Monday 22 July 2019

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

‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’

‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’

Writer and journalist Gordon Darroch was widowed soon after moving to The Hague with his terminally ill wife, Magteld. He talks about the challenges of single parenthood, Jan Steen and the secret of a perfect uitsmijter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife, Magteld, was from Drenthe and like a lot of mixed couples we’d talked idly for years about emigrating, especially once we had children. It became more urgent when she was diagnosed with breast cancer... More >


‘I really would like to meet the members of the Delta Works design team’

‘I really would like to meet the members of the Delta Works design team’

Daniel Garbowski is a computer engineer for NetApp. Bank with ING or ABN AMRO? Use Ziggo, Vodaphone, or interact with the Dutch government? Chances are that Daniel’s looking after your data. He says he is one of the 5% of Poles that work for multinationals in the Netherlands, and he has a message for EU citizens everywhere. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I moved here from the States. If you live and work in the... More >


‘When I was ten, I already had the feeling I would move here’

‘When I was ten, I already had the feeling I would move here’

Novelist Ellen Keith’s Dutch ancestry drew her irresistibly to the Netherlands, where she settled in 2015. Today, the 29-year-old Canadian can be found whizzing across the capital, ringing her bicycle bell at tourists and dreaming of a perfectly-baked cookie. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My mother’s side of the family is Dutch. My grandparents were both born and raised in the Netherlands and they emigrated in the 50s. I still have some extended family in the east... More >


‘What shocked me the most about the Netherlands was how beautiful it is’

‘What shocked me the most about the Netherlands was how beautiful it is’

Why would someone with a successful career in a casting agency in New York City up sticks and move to Zaandam? In Elyse O’Shaughnessey’s case, she did it for love. Now artistic director of Orange Theater Company, Elyse is on a mission to promote world-class English-language theatre in the heart of Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here as an au pair about five years ago. I was working with this woman – she worked for... More >


‘I was surprised how high the quality of life is, and by the work-life balance’

‘I was surprised how high the quality of life is, and by the work-life balance’

Singaporean neuroscientist Xing Chen (32) moved to Amsterdam for work in 2014. Already a die-hard FEBO fan with a convincing Dutch accent, she has quickly made the Netherlands her home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was studying for my PhD in the UK and in 2014 I was looking to continue my career. I had a lot of experience working in the lab and studying the visual cortex and how the brain works and I found... More >


‘Moving out of Amsterdam really helped me improve my Dutch’

‘Moving out of Amsterdam really helped me improve my Dutch’

In 2005, nutrition educator Shay Klomp Bueters (43) left the mountains of Montana, USA for the Dutch lowlands, following a romance on a cruise ship with a Dutch co-worker whom she went on to marry. They live with their five-year-old son in Almere-Poort, where she been amazed at the Dutch ability to reclaim and settle new land. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fell in love with a Dutchie while we were both working for the Holland... More >


‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’

‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’

Hungarian-born, US and-Israeli-educated David Lusztig is a growth hacker for Codemotion—a ‘geek connector’ that unites developers and tech communities in cutting-edge conferences. He says he escaped a life in the tech world at the mercy of some money-hungry superiors—’sharks’—where many friends ended up burnt out or worse. He has since become ‘stupid proud’ of what he does, and he plans to stay in the Netherlands ‘until forever’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in Israel,... More >


‘The first thing I did was buy an OV card and go to a different city every weekend’

‘The first thing I did was buy an OV card and go to a different city every weekend’

Lithuanian Evelina Kvartŭnaitė is an events manager who moved to Amsterdam in 2008. She is averse to tourists on bikes, but loves herring as it reminds her of home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? By plane! I was just looking for another challenge, I think. I was looking for a change. I lived in Denmark for a while and I travelled here not knowing anybody. I had one suitcase and I came here for half a year’s... More >


‘An expat feels like an outsider and I don’t feel like one. I feel like I’m home’

‘An expat feels like an outsider and I don’t feel like one. I feel like I’m home’

American national Jessica Taylor Piotrowski is an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam. Happily settled here for six years with her husband John, she’s had little sleep in recent days. As spokeswoman for the United Expats of the Netherlands movement, she is busy campaigning against plans stop the 30% ruling tax break for current beneficiaries and hopes their petition will hit 25,000 by the time they present it to MPs later this month. How did you end up in... More >


‘I wish, I really wish, my Dutch friends would be more proud of their food’

‘I wish, I really wish, my Dutch friends would be more proud of their food’

Ebere Akadiri rebels against the stereotypes of being a ‘trailing spouse’. Before she moved to the Netherlands from Nigeria, with five children in tow, she was running a successful catering business. The boredom she felt after selling her company spurred her on to open up Ataro Food and Spices in The Hague and release a cookbook to raise money for her charity. Oh, and she’s about to complete a Masters degree.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I... More >


‘Get a Museumkaart and go to as many museums as you possibly can’

‘Get a Museumkaart and go to as many museums as you possibly can’

Author, publisher, and mentor Jo Parfitt describes herself as a ‘serial expat’. She’s run the steeplechase of raising two sons while cultivating a portable career across seven countries—and still she’s eager for more. Jo lives in The Hague, where last month she launched a new book Monday Morning Emails. She runs her own company Summertime Publishing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved abroad the day after I got married, in 1987. He, my husband, had already... More >


‘I plan to stay here forever, no question. My wife and everyone I love, is here’

‘I plan to stay here forever, no question. My wife and everyone I love, is here’

While he was working at NASA, Houston resident Carl Guderian decided he was ready for a change. A trip to an event for hackers in Lelystad wound up changing his life forever. He now lives in Amsterdam where he works as an engineer. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Around 1990, I was besotted with Mondo 2000 and Wired Magazine and I hung out with hackers. By 1991, I’d also gotten most of my way through a graduate... More >


‘I can feel at home here without knowing the language’

‘I can feel at home here without knowing the language’

Shadi Mokhtar (29) moved to Amsterdam four years ago, after he got a job at Booking.com. The Egyptian native says he loves the simplicity and honesty he witnesses in Dutch culture, and he is surprised by the strong work-life balance here. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After working for several startups and small agencies in Egypt, I wanted to work for a bigger company. Many Egyptians move to the UAE or the Gulf countries to build their... More >


‘The Dutch manage to make peace with water so it is not such a huge threat’

‘The Dutch manage to make peace with water so it is not such a huge threat’

Polish business consultant Daria Kanters moved to the Netherlands from Warsaw for love. Though the country now feels a lot like home, she still marvels at the Dutch ability to manage water, their future-oriented outlook, and the variety of hapjes they can make. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was love, it was my [Dutch] husband, and it was a romantic adventure. We met skiing in France and then we met a couple of times in Amsterdam... More >


‘I’m incredibly touched by the Dutch dedication to the memories of the WWII liberators’

‘I’m incredibly touched by the Dutch dedication to the memories of the WWII liberators’

Sherry Keneson-Hall works for the US foreign service and has lived in 38 cities to date. During her stint in the Netherlands so far, she has done the Vierdaagse in Nijmegen, swum in the sea on New Year’s Day and developed a passion for Limburgse vlaai with cherries. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I joined the Foreign Service right after graduate school in 2002, six months after 9/11. I went through formation classes, learned French, and began... More >


‘The Dutch make the most of the sun at every opportunity’

‘The Dutch make the most of the sun at every opportunity’

Online marketing expert Veronica Guguian is a Romanian national who moved to Amsterdam nearly eight years ago in search of adventure. She is a big fan of the Dutch diary culture, would like to meet Anouk and says stamppot reminds her of home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My story is quite boring really. I fit in the classic pattern: I followed my partner here. He came to the Netherlands to work in IT and we thought... More >


‘The beaches on Terschelling are amazing – you can take fantastic photos’

‘The beaches on Terschelling are amazing – you can take fantastic photos’

Veteran journalist Andy Clark has worked for BBC Radio, Radio Television Hong Kong, and Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The Middlesbrough native, who would like to interview Geert Wilders and loves the Dutch islands, currently lives in Leiden. He now hosts a popular podcast titled Here in Holland. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in Hong Kong where I met my wife, Julie, who is also British. We got together and lived there for a while. Then... More >


‘The red light district is one of the most beautiful parts of Amsterdam’

‘The red light district is one of the most beautiful parts of Amsterdam’

Travel blogger, museum guide and Dutch cheese addict Tea Gudek Šnajdar from Haarlem emigrated from Croatia in 2013 in search of adventure. At work or at play, there is nowhere she’s rather be than at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, marvelling at the Golden Age masterpieces. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband and I wanted to go somewhere abroad, and we had this idea while we were both still studying to go somewhere outside Croatia and get an international... More >


‘I’m one of those people who loves the rain, so I’m in the right place’

‘I’m one of those people who loves the rain, so I’m in the right place’

In search of an affordable university course in English, Somaye Dehban left her hometown of Tehran to build a new life in Utrecht. Some 13 years later, she is a Dutch-speaking, pancake-loving, echte Nederlander, with a shiny new Dutch passport. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here to study. I have a degree from Iran in Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences, but I was more a Social Sciences and Humanities person and wanted to study in... More >


‘The Dutch are sometimes more emotional than they claim they are’

‘The Dutch are sometimes more emotional than they claim they are’

Belgian Peter Vandermeersch has been editor of the NRC newspaper since 2010 and now has no intention of living anywhere else but Amsterdam. He misses long Belgian lunches and still hates karnemelk but is planning to become Dutch so he can vote in the national elections. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here in a rather special way because I was elected editor of the NRC in 2010, the best newspaper in the Dutch language. Professionally... More >