[Entrepreneurs Impact 14] Journey Raúl Neijhorst

Childhood of Raúl Neijhorst

Fawaka! Is always the first thing Raúl says when you approach him. Raúl Neijhorst was born in Paramaribo, Suriname on February 17, 1981, and raised in Balona-Uitvlugt, a neighborhood in the south of Paramaribo, spending a significant part of his adult life in the Netherlands. His parents are Henry Neijhorst, who worked as a civil servant, and Mrs. Neijhorst, who worked as a teacher and is also known to many others. He is in a registered partnership and has two children aged 11 and 9 respectively. Raúl comes from a family of four sons, of which he is the youngest. He has three older brothers and experienced life as an only child at home from the age of 8, as his brothers were abroad for study at that time. He only saw his brothers during holidays. Raúl lived close to the Pa Lefi Sports Hall in Balona, now better known as SCVU, where he played badminton from the age of 11 to 17.

Raúl’s educational journey began at Glenn Weiss School, where he attended kindergarten and elementary school up to the first grade. He then moved on to Polanen School, followed by Paulus School, which was also the last year it was an all-boys school. During this time, he had to wait until 3 o’clock every day for his father, who worked at the Ministry of Finance. He didn’t particularly enjoy this arrangement, so after a year, he decided to switch to Christus Koning School, where he completed the second and third grades. By passing the entrance exam, he was able to attend the General Secondary School (AMS) at the age of 14. Raúl was always one of the youngest students in his class. After completing AMS, he was eager to study in the Netherlands. However, his visa was rejected twice. He then enrolled at Anton de Kom University of Suriname (ADEKUS) in the field of Electrical Engineering, while also studying MO-A Mathematics in the evening at the Institute for Teacher Training (IOL) in the same year. In January 2000, Raúl left for the Netherlands to pursue his studies Applied Physics.

Raúl’s interest in studying in the Netherlands was more of a logical step, considering the limited options available to Surinamese students:

– In Suriname, there are limited choices of studies.

– In America, it’s very expensive with language barriers, or one could opt for a Caribbean country, which might be unfamiliar.

– In the Netherlands, there’s family support, familiarity with the country, and no language barrier. It was a logical progression that if Suriname wasn’t an option after high school, it would be easier to continue education in a country like the Netherlands where there is family support and no language barrier.

Lazy student!

Raúl describes himself as a lazy and peculiar student because he consistently scored high marks, ranging from nine to ten, in subjects like mathematics and physics. However, he often received failing grades in Biology, Geography, and History. His passion for technology always stood out, starting from his days at Paulus School and reflected in his grades in technical subjects. In contrast to his studious brothers, Raúl spent much of his adolescence preoccupied with girls. Nonetheless, he participated in the Physics Olympiad twice during his high school years. The first time, he would have preferred to be with his girlfriend rather than attending classes, and in the second year, he didn’t complete the Olympiad at all due to his girlfriend ending their relationship.

Despite excelling in Physics and studying it, he never wanted to pursue a career in the field. The beauty of the discipline lies in the fact that physicists, with their developed analytical thinking, are highly versatile and can work in various sectors such as banking, IT, and more.

His Impact

The world is bigger than Suriname; let’s show Suriname to the world!

Raúl has always been fond of gadgets. He has often been occupied with the latest electronic gadgets. In the 2000s, the first digital camera was released, and due to his love for gadgets, Raúl then bought his first digital camera. This is how he started taking photos for fun and became infected with the photography virus. A friend at the time motivated him to do something with it. He decided to delve into photography by reading many books and searching for information on the internet. At that time, he worked at a call center and was fortunate enough to practice with his female colleagues. He also worked in the IT Helpdesk department of the same company, so after all the problems were solved, he still had a plenty of spare time.. He used that time to google and had access to a printing department, allowing him to gather all the materials and read up. During that period, Raúl also moved to an empty student room that he had set up as a home photostudio. And that allowed him to quickly get started with photography.

Now, Raúl Neijhorst Fotografie has been around for 21 years with over 5000 clients in the Netherlands, Suriname, Curaçao, and Belgium.

The Irony ….

Raúl doesn’t particularly enjoy photography itself. Yet, he thrives on connecting with people and revels in socializing with others. Photography is the tool he employs to facilitate that connection. For him, ‘THE EXPERIENCE’ is paramount – ensuring that every client who exits his studio or whose photos he captures elsewhere looks back on the moment and the pleasant experience above the beauty of the photographs. Raúl exclusively captures images of people.

He captures: 

  • Love, Life, Moments, Happiness, Emotions, Action, Impressions, Beauty.


Growth through Experience

Steve Armand Fritsche

Through many joyful moments, Raúl experienced a significant setback in his life. He had a cousin, Steve Fritsche, with whom he shared many activities. In Holland, he  rented the studio together with his cousin. After some time, Steve developed a brain tumor and passed away within a year. They had many plans together, which Raúl now sadly has to carry on alone.

Raúl Neijhorst has a deep love for Suriname and strives to portray this country in a positive light. He is also the compiler/writer of both editions of the book SURINAME BEKEN(D)T. These books each contain 75 revealing portraits of Surinamese stars and hidden gems who make various contributions on the international stage in different fields, of which we know very little or even nothing. Raúl dedicated the first edition of SURINAME BEKEN(D)T to his cousin Steve, with whom he would have loved to collaborate.

When Raúl first started with photography, he had converted an empty student room into a studio. This room was approximately 20m2 in size. Over the years, he has experienced steady growth, allowing him to invest in various studio spaces. Now, he has a separate space of about 200m2, where he accommodates clients and provides the best shooting experiences. In 2007, he began flyering in malls and various photography stores in Suriname. Since then, demand has increased, leading him to travel multiple times a year for photography services in Suriname, which he conducts in apartments that he rents each time he comes to Suriname.

Since 2013, Raúl has also committed himself to attending a minimum of 2 trainings or workshops annually to stay up to date with trends and to refresh and inspire himself alongside other fellow photographers. Being a member of a photo club has greatly benefited him. It encouraged him to participate in national and international competitions. Winning competitions has also motivated him to continue pushing boundaries. In 2008, Raúl won the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th prizes at the Any Body Any Image photo contest in Suriname.

Closing Remarks from Raúl

The Show must Go on!

What a boring life it would be if everything were perfect and people never made mistakes. As humans, we learn from the mistakes we make. Shoot your shot and fine-tune afterwards. When things are incomplete, it challenges you to make them better. Life is about trial and error. Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people, and once you’ve started, don’t let setbacks discourage you. Also, be aware that as humans, we can’t do everything alone. Give others ‘jobs’, and you’ll find that others will also give you opportunities. See other entrepreneurs as your colleagues rather than your competitors and learn from each other. Also, know that competition is actually good because it keeps you sharp.

Entrepreneur’s Impact

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