Sunday 29 March 2020

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

‘I wish Van Gogh had come from my country’

‘I wish Van Gogh had come from my country’

Originally from the United Kingdom, Tim Butler moved to the Netherlands because he really liked the art. He thinks Dutch pastries are underrated and knows where you can find better Van Gogh’s than you can see in the Van Gogh museum. How did you end up in the Netherlands?  It was for Van Gogh that I came here originally. My entrance to Van Gogh was through The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, a collection of 903 which he either sent... More >


‘I’ve seen more rainbows in my time here than anywhere else’

‘I’ve seen more rainbows in my time here than anywhere else’

Daniel Loebl grew up in Peru and spent several years in the United States before he moved to Amsterdam with his family. He currently lives in Amstelveen, is working on his second novel, and would love to go get coffee with Rutger Bregman. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2016, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin with my family. I was offered a job opportunity at a company with offices in Amsterdam. It took me less than... More >


‘When dealing with Dutch colleagues, I had to be more direct or it wouldn’t work’

‘When dealing with Dutch colleagues, I had to be more direct or it wouldn’t work’

Most internationals come to the Netherlands to work, to study or to follow their love. Not Emi Collier. The Japanese native wanted to move to the Netherlands because she loves the culture’s directness.  How did you end up in the Netherlands?  I moved here with my family in July 2019. I am from Japan and the Dutch and the Japanese have a friendship treaty that allows Japanese people to get a residency permit if they have a small business. I... More >


‘There’s a sense of energy in Amsterdam you don’t really get in many other places’

‘There’s a sense of energy in Amsterdam you don’t really get in many other places’

Héloïse Hooton grew up in a French and English household in Carlisle near the Scottish border. She now lives in the Netherlands, owns a PR consultancy firm, and co-directs the event series 5×15 Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands I was living in Paris in 2010 but, despite being half French and bilingual, I didn’t quite gel with the Parisians or the Parisian way of life. It’s a pretty traditional and formal lifestyle. I missed the openness... More >


‘The Dutch are some of the most travelled people on the planet’

‘The Dutch are some of the most travelled people on the planet’

Artist Jimmy Nelson (52), originally from the UK, is best known for his photographs of indigenous people. His work has taken him to many unexplored corners of the earth, but Amsterdam is home to him and all three of his passports are Dutch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my [Dutch] ex-wife in Greece when I was 23. We had a two-day fling then I had a two-year assignment in China to photograph a book. She... More >


‘I love the warm smell coming from the oliebollen trucks that announces winter’

‘I love the warm smell coming from the oliebollen trucks that announces winter’

Tarikua Woldetsadick is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to the Netherlands in 2012 to work at CTA, an international agricultural organisation based in Wageningen. She would like to meet Mark Rutte and talk politics, is a fan of Kampen and admires the Dutch commitment to egalitarianism. How did you end up in the Netherlands? By accident. I had re-emigrated back to Ethiopia after quite some time abroad and was re-learning the ropes of working in my country. Unfortunately,... More >


‘There is something very romantic about standing on a bridge, looking down a canal’

‘There is something very romantic about standing on a bridge, looking down a canal’

Dianne Biederberg has lived in Amsterdam for more than 40 years. She’s almost retired from a job in media sales. As president of the Australian and New Zealand Club, she’s still in close contact with many of her compatriots. But she’s also become very Dutch. Unless it comes to her agenda. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman while traveling in Europe in 1972. I was on my grand tour of Europe and my sister... More >


‘I stick to the Swedish way of always wearing a bike helmet!’    

‘I stick to the Swedish way of always wearing a bike helmet!’    

Annika Markovic is the Swedish ambassador to the Netherlands. She enjoyed meeting the king when she first arrived here, is fond of the north of the country and her favourite Dutch word is ‘klant’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Being ambassador is a government appointment so it was the Swedish government that appointed me. But you can also indicate your interest… and I was interested in coming here. In some ways the Netherlands is very similar to... More >


‘Complaining is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture’

‘Complaining is deeply ingrained in Dutch culture’

Cafe owner Canadian Chris Godwaldt only moved to the Netherlands four years ago, but he speaks Dutch and is a proficient complainer. He’s sold everything back home and has no plans to leave the Netherlands.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I am of Dutch extraction. My mother is Dutch and my father’s parents were both Dutch, but I was born and raised in Canada. When I was 17, I didn’t want to go on a school trip... More >


‘I do own one orange shirt that I wear on King’s Day’

‘I do own one orange shirt that I wear on King’s Day’

Author David Swatling moved to Amsterdam in the 1980s for a change of scenery and never returned to his native United States. He’s acted, had a long radio career and wrote a thriller set in Amsterdam called Calvin’s Head. He’s currently working on a second book and enjoying life in the city.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 1985, I was working as an actor in New York City. This was the East Village in the 80s... More >


‘There is a buzz in Amsterdam, but also the stillness of the water’

‘There is a buzz in Amsterdam, but also the stillness of the water’

English national Linda Naghieh Whitaker (60) from Diemen is the longest-serving member of staff at the British School of Amsterdam, where she is head of the nursery department. Her 34 years in the Netherlands has deepened her love of football and flowers but she’s dreaming of sunnier climes come retirement. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I had worked as a nursery teacher in the east end of London for four years after finishing college and then decided... More >


‘Left to my own devices, I’d eat at the snackbar every night.’

‘Left to my own devices, I’d eat at the snackbar every night.’

Journalist and UK-native Tony Sheldon has lived in Utrecht since moving to the Netherlands for love more than 20 years ago. He’s written a book about the Battle of Arnhem, says he will never move back to Britain and would like to meet musician Jett Rebel. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here to in 1984 to interview the peace activist Mient Jan Faber for a story I was writing. I was living in London at... More >


‘The Dutch are very practical, it feels like every problem has a solution’

‘The Dutch are very practical, it feels like every problem has a solution’

Documentary portrait photographer and wild swimmer Sophie Ebrard (42) from Grenoble flitted between London and Amsterdam for four years before settling in the Netherlands in 2017. She quickly made a name for herself with her exhibition ‘It’s Just Love’, shot on the set of a porn film; and, more recently, for an article on being rejected for a job when she inquired about breastfeeding on set. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was living in London with... More >


‘I don’t feel completely at home in either the US or the Netherlands’

‘I don’t feel completely at home in either the US or the Netherlands’

Currently based in Amsterdam, Brooklyn native Jonathan Groubert originally moved to the Netherlands in the 1990s. Since then, he’s built a career as a journalist, a podcaster, and an educator, started learned Dutch using cassette tapes and is fascinated by the country’s man-made landscape. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Way, way, back when dinosaurs were still walking along the canals of Amsterdam, I met a Dutch girl in America. I’d been studying at a university in New... More >


‘The Dutch are good at panicking in advance about the weather’

‘The Dutch are good at panicking in advance about the weather’

Danish national Lasse Schöne has played midfield for Ajax since 2012 but is now off to Genoa on a two-year contract. In a 10 Questions interview before the move had been finalised, he told DutchNews.nl that the Netherlands will always be his home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The short and boring answer is that I got scouted when I was 16. There was a tournament in Denmark with all the best players of a certain age... More >


‘I might not speak much Dutch but I do cycle like them’

‘I might not speak much Dutch but I do cycle like them’

American national Joe Fletcher has lived in the Netherlands for eight years. He works for design consultancy Argo and says Dutch history has made him a more rounded person, but he can’t cope with the three kisses thing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I wanted to live outside the US for a long time and I tried for years to do it. I tried to go to Korea and my work visa got rejected. I’d worked for... More >


‘The work life balance has to be my favourite Dutch thing’

‘The work life balance has to be my favourite Dutch thing’

Originally from Datong, Xiaolin Wang moved from China to the Netherlands to pursue a master’s degree. She now lives in Delft with her family, works in the oil and gas sector, and is co-founder of Stichting Chinese Mama’s in Nederland, a platform for Chinese families in the Netherlands and anyone who is interested in Chinese culture. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here in 2006 after I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in bio-engineering from a... More >


‘The Hague is the perfect balance of the old and the new’

‘The Hague is the perfect balance of the old and the new’

Elina, who often goes by her nickname ‘Elina Selina’, is from Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. She currently lives in The Hague, which she loves, would like to ask Geert Wilders who hurt him, and can speak Rotterdam street slang. How did you end up in the Netherlands? First, some back story. When I was 15, I moved to the UK for boarding school, and then I went to the US for a year to attend university. I decided that was... More >


‘I am addicted to riding the train with my trusty OV-chipkaart’

‘I am addicted to riding the train with my trusty OV-chipkaart’

Following his retirement from the healthcare industry, California native George Sonsel began reviewing the dreams on his bucket list. Living overseas was one of them. He currently lives in The Hague with his husband Sven and volunteers for The World in Your Classroom, an educational organisation. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After retiring in the United States, I wanted to fulfill a couple of dreams on my bucket list, which included living in a different culture and... More >


‘I am here because of the international feeling and flavour of Amsterdam’

‘I am here because of the international feeling and flavour of Amsterdam’

Keen kite surfer Rune Theill is the chief executive and co-founder of start-up incubator and hub Rockstart. A Danish national, he loves Dutch boating culture even though his own boat sank and he has pledged to really learn Dutch this year. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to join Rockstart by Don Ritzen, who is one of the other founders. We had met each other through the entrepreneurial network Startup Weekend in 2011 and later... More >