Sunday 22 May 2022

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

‘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 >


‘Amsterdam is not a city made for high heels, that’s for sure.’

‘Amsterdam is not a city made for high heels, that’s for sure.’

Moroccan-born Karim Adduchi (33) is an award-winning artist and fashion designer who moved to Barcelona as a child and then relocated to Amsterdam in 2011 to take up a place at art school. Since then, Karim has opened Amsterdam Fashion Week, featured in Forbes 30 under 30 for Europe and the Middle East, and presented his ready-to-wear collection on the runways of Paris Fashion Week. A co-founder of The World Makers Foundation, his work draws on his mixed religious and... More >


‘People go swimming in the sea even if it is snowing or raining’

‘People go swimming in the sea even if it is snowing or raining’

Originally from Lille, France, Greg Dubus relocated from Wisconsin to the Netherlands over a decade ago. He now works as both a business information risk manager and an artist. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Before I moved to the Netherlands, I was living in the USA with my wife. We lived in Wisconsin, a state which is very cold. It’s under snow, maybe, six months of the year. If you like fishing and hunting, it’s the perfect... More >


‘When the sun comes out, even when it’s 0 degrees, everyone goes outside’

‘When the sun comes out, even when it’s 0 degrees, everyone goes outside’

Gary Brown grew up in a small town in Britain before relocating to London and eventually Amsterdam. He and his partner now run Tails of the City, a popular pet care service, he likes the way the Dutch dress casually and has never seen a fight here in seven years. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved here in June 2014. I was offered a promotion with my former employer. At the time, I had just come... More >


‘I remember every bit of fleeing Afghanistan. It never leaves you’

‘I remember every bit of fleeing Afghanistan. It never leaves you’

Niloufar Rahim (34), a general practitioner from Arnhem, fled her childhood home in Kabul in 1997 to escape the Taliban and seek asylum in the Netherlands. She is the chair of Dutch-Afghan organisation KEIHAN and an ambassador for IOM, Connecting Diaspora for Development. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fled Afghanistan as a refugee with my parents when I was 10. We fled because of the Taliban regime. I remember every bit of it. It never leaves... More >


‘I would like to take one month off and just chill in Maastricht’

‘I would like to take one month off and just chill in Maastricht’

Evelyn A. Ankumah left her native Ghana for a cultural exchange programme in the Netherlands when she was a teenager. Now founding executive director of human rights group Africa Legal Aid (AFLA), she loves cheese and Maastricht and is working on a series of books based on her observations and experiences of discrimination, called Hague Girls. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I first came here when I was 17. I came on a cultural exchange programme called... More >


‘The Dutch have more freedom in how they speak with their mentor or boss’

‘The Dutch have more freedom in how they speak with their mentor or boss’

Gabriele Gobbi relocated from Rome to attend university in The Hague four years ago and is still here. He currently works as an intern at the Elemental Water Foundation, an organisation devoted to fighting water scarcity around the world. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After graduating from the Deutsche Schule Rom, the German School of Rome, I was searching for a political science bachelor’s programme and a city or an environment where I could grow academically and... More >


‘Here, I don’t have to bring my work home, and if I’m sick, I’m sick’

‘Here, I don’t have to bring my work home, and if I’m sick, I’m sick’

Courtney Schellekens works as both a project leader at the University of Groningen and as a freelance photographer who documents conflict and post-conflict environments. Originally from Boston, she loves the sensible work-life balance found in the Netherlands but Dutch nachos? Not so much. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I used to be married to a Dutch guy. We moved here from Boston when he got a job at the  University of Groningen back in 2009. I’ve been... More >


‘The Netherlands, this whole place is a big social experiment’

‘The Netherlands, this whole place is a big social experiment’

Alison Fisher is a Scottish-Canadian who moved to the Netherlands in the ‘90s to work as an editor. She lives in Amsterdam, loves the bike tunnel through the Rijksmuseum, and continues to work as both a translator and a life coach. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I planned when I left university to work my way all around the world. First, I’d look for a job, then I’d go to a country, live there for a few... More >