Xpat Interview: Alex Van Damme, Owner of TableFree Kft

  • 19 May 2015 12:00 PM
Xpat Interview: Alex Van Damme, Owner of TableFree Kft
Alex Van Damme was born in Belgium, Antwerp on October 5th 1972. He lives in Budapest since more than 10 years, is married and has 2 young boys.

Growing up in Belgium, Alex studied Commercial management and Hotel management and has been living in various countries in Europe before landing in Budapest in 2002.

Since 2011, Alex is the owner of TableFree Kft, a leading platform for restaurants in Budapest, offering automated reservation functionalities for diners as well as organizing events for companies and private people.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I arrived in Bp 2003. It was an easy decision to move from Vienna, where I was living at that moment, to Budapest. I realized that I was spending at least 3 days a week in Budapest because of work related reasons, so instead of driving up and down I decided it would make more sense to move here.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
I lived in various countries over the last 20 years like Austria; Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and France.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
The beauty and dynamic of Budapest, but also the peace and quiet that you find on the country side as well as the friendliness of the people on the country side.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Next to all the beautiful landmarks one has to visit when here for the first time, I would certainly take them for an evening out on the Margaret Island and other open air bars, as those are always great fun. The ruin pubs also guarantee for a great night out. Followed by a late brunch the following morning along the Danube.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
There is a lot of great Hungarian food, but the Bean Soup, a homemade Goulash soup or Chicken-paprika are definitely on top of the list!

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Gouda Cheese

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Egyenessen! Don’t know if that’s spelled correctly ( probably not!) . It just means ‘straight on’ if I’m not mistaken, but I like the sound of it!

8. What do you miss the most from home?
Friends, certain foods, the sea side.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
A career in Hotel Management

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Road worker

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Belgium. Home country, so mostly for family reasons. But a great country, always a pleasure to go back there. The climate could be better though.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
That is already taken care of. It’s going to be in the South of France and Belgium, not necessarily in that order.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I have a wide taste for music and never really idolized any band or person, but I always liked ‘The Boss’ - Mr Bruce Springsteen! As a band, I like Dire Straits al lot, more recent Amy Winehouse, Adèle,… Movies and/or books depend really on the mood, but a good thriller is always welcome.

14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
A good coffee in the morning, and a good glass of wine or whisky depending on the time of day!

15. Red wine or white?

16. Book or movie?

17. Morning person or night person?
Used to be a night person, shifting more and more to a morning person.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
With my company I do a few activities with the Hungarian Red Cross, such as meals for the homeless shelters amongst others. I think it’s important and I am grateful that the Red Cross reaches out to me. Other than that, everything related to the wellbeing of children is close to me, being a father of 2 young boys.

19. Buda side or Pest side?
Buda for living, Pest for work and party.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Look forward, not backwards!

  • How does this interview make you feel?