Tuesday 10 December 2019

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

‘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 >


‘My favourite Dutch thing is the 35% off section at Albert Heijn’

‘My favourite Dutch thing is the 35% off section at Albert Heijn’

Raquel García Hermida-van der Walle is a Spanish national who works for an animal rescue charity and has lived in the small Frisian town of Gorredijk for the past seven years. She is also standing for election to the European parliament on behalf of D66 on May 23. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a man from Gorredijk while I was at a bachelorette party in Barcelona. We had a long distance relationship for a while,... More >


‘A museumkaart means there is no pressure to get my money’s worth’

‘A museumkaart means there is no pressure to get my money’s worth’

 Originally from West Los Angeles, Joe Silber moved to Prague in the early ‘00s. There he met his future wife and later moved with her to the Netherlands where he currently works as a technical writer. He’s partial to an uitsmijter, would like to have met Jan Steen and plans to visit the Aalsmeer flower auction. How did you end up in the Netherlands? When I first moved to Europe, I lived in Prague for about five years. I met... More >


‘I have a new appreciation for the ‘rules’ of society’

‘I have a new appreciation for the ‘rules’ of society’

Swapping New Amsterdam for Old, 37-year-old visual effects expert Ricky Weissman from New York quickly felt at home in the surprisingly familiar architecture of Amsterdam’s Jordaan. Three years in, he is mad for mustard, flowers and sand dunes and never says no to a poffertje. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife and I were living in Brooklyn, New York about three years ago now and we had found that we were travelling to Europe more and... More >


‘I would go for a beer and talk to the three Dutch guys sitting next to me’

‘I would go for a beer and talk to the three Dutch guys sitting next to me’

Greek national Charalampos Sergios came to the Netherlands to continue his academic career but ended up co-founding the website IamExpat instead. He’s a huge fan of the Dutch agenda, likes to drink local beer in local bars, and says rainy days make him productive. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was studying for a master’s degree in marketing in Stirling in Scotland and then went on to do an MPhil in what was basically econometrics and marketing... More >


‘People here speak their mind, but they’ve never seemed rude to me’

‘People here speak their mind, but they’ve never seemed rude to me’

Originally from Plymouth in the US, New York Times author and illustrator Brooke Barker moved with her husband from America to Amsterdam a few years ago. She loves real ginger tea with ginger slices, is baffled by the local love of toothpicks and says she is too short to ever feel really Dutch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always loved the Netherlands, and I’d always wanted to live there so I found a job with an... More >


‘I couldn’t get over how perfect Amsterdam looked, like a postcard’

‘I couldn’t get over how perfect Amsterdam looked, like a postcard’

Bilge Yörük spent most of her childhood in Turkey before she moved to Canada as a teenager. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and young daughter and works for a medical research company. She would like to meet tv presenter Arjen Lubach and loves hanging out in the Jordaan. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my now husband while I was working on my PhD in Toronto. He was doing a research internship in... More >