Mike Bergen, 44, lives with his girlfriend in Barcelona. Mike was born in Amsterdam and has lived in Portugal, Greece, and Belgium before moving to Barcelona 5 years ago. He works as a freelance digital marketing consultant and is a managing partner of an ad-tech company based in London. Now in Barcelona he is also part of a sustainable energy start-up.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
Amsterdam is great, but the climate isn’t. I wanted to move to a sunnier climate. I wanted to move to a sunnier climate and I was looking in southern Europe. It soon became clear that there was only one good place for me: Barcelona. It has the climate, the beaches, but it is also big enough to have access to businesses and good infrastructure, such as fiber internet, which is crucial for me. Also, as I still work with a lot of Dutch and British companies, it’s close enough to fly regularly, which also means I’m close to family, which was also an important fact for me. Barcelona has everything. The business infrastructure, the climate, the beach, all the great restaurants, and the culture. Plus, it has a beautiful environment to discover.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
I like almost everything. The architecture, the atmosphere, and the energy of the city. I feel at home here. There is so much to do and see. Also, I feel that the people are helpful and friendly. Public transport is good and it is easy to get around the city.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
Petty theft and crime, although I haven’t encountered it myself, many friends have. Also, the paperwork can be a hindrance when you are new to the city and it takes a long time. It should be more efficient or focused on the internet.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
The people. In spite of everything, they went ahead with a positive attitude and adapted to the new situation. In addition, you see more and more different businesses. I think Barcelona is open to new companies and facilitates it with good infrastructures, such as a lot of good co-working spaces.
What other challenges do you think the city will face once the health crisis ends?
Housing is a big issue and so is the need to create more well-paid jobs. Barcelona Global is making a big effort in this regard and the city is working on it more and more. This will be the most important area for improvement for Barcelona to thrive and become a better version of itself.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
Growth and expansion. I think Barcelona is very well known and loved in many parts of Europe and indeed the world. And I think that after Covid people will focus more on their work-life balance. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more professionals making the decision to work from Barcelona to improve this balance.
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
I really must say that in Barcelona I felt at home from day one. I really love it here and I see it as my city.
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