Hohmann. I really like working at this table.” Stefan lived twelve years in The Netherlands and speaks Dutch well: “I have no problems with it and has resemblance with my own language. That makes a difference.” The radio is on in the kitchen and besides the music, we hear some German, though.
Stefan speaks German with his children. I ask him about their bilingual upbringing: “Well, my wife is Spanish and at the daycare, they speak Dutch, so actually they are learning three languages. My wife and I met during my internship at Philips and her thesis at the TU/e. She was the main reason for me to stay here in Eindhoven. After my internship, I got a job here. At that time we made a lot of friends and we are still in good contact with them. One of our best friends lives a few doors down, as a matter of fact. And since we bought this house we also made a lot of contact in the neighbourhood. I finally feel at home after all these years. Before we always had the idea living in Eindhoven wouldn’t be permanent for us. But now, with the house, our work and friends, we have a nice life here.”
Stefan was in 2013 one of the initiators of the community garden at the High Tech Campus. “In the meantime, we learned what works in the garden. Today it is more of a healthy snack garden with fruit.” I’m interested in sustainability ánd I like to bring people together. Beautiful things can result from that. That is why we also have a community garden in this neighbourhood. It is important people feel happy in their surroundings. Gardening together and the sustainable character of the garden can contribute to that feeling. In addition, we have a lot of interaction and good initiatives here. Facebook and community center De Blokhut play an important role. I would also like a community pizza oven that can be used by all the neighbours. I’m still thinking how we can realise it.”
Stefan also connects people outside his neighbourhood: “It’s not for me personally, it’s because I think they can be of assistance to one another. For instance, here in Eindhoven, I introduced Swedish chef Erling Rugsten to designer Ben Hohmann. Together they came up with a great concept: having dinner at tables with fading light in them and food on transparent plates. The lights changed colour each course. How cool is that?”
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