Dan Fennessy (36) is the founder and CEO of Party With A Local, an app that helps travelers connect with locals and discover fun things to do that aren’t in the guidebooks. Since he’s been here, Dan has become a father, an impatient cyclist and a krentenbol aficionado.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I did a round the world trip back in 2006. Right at the end of that trip I was backpacking in Central America and I met a Dutch girl there. We spent some time together and then went home. I didn’t think anything was going to come of it, but we stayed in touch and decided we wanted to be together. I was ready to do something a bit different, so I decided to move over here. I’ve been here eight years now.
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
I’ve actually never heard of a ‘lovepat’ before! In some ways I don’t really like the term ‘expat,’ as it implies you’re excluded from the local community. Sometimes the expat community tends to stick together and keep to themselves. I prefer the term ‘international local.’ I feel like an expat who has integrated into Dutch society. Especially from my work with Party With A Local, I feel like an Amsterdam local now.
How long do you plan to stay and why?
I would say probably not forever, but I have no immediate plans to leave. If there’s opportunities to take the startup somewhere else, potentially the US, that could happen. Plus I wouldn’t mind living somewhere with warmer weather!
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
Yeah, I can speak it but I rarely do. I did a few intensive courses when I first arrived and passed my inburgering exams. I guess having a Dutch girlfriend and friends helps. I can listen to it, read and write it, but when people hear me speak it they tend to switch to English.
What’s your favourite Dutch food and why?
Krentenbol. It’s just like a little scone with raisins and sultanas in it. It’s quite simple but it’s a nice little snack in between snacks.
How Dutch have you become and why?
I’m a little bit more direct than I used to be, which I think is a good thing. That comes from being around the blunt Dutch mentality for so long. I’m an impatient cyclist now too, I think I rule the road on my bike. I have a son now here as well, which makes me even more integrated but I still never refer to myself as Dutch.
Which three Dutch people (dead or alive) would you most like to meet and why?
The explorer Abel Tasman, who discovered Tasmania and New Zealand. I’d like to ask him why him and the Dutch were there but decided not to colonise Australia.
Another one, who’s still alive, is Johnny De Mol, the TV personality. I don’t really like Dutch TV in general but he’s an interesting character who goes to interesting places. I’d think he’d be fun to go out and have a drink with.
Thirdly I’d pick a sportsperson, maybe Johan Cruyff. I’d like to talk to someone who’s succeeded at that level.
What’s your top tourist tip?
After telling people to download our app and party with locals here, the next day I’d recommend freshening up with a bike ride across to the north and up to Broek in Waterland. You pass a farm on the way that sells fresh milk from a milk tap, and you ride through farms and green fields. It’s amazing how quickly you get out of the city and into fields and villages.
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about the Netherlands
I knew that Dutch people were tall, but not this tall. I’m about average height in Australia, but here I’m shorter than the average girl. Trying to see live music here is often pretty difficult.
If you had just 24 hours left in the Netherlands, what would you do?
I’d go for a boat ride with a bunch of friends, drinks and food. If it was a warm day maybe we’d do some swimming in the IJ. Then I’d go to a little café near where I live and eat there on the terrace. That would be perfect.