Xpat Interview: Björn Brandt

  • 30 Jan 2009 11:00 AM
Xpat Interview: Björn Brandt
Bjorn was born in the German speaking part of Belgium where, during his childhood and youth, he lived in close touch with family, friends and nature at the countryside.

Later, while studying Tourism Management in Brussels, he also developed his artistic skills and absolute ear, playing the piano and writing songs, which he later transformed into his number one passion as he completed management studies as best in class and seized an opportunity to join Lufthansa in the early 90ies.

He then moved across diverse jobs in Sales and Marketing during several years at Lufthansa. Despite his attachment to the airline industry, he then took on a challenge at Neuhaus, famous Belgian luxury chocolate brand, where he successfully managed major central European markets and duty free business until 2004.

He is the former International Sales Director' at Malév Hungarian Airlines.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I arrived in early Winter 2008 as I was appointed 'International Sales Director' at Malév Hungarian Airlines. Bjorn Brandt from Brussels, Belgium...with so many "B's", Budapest seemed to be quite an obvious choice ;-)

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
No, but I consider myself lucky to be an airliner - it makes travelling easy, frequent, and cheap.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
Falling in love with Budapest and Hungary from the first second - regretfully the world has no clue how amazing Budapest really is; its potential is tremendous.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
A weekend is too short for such great beauty! Therefore : sleep little, get up early, go to bed late. Budapest is full of amazing surprises : after checking out the traditional clichés (see travel guide & expat interviews), make sure to also try its many little side streets and get yourself some tickets to the Opera! A weekend in Budapest without a good restaurant and lounge/club evening, to be followed by next day's thermal bath relaxation, is not a true visit of Budapest. For insider tips - call!

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Töltött Káposzta grandmother style

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Milk - I grew up amongst cows.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

8. What do you miss the most from home?
Friends, family & Belgian chocolate

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
To become a successfull songwriter - any producer out there ?

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
I would never want to work at Mc Donalds - I'd be eating Big Mac?s all day long!

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Thailand & Vietnam. Truly amazing!

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Band : anything melodic with an intelligent musical structure and arrangement
Film : The unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera)
Hobby : playing the piano.

14. What can't you resist?
Häagen-Dazs ice cream. While having a bath.

15. Red wine or white?
Milk. Low fat, 2009, slightly fruited, not too dry, from the Alps.

16. Book or movie?
Yes, in that order.

17. Morning person or night person?
Late-night crazy artist type biorythm

18. Dog person or cat person?
I'd love to have a dog, but I'm just too busy these days.

19. Buda side or Pest side?
Single = Pest side. Sorry dear friends of Buda, I might cross the river some day...

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Pick your goal and direction, but always keep in mind that roads are made for travelling, and not for destinations.

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