‘I happily followed my husband for a horse and our dream home’

English woman Charlotte Bellamy has two bikes, a penchant for Dutch apple pie and misses fish and chips.

What do you do?
I am a photographer. I specialise in natural and relaxed family portraiture on location and equine photography. I also teach English language photography courses from my home and all over the Netherlands – I love my job!

How did you end up in the Netherlands?
My husband came to work with the Rabobank International team, and on the promise of a horse and our dream home I happily followed him!

How would you describe yourself? – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc. and why?
I think of myself as an international individual. My son goes to an international school, and so daily I am mixing with individuals of so many nationalities, this creates so many opportunities for us as a family.

How long do you plan to stay?
We have no plans to leave at the moment. I have been here nearly two years and feel very settled.

Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
I can speak enough Dutch to be able to shop, converse with my neighbours and understand the weather and traffic news on the radio! I’m one of those individuals that just starts talking using the Dutch that I know (regardless of whether the order of the word or if I’m talking in the correct tense!) It seems to endear me to my neighbours that at least I’m trying to speak their language. My husband and I have had 50 hours from a private tutor.

What is your favourite Dutch food?
That has to be apple cake and cream! Although this year my neighbour made me homemade olliebollen for New Year and they were delicious.

What do you miss about back home?
Not having to wonder if people can/will speak my language! I hate having to start every sentence with Spreekt U Engels? Also I’m quite a foodie and I do miss the wide variety of food back home – especially traditional English fish and chips out of the newspaper!

How Dutch have you become?
Well, I recycle far more here than I ever did in the UK, and I own two bikes, but that’s about as Dutch as I have got. I still use my car to get around most of the time, and use the back door of my house as the main door (which confuses all my Dutch visitors!)

What’s your top tourist tip?
The Netherlands is really not a very big country – don’t just limit a trip here to Amsterdam! There is so much to see and do. Where we live near Arnhem, I can get to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Kinderdijk, Delft, Gouda, Geithorne, Hoge Veluwe and the Dutch bulb fields within 90 minute drive. These are just a few of the fantastic places to visit in the Netherlands.

Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about the Netherlands?
I still have trouble getting my head around the fact that the Dutch don’t celebrate Christmas in the same was as we do in the UK. The two countries are not so far apart but they have such different customs.

If you had 24 hours left in the Netherlands, what would you do?
I’d try and photograph as many of the amazing locations in the Netherlands as possible that I had not yet managed. I’d hope it was tulip time, as I would absolutely love to see the Dutch bulb fields from above in a small plane and photograph that.

Charlotte Bellamy is English and lives near Arnhem. She offers location family photography and English language photography courses. www.charlottebellamy.com

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