Internationals in Eindhoven: Yetunde from England


Door Sabine te Braake
  • 18 February 2017

People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven. Read all our stories on internationals in Eindhoven here.

Who: Yetunde Olusanya
Country of origin: England
Work: Entrepreneur with a hotel, restaurant, vintage shop and hair salon

Friday afternoon. The Edisonstraat is busy, but luckily we can find a parking spot. We are on our way to Yetunde’s store. Just as we sit down at a table decorated with vintage things, she comes in. “What a day! I started this morning with car trouble and it didn’t get much better. But I’m here, so let’s get started!” Yetunde looks at us with a big smile and you can see the energy in her eyes.  “I’m from London, born and raised. My parents came from Nigeria. Being born in London gave me much more chances in live. I grew up in a neighbourhood just like Woensel West here in Eindhoven. I was part of the change, the progress of the neighbourhood.”

Yetunde in the Edisonstraat: “This neighbourhood is changing big time. In a while it will be one of the most popular neighbourhoods of the city.” / Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel

She came to live in Eindhoven about 15 years ago. “When I first visited the city, it was less diverse. I was in a bit of a shock. The Dutch travel a lot, you see them everywhere, but when I came here I didn’t see that openness. But how did I end up in Eindhoven then, you ask? It all started with a holiday romance, as I said, you Dutch are everywhere! I had a wonderful business in London, I travelled the world. But I got triggered to come to this city. Let me tell you about my first trip to Eindhoven: I was on a plane full of men in suits and with my appearance, I stood out. The ground personnel at the airport in London and Eindhoven asked if I really went to Eindhoven. I wondered where I would end up. I got a bit scared. London was way ahead of Eindhoven on different nationalities and cultures. Here it was nowhere near a melting pot. But I saw a candy store: a city with potential to change.”

Yetunde: “I spent almost all my time here, in my store and hotel.” / Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel

Yetunde has a very positive outlook on things: “To my opinion, when you look past the cobwebs, Eindhoven is a gem. People are opening up and that’s a good start. I really had to get used to your punctuality. The Dutch really care about the time. But I never want to go back to England. Eindhoven is changing so much, there is so much more to come. And I love the structure in The Netherlands.  It’s easy to do business here. This is the most creative city I have ever lived in.” But there are things that bother her: “People always ask me about Sinterklaas (no not Santa Clause, the Dutch celebrate this saint’s birthday on December 5th with presents for the children. More information) and then particular about Zwarte Piet. The tradition and the message of Sinterklaas are wonderful: children of every background and culture celebrate this feast in The Netherlands. But the way it’s presented, with the old man with the beard and his little black helpers, is not a good thing. More and more people understand that it is offensive. Also in this case: be part of the change. Only if more people speak out, it will eventually change so it can be a great celebration for everyone.”

This entrepreneur works a lot and loves her neighbourhood: “This area, Woensel West, is so wonderful: it’s vibrant, it’s only 5 to 10 minutes from the city centre and close to Strijp S. 99.9 percent of the time I’m working here. But when I take time off of and go out,  I love to go to Strijp S. It an inspiring place.