What brought you to Amsterdam?
For me, working in IT started when I was about 15 years old. I wrote my first program at that age and since then I’ve gathered 20 years of experience. There was nothing wrong with working in Brazil, but living there was not always pleasant. There was a lot of violence and the standard of living was low. So in 2007, when I was offered the opportunity to come and work for TomTom in Europe, it was an easy decision for me. I wanted to give my daughter a better life, and in Amsterdam this would be possible.
Tell us about your work.
I am a mission critical engineer for Schuberg Philis. I work in an open office environment, fixing problems or developing code for Apache CloudStack. This is open-source software, which is used by a number of service providers to offer public cloud services or a hybrid cloud solution. Schuberg Philis has about eight people contributing to this service. We sell infrastructures to customers that cannot afford to go offline for even a minute, so we need a 100% trustworthy cloud. Open source makes it flexible. We contribute to it and use it for ourselves.
Schuberg Philis is a relatively young company. We’ve been in the business for little more than ten years, but a lot of the employees have about 20 to 30 years of experience. Of the 170 employees, 130 are engineers working on the same level. This makes Schuberg Philis flexible and adaptive.
One of the things I like most about working at Schuberg Philis is that we have the guts to tell customers how things should be done. A manager would not understand the techniques and would therefore just go along with the client’s wishes. But sometimes that is not what works best. At Schuberg Philis, there is someone directly responsible for every task performed. This makes everyone very involved and it makes it impossible to hide behind ‘technical reasons’.
What would you like your near future to look like?
Well, my kids are still young. They attend Dutch school and at home we speak 50% Portuguese and 50% Dutch. So everyone is getting more and more used to the new living environment.
My wife and I have just bought a house and plan to stay in the Netherlands at least until the kids finish high school. When they go to university, we might move somewhere else. But that is something for the future, we are very happy to live where we do at the moment.
In how far is Amsterdam having an impact on your field?
Well, Amsterdam is a great city for IT. There are lots of international companies located there, and most of them are very active in the IT field. This is very interesting for me, being an IT professional. And it helps a lot that everyone speaks English.
Internationally speaking, Amsterdam is actually quite a small city. But almost every language is being spoken and represented. If you want to grab a bite somewhere, you don’t have to be afraid your own culture’s food will be hard to find. Chances are that there will be a restaurant serving it just around the corner…
In what way would you like to see Amsterdam change?
It’s a beautiful city, with the canals and everything. And public transport is incredibly good, you can get literally everywhere by using it. But if I have to mention something worth improving, I guess I’m going to go for kid-friendliness. The city centre is great to walk around in, but it is way too crowded to live a comfortable family life.
What has networking as an international been like?
To be quite honest, I haven’t been networking that much. If I meet someone nice at work that is great, and I often do. But it’s not something I’m looking for actively. I was quite lucky actually, since some of my Brazilian friends went to work in Amsterdam around the same time as I did. We were with seven families when we moved here, which resulted in a small community of sorts. And that’s still how it is, basically speaking. Some of my friends have moved back and others are planning to stay, but we are still in touch on a regular basis.
What’s your mode of transport?
I drive an electric car, a Mitsubishi Outlander.
What do you like most about Amsterdam?
I love the canals and the total feeling of relaxation that comes over you when you go out for a walk. There is nothing to worry about in Amsterdam, it is a very safe and comfortable city. And something that I find incredibly pleasing as a Brazilian is that literally every woman in Amsterdam seems to dress like a top model. It’s as if the street is a different world, where they can’t go without looking their very best.
Are there any stereotypes of the city that you’ve found to be true?
I don’t really care about stereotypes that much. For example, I’ve never read The UnDutchables for that reason, although I’ve heard about it quite a lot. But if I have to mention something, I would go for the looks again. Aside from the beautiful women mentioned before, it seems to me that every guy on the streets is clean-shaven and has gel in his hair. Everyone makes sure they look good when they’re out in the open.
Anything you can’t find here but can’t live without?
In our first couple of years in the Netherlands, we had trouble finding some specific fruit and juices. But I was used to it already, to be quite honest. Brazil is such a large country that if you move from one state to another, the whole ecosystem is different. It is not like everything is universally available there.
What fascinates me is the fact that grapes are cheaper and fresher in the Netherlands than they are in Brazil. Of course they get imported, but apparently this process is more efficient than the internal Brazilian transports.
Are you learning Dutch?
You know, I actually went to the Nuns of Vught (the language institute Regina Coeli, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Order of St. Augustine in Vught, ed) to learn it! I try to speak Dutch with my kids as much as possible. My son actually makes me speak it with him, which is good. I can speak French and English as well, aside from Portuguese. So a third foreign language was not that much of a problem, especially since these languages have some things in common.