Business Administration student Timo Nieuwland (24) has such a busy life that he initially forgot that he was taking a reporter with him. “Sorry, I’m now in Gouda, I completely forgot about you.” He manages to get out of the train on time and is soon in a sprinter on his way to Rotterdam Alexander, where he is waiting with apologies and coffee.

The next train to his birthplace and hometown of Utrecht departs in fifteen minutes. “After secondary school, I first enrolled for Business Economics in Utrecht, but two weeks before I was due to start, I suddenly switched to Business Administration in Rotterdam. I felt it would be rather less dull and more focused on practice and entrepreneurship.”


‘Sorry, I’m now in Gouda, I completely forgot about you’

Timo Nieuwland

At the same time, he got a job working three days a week as a sales assistant at Fonky Sales. “I soon got promoted to coach and sales manager. I now work forty hours a week as a facility manager and am currently opening another new branch, now in Rotterdam.”

In September, he also embarked on a master in Strategic Management. “I’ve calculated that if I moved to Rotterdam, I’d travel more for my work than I do now. And all my friends live in Utrecht.”


Image credit: Tara Lewis

Once in the train, it becomes clear how Timo could forget his travelling reporter. His phone rings constantly and four of the five calls need answering. Between negotiating rental contracts and discussing the layout of an advertisement, he says that he still enjoys living at home.

“I’m only at home to eat and sleep. For the rest of the time, I’m at work, studying or at the gym.” At the weekend, he makes time for his girlfriend. “But she’s busy too and travels six hours to and from Maastricht on four days a week.”

Meal is ready

‘I’m only at home to eat and sleep. For the rest of the time, I’m at work, studying or at the gym’

Timo Nieuwland

He’s now realised that the level of the master is quite a bit higher than the bachelor. “I didn’t find that too hard at all. Recently someone asked me what my thesis had been about and I couldn’t remember.” At Utrecht Central, we take a bus to Leidsche Rijn, where his parental home is. “I live in the biggest Vinex housing estate in the Netherlands.”

From the bus stop, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to the Nieuwland family home. The meal that is ready for him will have to wait; within five minutes he’s packed his bag and is on his bike, calling a friend as he leaves. “I’m on my bike, see you at the gym.”

Image credit: Tara Lewis