Tuesday 17 September 2019

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

‘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 >


‘If someone says “we’re going to meet at 10am” we really do meet at 10am’

‘If someone says “we’re going to meet at 10am” we really do meet at 10am’

Carlos M. Roos relocated to Leiden from Caracas in 2008 to pursue a master’s degree. Nine years later, the Venezuelan native teaches at a local university, when he’s not working on his doctorate and a series of innovative musical projects. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came over looking for a very specific master’s programme, which was Philosophy of Art. At the time, that wasn’t the most popular subject out there. I found something along those lines... More >


‘You can’t bike on the roads in Italy. Here it’s a lot safer, and smoother’

‘You can’t bike on the roads in Italy. Here it’s a lot safer, and smoother’

Sofia and Elena are 11 years old, of British and Italian extraction, and have lived in the Netherlands for three years. Sofia is partial to the Dutch way of adding whipped cream to everything, while Elena thinks Dutch children are much more independent. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Sofia – We ended up here because of my mum’s job. She teaches Year 5 at the [British] school. Before that we were living in Italy. Elena – In... More >


‘Biting into bitterballen is like having flaming lava pour into your mouth’

‘Biting into bitterballen is like having flaming lava pour into your mouth’

Toronto native Matt McNeil decided to forgo a career as a broker in Canada to move to the Netherlands with his girlfriend. They’re now the parents of a baby boy and he’s the proprietor of Coffee Company Leiden, one of the few North American-style coffee bars in the city. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Like so many other people: love. I was studying at the University of Concordia in Montreal and my girlfriend was there doing a half-year... More >


‘Everyone should try and get their head around what Anne Frank went through’

‘Everyone should try and get their head around what Anne Frank went through’

British national Paul Brown has considered himself a Hagenaar for 26 years, eats his herring without bread and pickles and raves about Dutch beaches. Single with one son, Paul is the director of financial advice group Blacktower. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved to the Netherlands in the early 1990s for work. I was working in financial services in London, there was a recession in the UK and someone told me about the exciting market working... More >


‘It baffles me that parts of the Netherlands are 6 metres below sea level’

‘It baffles me that parts of the Netherlands are 6 metres below sea level’

British national Lucy Borne is celebrating her third year in Amsterdam this summer and says she has fallen completely in love with the city. A plant buff, Lucy currently works as global publicity and marketing manager at the post-production studio Smoke & Mirrors. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I ended up here completely by chance. I came on holiday with my boyfriend during the sun-soaked summer of 2014 and never looked back. I’d just finished a contract... More >


‘Locals are extra friendly to me when I try to speak their language’

‘Locals are extra friendly to me when I try to speak their language’

“I moved here for love!” Graphic designer Yihmay Yap (40), hails from Malaysia and moved to Rotterdam for love. Two and a half years later, she’s still learning the language and discovering her favourite places in the country. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It’s a long story, but in short, I moved here for love! My husband is from Rotterdam and we met when he was traveling around Asia and I was living in Singapore. We initially... More >


‘Invest in a museum card and see as many museums as you can’

‘Invest in a museum card and see as many museums as you can’

Kristin Anderson is a American novelist and her second book has a Dutch travel writer in the lead role. A stroopwafel fan, she would warn tourists not to eat space cake and would like to meet television naturalist Freek Vonk, who recently got chomped on by a shark. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fell in love with a Dutch man of course. We met at a wedding in Santa Barbara, California where I lived at the... More >


‘I am surprised that I like living here!’

‘I am surprised that I like living here!’

Alma Patist (64), a Filipina married to a Dutchman, has been living in the Netherlands for two decades. She has no time for complaining expats, loves Dutch comfort food and works as a teaching assistant in an international school. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In short, I married a Dutchman. I didn’t think that we would ever live in the Netherlands but certain circumstances brought us here. We were in our forties and living in Singapore as... More >


‘I appreciate how individualism works here, I find it very productive’

‘I appreciate how individualism works here, I find it very productive’

Theatre designer Vasilis Apostolatos (44) came to The Hague from Athens for love, and found an outlet for his creativity here. Vasilis teaches at a theatre academy in Maastricht and works with STET, an English language theatre in The Hague. He took time out of his schedule to talk about expat life, love, and oliebollen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Love. This is the only thing that can move me. It’s quite simple, I met a wonderful... More >


‘Since taking citizenship I say “we” a lot more when referring to the Dutch’

‘Since taking citizenship I say “we” a lot more when referring to the Dutch’

Originally from Hampshire in the UK, Paul Oram moved to the Netherlands after meeting his future wife while scuba diving in Egypt. He now lives in The Hague, where he works as a graphic designer and volunteers for Stichting Present, an organisation that helps vulnerable individuals.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in London in 1997 and I was getting fed up, so I decided to do something completely different and booked a week’s diving holiday in Egypt, on... More >


‘I’m surprised by how traditional Dutch people really are’

‘I’m surprised by how traditional Dutch people really are’

Originally from Israel, Inbal Tur-Shalom moved to Amsterdam after falling head over heels in love with a Dutchman during a road trip through New Zealand. She now owns a photography studio, leads tours around the city and enjoys live music in the Jordaan. How did you end up in the Netherlands After working as a customer care manager for a big IT company in Israel, I felt life had more to offer. So, at the age of 36, I resigned, packed... More >


‘Even if the weather’s bad, a boat trip is still good’

‘Even if the weather’s bad, a boat trip is still good’

Guy Livingston (49) is an American concert pianist and radio broadcaster. When he’s not touring internationally he lives in The Hague where he hosts “American Highways”, a weekly radio programme that aims to surprise listeners with the diversity of American music, from jazz to modern classical. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Well, I won a Dutch piano competition in 1995 and met a lot of people here. It just seemed like a great place to come and... More >


‘I enjoy the diaries, they make everything so organised’

‘I enjoy the diaries, they make everything so organised’

Colombian native Elvira Mendoza met the man who would become her husband during a diplomatic project in Amsterdam. Now her six-year-old son is helping her learn Dutch, but she still has issues with Dutch coffee. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I grew up in Bogota and I studied political science and international relations at both Rosario University and Externado University. During my studies, there was an economic crisis and unemployment reached over 30%. There were hardly any... More >


‘The office is just a 10 minute cycle away, it’s priceless’

‘The office is just a 10 minute cycle away, it’s priceless’

Lior Bornshtain, 43, is an Israeli entrepreneur who moved to the Netherlands in 1998 with his dog and his wife. He has learnt to skate, speak Dutch, and eat Stamppot, and never visit a neighbour without an appointment. He loves the village way of life in Amsterdam and has no plans to return to Tel Aviv. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We decided that we wanted to move from Tel Aviv to Europe. It was me, my... More >


‘Until I lived here I wouldn’t look at cheese unless it was in a burger’

‘Until I lived here I wouldn’t look at cheese unless it was in a burger’

Vince Dinga, 27, arrived in Amsterdam from Romania four years ago in search of a purpose in life. After studying for a masters degree he stayed on and is now PR manager with award-winning tech conference organisers The Next Web. He explains why wayward tourists make him laugh and he can no longer stomach stroopwafels. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was a combination of the desire to start from scratch in a new place and wanting to have... More >


‘I always laugh because of the way the Dutch sing their goodbyes’

‘I always laugh because of the way the Dutch sing their goodbyes’

Originally from Canada, Savannah Grace has set her sights on becoming the youngest woman to visit every country on the planet. At the age of just 26 she has already ticked 111 off the list and written three books cataloguing her travels. After falling in love with a Dutchman while travelling in Africa, Savannah now lives in the Netherlands where she continues to travel and share her experiences abroad through her writing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was on a round-the-world... More >