Austin – Jer Rem, Dutch with a British Employer in Austin, TX

EuroCircle will have its 15th Anniversary in Jan 2014 and celebrate it at the Netherland Club of New York City. To honor the Dutch we decided to interview other Dutch members in different cities. Jer actually attended the first EuroCircle Austin event in November 2010 @ The Austonian.

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what would be the short story of your life?

My name is Jer Rem, I’m originally from the Netherlands. I received my bachelor’s degree in Marketing there. During my education, I also spent a year studying and working in the UK. In 2001 I was relocated to Los Angeles for my work and in 2006 I moved to Austin, still working for the same employer, but now working remotely. In those 7 years I have lived in different parts of the city. Currently, I live in Round Rock with my fiancée Samara and our two dogs.

We know that your work is very important for you – could you tell us more about you work and what makes you “tick” workwise…

I work for BT (British Telecommunication) as an application manager. Due to the international environment of my employer, I deal with co-workers from all over the world. It is an interesting blend of technology and cultures.

What is THE thing/s about Austin captivates you the most? If someone asked you what they should NOT miss while in Austin, what would reply? And what I really SHOULD miss….

Things not to miss in Austin are South Congress, especially on a Sunday stroll, maybe for some brunch at Perla’s or South Congress Café and do some people watching. Going for a run or walk around Town Lake. Both Town Lake and Lake Travis are some nice places to cool off during the summer.
Having lived most of my life in Europe, I am not into American Football, just the real football. As a result, I am not much into the tailgating or watching the Football games.

What really annoys you about Austin – or maybe nothing does? Netherlands..same question?

What really annoys me about Austin? It has been mentioned before by others, the lack of public transportation. Another thing that annoys me sometimes is the overuse of “keep Austin weird”. I get it, but it doesn’t mean you have to show up in shorts and flip flops for a fancy dinner.

What do you miss most from The Netherlands or Europe…in addition to the family and friends? Food, culture, life style…

I do miss my family and friends, but through Eurocircle I have met some people that have become some of my best friends.
Of course you cannot beat the bbq from here, but I do miss the diversity of food in Austin. Luckily there are constantly new restaurants and food trailers opening here offering new types of food. What I do not miss from the Netherlands is the weather. Even with the heat in summer, it is still nice to be able to wake up in the morning with bright blue skies, plus you do not need to plan ahead about bringing an overcoat or umbrella.

Do you have a favorite Austin/area restaurant?

I think Justine’s and Estância Churrascaria would be my favorites. Both of them are just something different and are able to deliver some of their culture to the plate besides tasty food.

What do you think about the cost of living in the Netherlands vs Austin, TX – and the standard of life and life style?

In the US, it is generally cheaper to live than in the Netherlands. The price of real estate was one of the main reasons for me to move from Los Angeles to Austin. Besides real estate, the day to day items are in general are cheaper here as well. Take for example a gallon of gas. It is almost 3 times more expensive in the Netherlands. I have noticed that people tend to go out for food more often here, especially fast food. While in the Netherlands it is more common to eat at home, or at least that is what I recall from 12 years ago.

If you could change something about Austin – what would it be?

It would be nice to have more of a patio culture as you see in Europe. You see this happening on Rainey Street more and more but is of course limited due to the heat in summertime.

What are the biggest misconceptions (or perceptions that turned out to be correct) you had about Texas when you moved here– and vice versa you think many of us have about the Dutch/Amsterdam/food etc?

I guess the misconception that I had about Texas before I moved to the US, was that I thought it would be a flat desert like you see in western movies. Fortunately, the Hill Country proved me wrong.
I have met some people here(outside of the EuroCircle) that think when I say I am Dutch that I am from Denmark or that Copenhagen is the capitol of the Netherlands or Amsterdam is all about coffee shops and red-light district. Sure, just like all people over here wear cowboy boots and ride horses……..

If there are some things you think everyone should know about the Dutch people, country, food, culture, drinks, music – what are those things to you personally? I don’t even know how many Dutch people are here in Austin, do you??

To be honest, I have no statistics on how many Dutch people live here, but there are quite a few. After living here for 7 years I still run into new Dutch people. Obviously, you will have exchange students coming over here to UT and the tech industry here in Austin attracts them as well. A sure place to find Dutch people will be at Fado’s during the upcoming World Cup. There is a group on Facebook called “Austin Dutch Club” that started about year and a half ago and has about 70+ members.

Anything else you feel you’d like to share with us about Austin or yourself? Plan to stay here….

I would like to recommend everyone to come the monthly events, it is a nice informal way of meeting new people, plus having these events at different establishments provides you with an opportunity to see new places in Austin as well.

Connect with Jer Rem:
Jer at EuroCircle: www.eurocircle.com/community/user/157051-jer-rem/
Jer at Facebook: www.facebook.com/jerphaas
Jer at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/jer-rem/2/76a/10b