Moving to Valencia can be a dream that not even the pandemic could destroy! This week, we meet Pim Hollander and Louise Vierstraete, twentysomethings who ignored the critics to come and live in the sun – and who love their lives…
Pim (27) and Louise (25) have found in Valencia the life they were looking for. No 9-5 office job, an opportunity to become entrepreneurs, and dream-like weekends. An example of a dream come true.
Pim Hollander: We moved here together in September 2019. I was aware of a franchise football club concept in Holland called FC Urban; I was playing with them in Amsterdam so I discussed opportunities with them. I had been in Valencia for two months back in 2018 studying Spanish, and back then I realized the possibilities to open the franchise here, so that is what we did.
FC Urban supported my dream. We kicked off in September 2019, and it started off really well. Valencia is a city for startups, scalable companies and digital nomads, and with lots of companies relocating here, I thought the business model would work well. So Covid was a complete bummer.
There were long periods when we could not play so I took a job with a Dutch company here who outsourced their customer service to Valencia because there is the talent and also at half the cost. So I was super lucky.
But what I am proud of is that, despite Covid, we have made it happen here in Valencia.
I live here with my girlfriend Louise, and we live very centrally in a cool flat in El Barrio Chino, right by Estación del Norte, super central. And what drew us here is that it is a really chilled place, everyone has a really nice attitude, it’s a city full of opportunities. And it is a fraction of the cost back home.
Everything we dreamed we could do is what we are doing right now. During the week, yeah, we work, and the weekends are a total holiday, with the beach, El Río, and so many leisure opportunities.
There are lots of international people, and rent is a fraction of what we are used to, plus eating out at restaurants is half the price, or less.
When I first came, if you had asked me what I would like to change, I would have said, “more cycle lanes”, and it would be the perfect city. But now, compared to 2018, the rollout is incredible, double the number of kilometres from back then, so we could not be happier…
Louise Vierstraete: I am from Beverwijk, 30 minutes north of Amsterdam, definitely a place you should never go. I have been working since I arrived for a Dutch company, Helloprint, which I have enjoyed, but — like Pim — I also have an entrepreneurial spirit.
“We didn’t move to Valencia to have a mundane 9-5 office job.”
So something happened really randomly, which I always love. A Dutch guy called Eric came here initially for football business, so he got in touch with Pim. But then he figured out that that would not be his business, and he started looking into the Silent Disco model. He has friends in Amsterdam who had done it, and it doesn’t really happen here yet, so he saw the opportunity and was looking for a business partner, and I thought, why the hell not? Now we’re up and running. You can find us at our site and also on Instagram.
And Eric has now moved back to Amsterdam, so I am the Valencia person who can make it work.
It is so cool to have a new kind of energy, a new kind of motivation, and I support the whole idea. It’s fun, and no one really does it here so I am super excited to be involved. I am picturing Silent Disco parties on the beach, in El Turia and so on.
The reality is, we didn’t move to Valencia to have a mundane 9-5 office job, and when we arrived, Pim already had his dream but I wasn’t sure, I took a day job, I am super happy and about to move to Groupon but I do ask myself, ‘Is this the reason I moved to Valencia?’ And no, it’s not, so I am super happy to take on this new challenge.
I love Valencia, it’s a feeling, I came here for the first time four years ago and really felt the vibe. I felt really at ease, and happy for all the cliché things such as the weather, the beach, El Turia, and all that. Although it is Spain’s third city, it is really open to meeting people, it is like a bunch of villages so it is easy to get to know people. We couldn’t be happier.”
For no-nonsense straightforward help with turning your dream of moving to Valencia into reality, contact Globexs on +34 962 06 68 14 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or drop in to our Ruzafa office for a coffee. Como tu quieres!