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Personal experience with references – or not

As a Dutchman with 30 years of experience in Brazil, personal adaptation in Portugal was very easy; the country really seems to be a perfect cultural in-between.

That having said, every move is a learning process, and finding one’s way often implies in entering dead-end allies and taking wrong decisions. Just like everybody, me and my wife sought for references. From the sources to find a house to simple things like a finding a friendly taxi driver to a reliable car mechanic to assistance in setting up a company.

For hints and introductions, I learned a lot from other Dutch, whereas my Brazilian wife “picked the brains” from many of her contemporaries. After all, it is only natural to seek help from people who speak the same language and from whom you expect to think more or less in the same way. However, it is always good to remember that in doing so, one may be lucky or not. After all, we are talking about information based on random personal experiences from other people.

Consulting the internet is even more dangerous, as I learned myself the hard way; Noticing the difference in prices for used cars, I thought to be clever buying one in The Netherlands. The bureaucratic hurdles described by people on YouTube and Google did not put me off – after all I am used to Brazilian bureaucracy… In practice, however, it was not bureaucracy but fiscal costs that soured that plan: Import duties have become truly prohibitive since a few years. As it came to show, I had consulted outdated sources and a description of an experience from the past…

Being as it is, I still truly believe in the value of personal references, but in an ideal world these would be better structured and less random.

And that´s how the idea for the foundation of REFERENCE RING Portugal Lda. was born!


Hans Mulder