Eindhoven and the surrounding region is a great place to start or continue a career. Or to take your studies a stage higher. Or to start a business. Thousands of students, employees and business people from other countries have already done all those things. You'll quickly see that Eindhoven 'works'.
"South-east Brabant is leading in knowledge technology and manufacturing industry"
Wim van der Leegte is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. Born, brought up and still living in the Eindhoven region, Van der Leegte developed his father's metal and engineering workshop into a megacompany. The VDL Group develops, produces and markets metal and plastic semi-finished products in particular, even including complete buses. At the end of 2005 the VDL Group (71 operating companies in 16 countries) had almost 5,300 employees. Turnover in 2005 was 1.23 billion euro.
People with the right attitude
What makes the Eindhoven region so attractive for business? Van der Leegte: "The South east Brabant region is very strong in the areas of knowledge technology and manufacturing industry. We're very well aware of that, and it's something that we all work together to communicate. For example the mayor of Eindhoven puts a lot of energy into promoting our city. The region has tremendous potential in terms of the well trained workforce. And on top of that the people of Brabant are easy to get on with and have the right attitude: don't just talk about it, do it!"
Innovation and automation
Lots of manufacturing companies are transferring production to Eastern Europe or Asia, but not Van der Leegte. Why's that? "I want to be able to talk to my people, and preferably in their own dialect. That gives them more motivation. Of course, wages here are higher than in Asia, and our customers know that. They get a price from there and ask if we can do it here for the same amount. There's constant pressure on prices." But even so, the VDL Group succeeds in achieving very good results year after year. How's that possible? Van der Leegte: "Because we keep our overheads under tight control, and we're constantly innovating and automating. That's how we keep our knowledge lead over the countries with low labor costs. And we're not the only ones who do that. The whole industry in the South-east Brabant region is innovating all the time."