Thursday 08 December 2022

Members of the international community answer 10 key questions about their lives in the Netherlands

‘Our son is growing up Dutch. He has all the Dutch traditions’

‘Our son is growing up Dutch. He has all the Dutch traditions’

Beatrice Murch spent her childhood in and around the film industry in both America and Britain. The daughter of Academy Award winning filmmaker and editor Walter Murch and author Muriel Murch, she’s lived all across the world and now works as a photographer and designer. She currently resides with her family in Utrecht, would love to have met Rutger Hauer, and enjoys Dutch directness. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband was recruited by Bol.com, so we... More >


‘I’ve got all of Europe at my doorstep here, and I’m ready to roar’

‘I’ve got all of Europe at my doorstep here, and I’m ready to roar’

Stephen Judd grew up in Winnipeg and met his future wife while volunteering in East Africa. Nearing retirement years later in America, they became frustrated with its turbulent political scene. They, literally, set sail for the Netherlands the day after Donald Trump became the US president. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It’s a long story. It begins with my mission from Canada to East Africa where I met a Dutch woman who was, like me, doing volunteer... More >


‘There’s a lot of freedom here to be yourself’

‘There’s a lot of freedom here to be yourself’

Californian-born artist and painter-decorator Sharma Peterson (52) has lived in the Netherlands more than half her life and has dual nationality. She loves the Netherlands for its gun control laws and goofy comedy, and likes getting lost among the wonderful people and streets of Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a guy in a bar in California and it turned out he was Dutch and he was going to be in California for a few months... More >


‘Here I feel like I’m a valued member of society’

‘Here I feel like I’m a valued member of society’

Nigerian Nelson T. Ajulo from Rotterdam lived in eight different countries before settling in the Netherlands in 2017. When he’s not working, you’ll find him relaxing on Scheveningen beach or playing sport. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to visit once for a business conference and fell in love with the people. The people were just super straightforward and direct and, for me, I translate that as openness and transparency. It makes life a lot easier.... More >


‘I really like how people here enjoy the small things in life’

‘I really like how people here enjoy the small things in life’

Amit Biswas is a marketing and business strategist as well as the author of Logo Land, a book about the history behind the logos of the country’s 355 municipalities. Originally from Bangladesh, he’s currently based in Eindhoven, enjoys gezelligheid, and would like to grab a cup of coffee with Armin van Buuren. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It happened as a sort of accident. I wish this hadn’t happened, but it involved my father. He was in... More >


‘I never expected to find Asian cuisine in the Netherlands’

‘I never expected to find Asian cuisine in the Netherlands’

Yuven Muniandy fulfilled a childhood dream when he moved to the Netherlands to work on his PhD. Originally from Malaysia, he’s since fallen in love with the country and its bike culture. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands to do a PhD program. Back in Malaysia I was working at a stem cell manufacturing company. I had a secure job but I felt there was something lacking. Basically, I didn’t know what to... More >


‘You have to have an opinion in the Netherlands’

‘You have to have an opinion in the Netherlands’

Indonesian national Irene Anggreeni from Rotterdam came to the Netherlands in 2006 to do a PhD in Industrial Design, but clinical depression forced a change of direction and she retrained as a psychotherapist and mental wellness coach, drawing on her own experience to help others recover from trauma. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands for a PhD position in industrial design at the University of Twente in Enschede. I have a Bachelor’s from... More >


‘Dutch is a rich and enlightening language. There’s so much historical context’

‘Dutch is a rich and enlightening language. There’s so much historical context’

Frank Heyn grew up in Baltimore and became a cook after finding himself in Paris. He later came to the Netherlands to work as a private chef for the American Consulate General before he opened his own business. He’s now the owner and director of Frank’s Smoke House, a popular deli in Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Back in 1985, I was living in Paris and working as a cook at the American embassy in Paris.... More >


‘People will laugh, but I actually like the weather’

‘People will laugh, but I actually like the weather’

Cameron Jinks (30), originally from Northern Ireland, came to the Netherlands after being offered a spot at a Breda amateur rugby club. After googling the city, and deciding he liked what he saw, he moved to the Netherlands. He’s now a tech recruiter and a coach for the first team at Amsterdam rugby club AAC and has no plans to move anywhere else. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Well, 10 years ago I was still living in... More >


‘The Dutch have a bedroom window open for fresh air, even in winter’

‘The Dutch have a bedroom window open for fresh air, even in winter’

Mayumi Konishi is originally from the island of Kyushu in Japan. She first came to the Netherlands while serving as a coach for a group of junior tennis players. She now lives in Amstelveen, loves French fries with mayo and would like to meet kickboxer Ernesto Hoost. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I first came here in 2004 for a junior tennis trip. I was with a group of players of between eight and ten years old... More >


‘It’s nice to live your life where, most of the time, you’re able to say what you think’

‘It’s nice to live your life where, most of the time, you’re able to say what you think’

Milos Mandic grew up in Belgrade and lived in the UK and the US before relocating to the Netherlands. After the pandemic forced him to stay put in Amsterdam, he used his spare time to build Socializer, an app that helps its users expand their social circle. He would like to go for a cycle ride with Mathieu van der Poel and wishes he’d known about hagelslag as a kid. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Pretty much... More >


‘Street life here was a good lesson. I see people differently.’

‘Street life here was a good lesson. I see people differently.’

Greek-Australian Apostolos Dimas (52), a trained machine operator and forklift driver, moved to Helmond in 2000 for love, but his life took an unexpected turn and, until recently, he was living on the streets of Amsterdam. He loves any excuse for a party, but just don’t ask him to get dressed up. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was a love story. I met a Dutch woman in Greece. I had a cafeteria near Corfu, and I... More >


‘Somehow, Dutch people have this smile built in’

‘Somehow, Dutch people have this smile built in’

Polish national Monika Stępień (40) from IJburg, Amsterdam is the writer and director of the online comedy series Samen.pl which draws on Monika’s experience of living in the Netherlands, poking fun at the differences between Dutch and Polish culture. She has discovered a surprisingly good Latin dance scene here, has embraced the Dutch appointment system, but is less enthusiastic about the litter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I grew up in Warsaw and I met a Dutch... More >


‘I love sandwiches and I love Tikkie so I’ve become Dutch in those ways’

‘I love sandwiches and I love Tikkie so I’ve become Dutch in those ways’

Richard Walker hails from London and came to the Netherlands to work for Dutch world service radio. The comedian, impresario, and freelance journalist spends much of his time these days doing stand-up. He’ll be hosting a benefit comedy show for Ukrainian refugee charities at the Plein Theatre in Amsterdam on Thursday, 10 March. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here to work at the Dutch World Service radio station Radio Netherlands Worldwide in 2003. I worked... More >


‘I’m a foreigner, basically… I’m definitely not an expat or something like that’

‘I’m a foreigner, basically… I’m definitely not an expat or something like that’

A project assistant for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in The Hague, Ciaran Hickey (34) from Zaandam says he’s wary of terms like ‘expat’ that divide newcomers into groups. The British national loves the Netherlands for its football and fried snacks, but wishes the Dutch could be a bit more spontaneous. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’d been living outside the UK for a while. When I was a teenager I worked in Italy, then ended... More >


‘The sea is too cold and not blue, but the beach clubs are fantastic’

‘The sea is too cold and not blue, but the beach clubs are fantastic’

Dutch national cricket team coach Ryan Campbell moved to the Netherlands five years ago and is convinced the coming season is going to be the biggest ever in the history of Dutch cricket. Ryan, from Perth in Australia, says he would like to sit down for a beer and natter with the king, but will never, ever enjoy raw herring. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After I retired from professional cricket and had spent a few years... More >


‘I plan to be here until I’m dead and buried. This is home’

‘I plan to be here until I’m dead and buried. This is home’

Greg (60) and Johanna (51) emigrated to the Netherlands from the US nearly two decades apart and now live in Leiden. They had a long distance relationship for nearly 10 years, until Johanna decided to move here permanently. They appreciate the Dutch work life balance and recommend tourists visit Rotterdam.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? Greg: I came here with a one year contract in 2000, then it was extended and extended. Then I bought a house... More >


‘The Irish could do with being 30% more Dutch, the Dutch 20% more Irish’

‘The Irish could do with being 30% more Dutch, the Dutch 20% more Irish’

Irishman Rory Brosnan came to Amsterdam for love. After working as a freelance copywriter and running a private tour business, he founded Remote Pals, an online organisation that hosts team-building sessions online. Rory says the Beemster is the best place to see tulips and is quite happy to be considered an immigrant.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2014 I moved here for a relationship. We’ve since broken up, but life here is too good to leave.... More >


‘It took me 10 years to learn Dutch – but language is only a small part of communicating’

‘It took me 10 years to learn Dutch – but language is only a small part of communicating’

Abi Daruvalla fled to Amsterdam from the UK more than 40 years ago and worked for many years as a journalist/foreign correspondent and as a trainer with the Dutch World Service and Free Press Unlimited. She had a crush on Ruud Gullit for 30 years, loves asparagus and has no plans to leave the Netherlands, ever. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was born and grew up in England but as my parents were Indian immigrants, I... More >


‘I still can’t get used to how loudly Dutch people talk’

‘I still can’t get used to how loudly Dutch people talk’

Kristóf Hajós (45) is a singer-songwriter and lead singer of The Unbending Trees. He left his native Hungary for Amsterdam three years ago after Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party tightened its grip on power in the 2018 general election. He cycles everywhere, drinks karnemelk for lunch and loves the tranquillity of the Dutch countryside. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved here in September 2018. I’d been coming here two or three times a month on business, so... More >