Skip to main content

Pursuing a career in materials science with Dow

Debora Marques, originally from Brazil, moved to the Netherlands to work in the chemical industry. Having spent some time in the Middle East working in the Oil & Gas industry, she arrived in 2022 to become an associate research scientist at Dow Terneuzen – Dow’s second largest manufacturing site worldwide and beating heart of Dow’s most corporate functions – after applying for a job opportunity on LinkedIn.

When Debora arrived, she was pleasantly surprised with the way how the Dutch work culture is structured. She was able to benefit from a welcoming immigration system that includes special benefits for highly skilled migrants, such as the 30% ruling in the Netherlands.

Portrait photo of participant Debora Marques
Debora Marques ©Dow

What was your experience with the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa?

The whole process was quite smooth. My company took care of it.  The process started by uploading some documents online.  After a couple of weeks, an approval letter was sent to a local Dutch consulate in my country to issue the visa. The day after I arrived, my residence permit was ready to be picked up at the Rotterdam Expat Center, and the day after, my Social Security number was issued by the City Hall. I was then allowed to open a bank account. A few weeks after I started my job, an accountant company hired by Dow made the arrangements for my application to the government's 30% ruling, which allowed me to pay fewer taxes in my first five years in the country. 


How would you describe living and working in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is one of the most inclusive countries I have known so far. Here, all nationalities, religions, ethnicities, genders, and people of different sexual orientations are treated equally. Inclusion, diversity, and equity are some of Dow’s most important values. This was one of the main reasons for me to choose Dow and the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is one of the most inclusive countries I have known so far.

I've had experience living and working in multinational communities in the past, and I know the value of having such a rich mix of backgrounds. At Dow, there are employees of over 50 nationalities working together to deliver sustainable and innovative solutions in different market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility, and consumer applications.

Work-life balance is an extremely important value within the Dutch work culture.

Work-life balance is an extremely important value within the Dutch work culture. At Dow, we have a flexible working strategy called "Design Your Day" that allows employees to choose the amount of time they work from home or the office and harmonize our work and personal needs, while also maintaining an active link to our colleagues in the office. I have never encountered such flexibility before. In addition, I appreciate all the career development opportunities and mentoring programs provided at Dow that help employees to be equipped with the right tools to succeed in their career journey.




Can you tell us a bit more about the region in the Netherlands where you live?

I live in Zeeland, in the southwest of the Netherlands. From here you can easily reach some of the main cities in Belgium like Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels. It’s a predominantly rural region with a few industrial sites including a busy maritime route to the Belgian ports. However, you can still find unique natural beauty here. 


What would you suggest to those who are planning to move to the Netherlands?

I would advise them to do their best to learn the local language. Even though most people in the Netherlands speak English very well, for day-to-day tasks, having some knowledge of the Dutch language might come in handy.  For example, you might need to read product labels, call a customer service department or visit social events where locals feel more comfortable speaking their own language.

Debora’s specialized skillset allowed her to find a great career opportunity at Dow that brought her to the Netherlands. Her story shines a light on the immigration process. The moving process ran much smoother thanks to the support of the company. As with much of the Dutch governance administration, many of the processes are digitized, which makes them quicker and more efficient.

The Dutch government aims to attract more people with specialized skills through initiatives such as the Dutch 30% ruling. Many local companies recognize this goal and they offer unique opportunities to internationals from around the world. Such relocations are also attractive to the expat, since people working here can benefit from the work culture in the Netherlands: there is a great work-life balance and non-hierarchical structures, in addition to beautiful landscapes.


Explore your options in the Netherlands

Learn more about all the Zeeland region has to offer and the Chemistry sector in the Netherlands.