Friday 22 November 2019

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

‘There’s a non-hierarchic, “say what’s in your heart” mentality here’

‘There’s a non-hierarchic, “say what’s in your heart” mentality here’

Groningen-based Israeli Guy Weizman (45) moved to the Netherlands with his partner some 20 years ago to work with celebrated choreographer Itzik Galili. Today he is the artistic and general director of theatre company Noord Nederlands Toneel and dance company Club Guy & Roni; parent to a teenage son; and an enthusiast for Dutch art, literature, philosophy and oliebollen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to come and work here when I was dancing, myself.... More >


‘There are more than 400 museums in this tiny country’

‘There are more than 400 museums in this tiny country’

Dual national Abbie Vandivere (Canadian and British) gets to work with some of the Netherlands’ most precious paintings, as a conservator at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In the Netherlands for 13 years, she would like to have a party at Jan Steen’s family tavern, and invite Hieronymus Bosch and Johannes Vermeer to join in. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always been fascinated by Dutch Old Master paintings, and I came here in 2005 for an... More >


‘I got into local cooking because I had to. I knew I was going to stay’

‘I got into local cooking because I had to. I knew I was going to stay’

Aileen Enda Jansen Dawson, 83, will be spending her 59th Christmas in the Netherlands this year. She moved here in 1959 to marry a Dutchman she met while working at a hotel in Germany. Now widowed and with four sons, she still gets het and de confused, has learned to eat Dutch vegetables and knows every museum in Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was doing hotel management at a hotel in Ireland. It was a... More >


‘Dutch people don’t like long silences but in Sweden we can live with them’

‘Dutch people don’t like long silences but in Sweden we can live with them’

Helena van Heel is a Swedish mezzo soprano who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her Dutch husband and daughter, recommends you visit the 11 Fountain tour in Friesland and sneaks off to Ikea when she gets homesick. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman in Stockholm, he was playing in an orchestra and it was love at first sight. The first time I had visited him I... More >


‘We have fallen in love with the Netherlands, the people, the weather’

‘We have fallen in love with the Netherlands, the people, the weather’

British national Hannah Bayliss, husband Tim and dog live next to the Valkenburg airbase near Katwijk where they distill gin, enjoy beach life and have gotten to grips with the weather. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We ended up here in 2015 after Tim sent me a picture of the beach at Noordwijk. We both wanted to live in another country and were debating between New Zealand or the Netherlands. Tim had a temporary job in the... More >


‘I try to make Dutch food healthier, I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen’

‘I try to make Dutch food healthier, I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen’

Jordanian Moayad Abushokhedim is a trained food scientist who has embarked on new business adventure using recycled food waste to create chemical-free additives in the Netherlands. Based in Rotterdam, he has learned to ride a bike and has become Dutch enough to go for ‘buy two, get one free’ offers in supermarkets. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved in November 2015, from Jordan — well, I moved to Spain first, and from Barcelona I moved to... More >


‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’

‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’

Rachelle Meyer is an American illustrator who moved to Amsterdam with her British husband twelve years ago. She’s currently putting together an art collection of her Faces on the Ferry drawings, she would like to meet Jesse Klaver and she thoroughly recommends the Hoge Veluwe as a place to visit. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’m originally from Texas but I was living in New York City when I met my British husband. He was living in... More >


‘I was told “even if you’re the queen of the Netherlands, no means no”‘

‘I was told “even if you’re the queen of the Netherlands, no means no”‘

Seven years ago, Beena Arunraj said goodbye to her dental practice and, with her husband Eddie, who works for Philips, upped sticks and moved from India to Eindhoven. Beena has been shocked by home births and sales staff in Ikea, but says she would like to meet Menno Snel and talk to him about the 30% ruling. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was by a very normal route: my husband was with Philips, so he moved... More >


‘Dutch families have dinners together, celebrate special events and holidays together’

‘Dutch families have dinners together, celebrate special events and holidays together’

Sheetal Shah originally moved to the Netherlands with her husband while she was finishing her PhD and pregnant with their second child. She now lives in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, teaches psychology at Webster Leiden, and works with Bridge 2 Hope, an organisation that helps the victims of human trafficking.   How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was born and brought up in Mumbai and I moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago as a trailing spouse.... More >


‘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 >