Introducing Joséphine Cambier, from Lille, Northern France, living and working in Amsterdam. She studied Communication Design in Paris, and is now Senior designer at Dutch digital creative agency GRRR. In a series of short interviews we would like to introduce you to some inspiring, creative ‘digital’ ladies who dared to leap into the unknown and made the Netherlands their home. Second in the series is Joséphine.
Why Amsterdam, why the Netherlands?
After Joséphine graduated, she got offered a 6-month scholarship for an internship somewhere in the EU. Whilst spending six months in Denmark, Joséphine felt an affinity with the clean, simple but effective Nordic design. Something she was keen to explore further. Also, she was looking for a place as energetic as Paris, but not as manic. Amsterdam it was! With its own ‘not-as-Nordic’, but still simple and effective style of design. She arrived in 2014 and is still here.
Also, the Netherlands is known for its work-life balance. This attracted Joséphine. So far she hasn’t been disappointed. One of the things she really likes is the fact that everyone has the opportunity to work part-time – even though she works fulltime herself. It is socially accepted.
‘People can choose to work part-time – whether with or without kids. To dedicate their time to other projects they love doing. This makes for happier people.’
She also enjoys the nine-to-five (thirty) mentality:
‘In general, it is not expected you work late – as it is in Paris. If you need to meet a deadline or feel the need to finish the final touches of a project, you can choose to work late: it is (mostly) your own choice.’
Finally, Joséphine believes that the Dutch, although brutally honest at times, are more liberal and tolerant compared to her fellow countrymen. She can live with this Dutch honesty (read: directness). She even appreciates it, especially at work.
‘Honest feedback enables you to make progress quicker, and deliver better quality work.’
‘You can definitely get by without speaking Dutch. I did learn to speak Dutch because I felt it would make it easier for me to participate in conversations during our Friday afternoon drinks (borrel) at work ;-) However, I always refer back to English, and no-one seems to have an issue with that. This might be different in other parts of the Netherlands though.’
About our attitude to digital design
The Dutch are design-orientated. You see this everywhere you go. For example, the design of the Dutch postal stamps, the logo of the Dutch public transport. They have a modern design feel and get the message across. It’s the power of design.
In countries like Spain, Italy and France design derives much more from art and fashion. It is not as much a stand-alone movement as it is here in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands it feels more functional.
...one of GRRR’s clients, The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-governmental, engineering and environmental organisation based in the Netherlands. They are focused on developing technology to extract plastic pollution from the oceans. Its founder is Boyan Slat, only 25 years old. Truly inspiring.
‘GRRR as an agency focuses on meaningful matters (zinnige zaken). Things that matter to the world. This is inspiring and creates a positive attitude at work. It also shapes the team that we are.’