“We were pretty much the first ones to leave for the Netherlands in our country. I remember it wasn’t easy for Bulgarians, either. The first six years we weren’t allowed to stay, because my parents were denied work permits every time. That meant we didn’t have a home, because you needed a steady job for that. We traded Hilversum for Sofia every few months. I had to change schools all the time, which was difficult.
When I was eighteen, my dad managed to start a business here. Things went fast from there, and we got a house in Hilversum. Soon after, I started my own construction company.
I hardly ever work with Bulgarians. They will tell you they can do anything, but they’re just not as skilled as Dutch workers. Because they’re cheap, I sometimes hire one for demolition work, but never for painting or stucco – they’re just not good enough.
And they have a different mentality because of communism. They feel that no matter how hard they work, they’ll still be paid the same.
My parents are retired and live in Bulgaria now. It’s a great place to be retired: there’s peace and quiet and nature is beautiful. The climate is warmer, too. I will never go back to Bulgaria for good. I feel perfect over here.”