Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.
“Utrecht is the place where I feel most at home“
“Day-to-day life in Malta is very predictable; nothing much changes.” The total surface area of the country is 316 km2 and it has a population of 440,000 (in 2016), so you can rightly call it a small country. The city of Utrecht has only 100,000 fewer residents. Tom left his home country for London at the age of eighteen with nothing more than a few secondary school certificates. “London was too much for me; it was so different from Malta. I’m not keen on small islands, but I don’t like huge cities either”, he explains. So after seven years living and working in London, he started looking for a new job. He posted his CV on a British website and was soon approached by a Dutch company. “I really wanted to stay in the UK, but then I thought ‘why not?’ I was offered the job and moved to Utrecht.”
According to Tom, life in Malta is very different from life here. “It’s where my family and friends are, and I know (or know of) nearly everyone there. I don’t know that many people in Utrecht, but I’m not lonely.” Coming from Malta, he had to get used to people grabbing their diaries before arranging to meet up. “At home, we just ring each other up and arrange to meet an hour later. Luckily, you can do this in Utrecht too because the city´s so compact. You never have to bike for longer than twenty minutes to meet someone.”
Biking to work
But Tom didn´t hop onto a bike as soon as he arrived in Utrecht. “It took me two years before I bought a bike. There are so many people, I was terrified of accidents”, says Tom. But he feels perfectly at ease on his bike now. In fact when he lived in Nieuwegein, he used to bike to work in Vianen every day. “I biked whatever the weather – sun, cold or rain. The bit over the Lek bridge was tough as you always seemed to be biking into the wind.”
Tom: “I make jokes about the Netherlands, but there’s a reason why I’m still here. Of the three places I’ve lived, Utrecht is the place where I feel most at home.” He feels safe in Utrecht and enjoys the fact that living in the Netherlands, you can travel almost anywhere else in Europe. Tom also loves his new apartment in the Radboudveste, above Hoog Catharijne. “I live on the thirteenth floor. My living room has a view of the old city centre and the Dom Tower, and I can see Amsterdam from my bedroom window. I’m staying put!”
Name: Tom Borg
Place of birth: Mellieħa, Malta
Date of birth: 12 November 1983
Motto: ‘If you want things to change, you have to work hard and grasp opportunities’
Allemaal Utrechters is a series of interviews with people who moved to Utrecht from another country. We ask them about their background and their impression of Utrecht, revealing the true diversity of our city. The ‘Allemaal Utrechters’ series is a collaboration between DUIC and Culturele Zondagen, and has been made possible with help from Stichting Dialoog and the Municipality of Utrecht. We hope to showcase every nationality in Utrecht.