Relocating across Europe: Experiences from two Valconeers

10 February 2023 4 min. read
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Valcon has been growing steadily across Europe, providing ample opportunities for its consultants to experience life abroad while working in a familiar setting. We spoke with two two Valconeers wo recently relocated – Stig Jessen and David Balzan – while continuing to work for Valcon.

In 2000, David started working for one of Valcon’s predecessors in the UK as part of the data department where he used his technical background to assist in large enterprise data-oriented programmes.

About four years ago, David moved to the Netherlands with his family to lead Valcon’s Data Governance Offering. He currently works with three different clients on different data projects.

Relocating across Europe: Experiences from two Valconeers

Stig has been working for Valcon since 2006. He started as a Supply Chain and Procurement consultant in Denmark and mainly focused on optimising operations and creating cost reductions to benefit clients.

Half a year ago, Stig moved from Copenhagen to Amsterdam with his family to build the Strategy & Transformation consulting capability and take on the role of a Consulting Synergy partner to strengthen the collaboration between Valcon’s consulting capabilities in the Netherlands, the Nordics and the UK. He also still works for clients in the Netherlands and the Nordics.

Reasons for relocating

Being really motivated to create a strong Valcon brand across different geographies, Stig decided to move to the Netherlands out of a strong motivation to create the Valcon brand across different geographies. “I feel that the best way to create synergy is to be present in several countries and really understand the differences; where do we match, where do we find further potentials to the benefit of our clients and where do we still have some work to do? If you fly back and forth, you only get snapshots instead of the full insights.”

Even though Stig relocated to other countries before (Sweden, India and the US), this is the first time he moved for a longer period with his whole family.

David has also been all over the world for his job, including Europe, the US, the Middle East and South Africa. Before his relocation, he worked for a London-based client Monday and Friday, while assisting a client in the Netherlands Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“I was flying back and forth from Amsterdam every week, so I was already working here at the time. Furthermore, I was also creating a Dutch office for our UK organisation before the merger between Viqtor Davis, First Consulting and Valcon.” Just like Stig, David moved to the Netherlands with his family.

Differences and similarities around culture and country

Relocating gives a great view into the differences and similarities between your initial country of residence and your new home. “I feel that the Dutch and Danish cultures are quite similar. I really like the directness and openness of Dutch people, it’s very easy to connect. The major difference between the countries is that there are a lot more people in the Netherlands: everywhere I go there are people.” Stig tells.

According to David, there are a lot of similarities between the UK and the Netherlands as well, such as the sense of humour and rainy weather. There are also some differences: “The things that I like is the fact how the Netherlands is laid out and planned around bikes. This is fantastic for our children because they can be more independent.”

“The Netherlands is also quite small, which means you have to travel less as a consultant when you’re visiting your clients, resulting in being able to spend more time with your family.”

Tips for relocating

Relocating can be a big next step in your life. If you are interested in moving countries, David mentions that it’s all about research and integration.

“Doing your research I think is super important. We spent a lot of time driving around trying to get to know the country, the towns, the transport, the kind of different cultures of the different regions. I think it's really important to integrate as well: not just the language, but also to join some local clubs for instance.” Stig adds to that: “be prepared to be overly open; it will help you to connect to the people and their culture.”

Not everybody might be into moving countries, but David and Stig are happy they took the plunge. “Relocating can be a challenge, but it's a nice challenge.”