British accountant Stephen Huyton has lived in the Netherlands for 20 years and is former chairman of Britsoc, the British Society of Amsterdam.
We ask him 10 questions about his life in the Netherlands.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I was invited to be the first finance director of the company – Thermopatch, where I still work. The goal was to prepare it for a stock market launch in London or New York, or a sale to a third party. After five years the company was sold to a US competitor. I was asked to stay on and as they say the rest is history.
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
Very much an international. I came to the Netherlands because I believe in the concept of a United States of Europe. I love the internationalism in my family life and the opportunities my children have had to grow up in an international environment.
How long do you plan to stay?
I have no plans to leave. I lost my 30% ruling many yeas ago and pay my taxes like any other Dutch person.
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
I learned very slowly. Accountants do not readily do languages!! Eventually I attended the famous nuns school. My Dutch is still not word perfect but I since I work in Dutch most of the day it continually evolves!
What’s your favourite Dutch food?
Savoury pancakes – spek and kaas (bacon and cheese). I’ve loved the combination from day one. But no, I don’t add stroop (syrup) like most Dutch people do.
What do you miss about back home?
Lancashire cheese. I used to smuggle it back in my suitcase like all expats. Now, with Marks & Spencer in the Netherlands, you can get hold of it.
How Dutch have you become?
I appreciate the greater seperation between your work and your private live. And I really value the emphasis on family life.
What’s your top tourist tip?
Try the National Park and the Kroller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe. You get 5,400 hectares of park and nature and even when its busy, it is still so easy to lose yourself.
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about the Netherlands
Just how short I am.
If you had just 24 hours left in the Netherlands, what would you do?
That depends on the time of year. If it is summer, I would start out early and head up for a day to Texel, hire a bike and cycle. It is really exhilarating. If it was winter and cold enough I would go skating on the Vecht. There is nothing better.
Stephen Huyton is group finance director at Thermopatch International and has lived in the Netherlands for 20 years. He is the former chairman of the British Society of Amsterdam.