British Amsterdammer Vicky Hampton loves Osseworst and is definitely not an expat.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I studied here on an Erasmus exchange programme back in 2001/2002. I fell in love with Amsterdam and didn’t want to leave… At the time, I did the sensible thing and returned to the UK to finish my degree, after which I ended up in London with every other graduate for a couple of years. But at a certain moment, my love of Amsterdam got the better of me and I quit my job, handed in my notice on my rented room and moved to Amsterdam permanently… I’ve never looked back!
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
I’m glad you asked that question, because a lot of other companies/websites that have published interviews with me seem to assume I’m an expat. Isn’t that someone who’s paid to be here by their company? I’ve never been an expat, so I guess I consider myself to be an international Amsterdammer.
How long do you plan to stay?
As long as I love being here! That could be a year, or it could be a lifetime.
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
Yes, I do speak Dutch, although not perfectly. I took various group classes (which was a great way to meet people, too) and eventually took my NT2 (Nederlands als Tweede Taal) exams a few years ago.
What’s your favourite Dutch food?
I’d have to pick ossenworst. It’s a raw, smoked beef sausage that’s not to everyone’s taste, but I love it with a touch of mustard and a bock beer. By the way, top tip: the best ossenworst is to be tasted at Café de Dokter (Rozenboomsteeg 4, just off the Spui). Incidentally, I’m a food blogger, so for more food tips check out AmsterdamFoodie.nl for all the latest restaurant recommendations!
What do you miss about back home?
Not too much, really. But I do like to see the rolling hills of the English countryside when I go back… And the British sense of humour – it’s not quite the same anywhere else!
How Dutch have you become?
In some ways, I think I was fairly Dutch before I arrived. My directness never went down too well in England, so it was a relief to find fellow straight-talkers over here. I also couldn’t live without my bike these days, but I expect everyone says that!
What’s your top tourist tip?
I love taking visitors out of the city, across the free ferry to Amsterdam Noord, into the Waterland area by bike. The Dutch countryside may not be spectacular, but all the flat green fields and waterways have a calm, understated kind of beauty. Plus, all that biking means you feel completely justified in stopping at one of the picturesque little villages for a slice of apple pie en route!
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about NL
People aren’t as tolerant as the Netherlands’ reputation would suggest. They just don’t much like other people telling them what to do.
If you had just 24 hours left in NL, what would you do?
What a terrible thought! Much as I love Amsterdam, it’s the people who make my life here what it is, so I’d round up all my friends for as many glasses of white beer and fried borrelhapjes as we could stomach and then head to my local park, the Westerpark, to watch the sun rise together.