‘The University of Twente? That means working in an inspiring environment close to new developments’

Johan van Duyvendijk has been living and working in Twente for less than a year. He feels completely at home, both at his work at the University of Twente and in his new hometown Eibergen, just outside of Twente. “I have lived and worked in many places, but I’ve never felt as welcome as I do here.”

Did you move here for work?

“Yes. I grew up in the North of Noord-Holland and studied social geography in Utrecht, where I lived at the time. I met my wife Lieke, who got a job at Trinity College in Dublin. I couldn’t find a job there in my field of study, so I ended up in IT. I started working in a call centre. Long story short: I continued in that field and now work as Department Head of Customer Support ICT at the University of Twente."

Can you make that short story a little longer?

“Of course! I soon became a team leader and then a manager. I am – as cliché as that sounds – a real people person. I love helping a team move forward while solving customers’ problems. I still haven’t had enough of that, even after 25 years at different companies. I have been working in Enschede for over a year, but I can truly say I feel completely at home working in this environment and with these people.”

What exactly do you do as a department head?

“I manage 40 people, divided into four teams with four team leaders. We have a service desk for employees and students, including a walk-in desk. The ‘location support’ team works in the various buildings on the UT site and ensures everything goes smoothly there. This team also runs the Notebook Service Centre, a walk-in desk where students can go with notebook problems. The workplace development team, a kind of think tank for new developments, rolls them out across the campus if necessary. Last but not least, there is the video team. It set up a DIY studio during the corona crisis: a professional studio where professors could record their lectures and students put together online presentations. I am also responsible for the LISA (Library, IT, Services & Archives) communication department. As my job, I try to make the work of those 40 people as easy as possible.”

How do you do that?

“First of all, my door is always open. Though, of course, I close it when people tell me something confidential. Integrity is essential to me. If someone is not feeling well, I want to know about it so I can support them. A personal situation can affect your work. I like taking care of people: in my work, family, relationships and friendships. It is no coincidence that my wife Lieke and I have an extra bedroom with a bathroom in our new house in Eibergen, specifically for friends and family visiting us. We want them to feel welcome and comfortable. It’s the same in my work.”

Can you give any examples?

“If someone from my team wants to have more training or follow a course to further develop themselves, I look at the possibilities. If their work is made easier by having a second screen, we make it so. I try to make sure that people feel comfortable in their work so that they, in turn, can help customers – UT employees and students, in our case – as much as possible.”

You said you feel welcome here, where does that show?

"At my workplace, everyone is very approachable. The (international) working environment is inspiring. You see the new generation of students doing fantastic things. For instance, I recently met a student who is researching 'remote rowing together.' Through sensors and video connections, rowers can row together and learn from each other despite being in different locations. As a rower myself, I immediately volunteered as a test subject when the prototype was ready. It was amazing. At the University of Twente, you are close to new developments."

And privately?

"Every village in Twente, including Eibergen, has its own unique character that I love getting to know. I can create a home anywhere together with Lieke. That's necessary when you move a lot, but here? If you make an effort to integrate, for example, by doing groceries, using services from local businesses, and joining a local association - in my case, a running club - you quickly become part of the community. It's quite different from other parts of the Netherlands. I love that the greengrocer asks how my work is going and knows my name, and that I became a full-fledged member of the running group, sharing joys and sorrows with its members in no time. The genuine interest and support for each other here are heartwarming. If someone doesn't greet you on the street here, you know they are a tourist. It's these little things, combined with the beautiful surroundings, that make us feel completely at home here."

More information

University of Twente
Drienerlolaan 5
7522NB Enschede
+31 (0)53 489 9111 info@utwente.nl https://twente.com/organisaties/universiteit-twente

Global Goals

Date: 3 July 2023 |

Source of tekst: Universiteit Twente, Johan van Duyvendijk |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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