Canadian Noah Millman teaches at Leiden University and would use his last 24 hours in the Netherlands to visit the Efteling amusement park.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
In late 2006 I was looking for a highly rated master’s programme in my field and several universities in The Netherlands caught my attention. I applied, and here I am.
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
Somewhere between immigrant and international/expat. I’m not an immigrant because I’d like to keep my Canadian citizenship and dual nationality is not allowed. For me expat and international are the same and I see myself more closely related to this category.
How long do you plan to stay?
I do not have a current plan to leave.
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
The dreaded question. I have taken three Dutch courses, but living in Amsterdam there aren’t many opportunities to practice as the English level here is incredible and there are so many internationals. My accented Dutch is often met with English responses, so for the time being I am happy to understand, read and write in public and speak among friends.
What’s your favourite Dutch food?
A guilty pleasure would be a broodje haring but standard Dutch fare is too deep fried for regular indulgence. I am a big fan of the many wonderful fusion and non-Dutch restaurants in Amsterdam, however.
What do you miss about back home?
Evening shopping hours, sinus medication and a responsive customer care industry.
How Dutch have you become?
I believe I have retained most of my Canadian-isms, but I have embraced offering up a healthy dose of bluntness every now and then.
What’s your top tourist tip?
1) Pre-buy museum tickets. There is no better feeling than walking right past a giant queue.
2) Blend in. As much as Amsterdam is perceived as a tourist city, the people here don’t like tourists. So: A) Don’t rent a bike that is a specific colour (red, yellow, green, orange). B) Just finished the Heineken Experience and bought a few things? That green bag screams ‘charge me more’ when you walk through the market; put it in a backpack. C) Nobody living in Amsterdam wears a hat that says AMSTERDAM with marijuana leaves on it, save that for home.
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about the Netherlands.
A lot of famously liberal/tolerant/relaxed policies are only legend. It is much stricter and more regulated than I could have ever imagined.
If you had just 24 hours left in the Netherlands, what would you do?
Morning: Efteling. Evening: Walk through Amsterdam, take a boat out on the canals. Late Night: Visit one of Amsterdam’s legendary night life locations like Boom Chicago, Paradiso or Sugar Factory for some Wicked Jazz Sounds.
Noah Millman, 31, is completing a PhD in psychology of religion and teaches at Leiden and Amsterdam University.