How a tiny island is contributing to the Dutch tech boom

How a tiny island is contributing to the Dutch tech boom

As project manager for The Next Web and Index.co, it’s been a great ride so far and I’m lucky to be part of such a wonderful group of people from every corner of the world. Today I’m going to write a bit about the little corner where I come from.

I grew up on a tiny island in the Caribbean called Curaçao.

The original name translates to ‘Island of Healing’, named so by the Spanish explorers who landed there in 1499.

In Portuguese it translates to ‘Heart’, with legends and myths claiming it to be their monk-inhabited version of Atlantis. The name alone hints at its rich history, intertwined cultures and natural beauty. Curaçao is, for lack of a better word: paradise.

I moved to the Netherlands in 2007, as many Curaçaoans do when they go off to college. My college years were fun, weird and at times a little awkward. Par for the course. I quickly got to appreciate Holland, as an ambitious, intelligent and (relatively) sober country. It felt like a great place to start a career… but that was easier said than done for a kid with his head in the clouds.

Thankfully, I have the best friends anyone could have.

Like my housemate Joey; my buddies Henri, Dimitri, Derk and Nick. They’ve all inspired me to find my own groove. What do they have in common? They’re all from Curaçao and they work in tech.

The Next Web, Index.co, Messagebird, Usabilla and Uber: just a few big names based in Amsterdam and home to at least one person who grew up on that little rock. Quite a feat for an island with 150,000 inhabitants.

curacao
There we are. All 150,000 of us. Kon ta bai?

We’ve taken on the roles of designers, engineers, leaders, business developers and marketers, rising up the ranks and building awesome things. Why is it that we thrive in these tech companies? The answer is culture.

As Curaçaoans, we speak at least three languages on average, we are sensitive to cultural differences and are great communicators. Having interacted with people from all nationalities, as ambassadors to our tourism-dependent home. Traits that are very welcome in today’s global-focused tech industry.

My friends and I have been active in the Amsterdam tech scene for just over a year, and we’ve gotten our fair share of achievements: defining brands, closing deals, designing products and contributing to the future of major Dutch tech companies.

As I write this, I’m sitting outside my old home, watching over a familiar horizon: an endless sea. I’ve come to appreciate where I come from and how it has shaped who I am today. I wonder how far beyond the oceans we’ll go in the future.

Hey! Did you know Curacao also has a strong presence in sports, food, music, business, art and even Latin American history? Learn more here!

This post original appeared on Medium

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This is a #TNWLife article, a look into life and work at The Next Web.

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