Into the engine room of Interreg North Sea
My first months at the Joint Secretariat have been exciting – in a very positive sense. It is always exciting to start working in a new team, but to do this outside of the Netherlands was even more exciting for me. I had no reason to worry though, as I was warmly taken in as part of a very close team. My new colleagues are wonderful, the work is interesting, and I am enjoying every day of my life in Denmark.
Soon I had established my own portfolio of projects, mostly in priority 1 and 2 which match my interest and economic background. I really enjoy speaking with project partners about the great work they are doing and support them with any questions they have.
Also, two key events were on the secretariat’s radar. First, the team was getting on full steam for the North Sea Conference at Bruges. This event was scheduled for November but had to be postponed due to the surge in the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, the new Interreg Programme was nearing completion and we had to prepare for the first call, which has just opened.
I was happy to have the opportunity to make a modest contribution to these significant events. And so new experiences came my way, such as preparing workshops, presenting the new programme, and speaking at webinars. Moreover, I was really curious to attend meetings with the Monitoring Committee, the National Contact Points and the Programme Preparation Group. I had heard of these stakeholders in the past and now I was able to meet them in real life and witness the proceedings.
Denmark versus Holland: Similar with a different flavour
Although Denmark and the Netherlands have many things in common, life in Denmark is quite different. The main difference I noticed is that the Danish are less rushed. On the whole, life is a bit quieter everywhere.
One thing that I really find amazing is that in Viborg you can go into the public library after closing hours. This is a great example of how you can build on trust in a community. Another difference from the Netherlands is the daily rhythm. The Danish start early, have an early lunch and go home earlier than I was used to.
But it is also funny how life travels with you. I still spend a lot of time working on my PhD research and playing my classic guitar. And I still enjoy outdoor activities as much as possible, like hiking and (mountain) biking. Great opportunities for that here in Jutland!
In addition, I am very interested in history and ancient sites. My first exploration of Denmark was a visit to the Viking burial site Lindholm Høje. And there are many other destinations on my must-go list!