Meet Edo Frese. A Dutchman in Jakarta with a finger in many pies.
When did you come to Indonesia and why?
My first trip to Indonesia was in January,1998. I had finished my studies in the Netherlands and found myself a very boring job at a state owned energy company. A few months before my actual departure, my best mate left the Netherlands for Manado to become a dive master. When I received his postcard from Manado showing the paradise island of Bunaken and it was a stormy and rainy autumn day in Holland, I decided to resign from my job to meet my friend and have an adventure in Indonesia. It turned out to be a very exciting year due to the economic crisis, ending Soeharto’s regime. I ended up meeting my best friend ten months later in Bali although I purchased a flight from Jakarta to Manado nine months earlier. So things didn’t go as planned.
What was your first impression of Jakarta?
The smell of kretek cigarettes and very open and friendly people.
One funny story from your experiences in Indonesia please.
A couple of years ago when we went back to Holland for holidays we had to bring rendang (spicy Sumatran dish) for relatives living there. Once I passed the x-rays at the airport here in Jakarta the customs thought I was carrying a bomb my suitcase! The food in the box was still warm and once ten police officers discovered out it was a just rendang, we all had a good laugh.
So what do you do for work in Jakarta?
After having worked for more than two years in Bali for a media company I met Bartele who just set up this business in Jakarta. That time he was looking for someone who could manage it so I moved with my family to Jakarta. NewspaperDirect is an international newspaper delivery service that can provide more than 1,500 newspaper titles from over 90 countries. All the newspapers are printed here in Jakarta and are same-day publications which can be delivered to any part of Jakarta.
I also run a little bakery called Aaltje Bakery which bakes Stroopwaffles for Starbucks outlets, as well as supermarkets and recently 7-11 convenience stores. Stroopwaffles are a delicious traditional Dutch caramel-filled waffles that go great with coffee.
Is this service unique to expats?
Yes it’s unique. Although we need to compete with news on the internet our newspapers are exactly the same as the originals. So you are able to read the printed version of your complete favorite paper here in Jakarta even your thousand miles from home. Our subscriptions are very flexible; single orders, weekend, monthly or yearly subscriptions are all available. Deliveries can be suspended and resumed whenever you want. I am more than happy to send a free sample to all who are interested in a subscription.
What’s your favourite newspaper?
De Telegraaf, it’s the largest daily newspaper in the Netherlands. An easy read with lots of sport news.
What do you and your family do for fun in Jakarta?
I love to play football every Saturday for FC Bugils which is active in the Expat league. Going to the cinema is great (especially when the foreign movies are back on screen again). With the kids we often go swimming.
Will you ever move back to Holland?
Who knows? I can’t predict the future but at this stage I can’t imagine going back there. I am happy here. Indonesia is a beautiful country and developing very fast so this is the place to be.