Monday 22 July 2019

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

‘I’ve lived all over the world and home is where the heart is’

‘I’ve lived all over the world and home is where the heart is’

Rhode Island native Scott Mongeau works in Amsterdam as a data scientist. His path to the Netherlands began on the other side of the world in the mid 1990s. He currently lives in Leiden with his wife and dog. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Through my wife. I met her while I was studying in Melbourne, Australia. That was in 1995. We were living in a house for international students and things progressed. We had to decide... More >


‘In the 80s I was embarrassed to be American, so I worked hard to become Dutch’

‘In the 80s I was embarrassed to be American, so I worked hard to become Dutch’

Joanne Schweitzer has lived in the Netherlands since 1986 and learned a lot of her Dutch while working in a lingerie shop. The 51-year-old former Oregonian is now a passenger assistant at Schiphol airport and would love to have met the early Dutch settlers in Manhattan. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman who was studying photography at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1982. By January of 1986... More >


‘Dutch parenting suits me much better than the neurotic expectations back home’

‘Dutch parenting suits me much better than the neurotic expectations back home’

Originally from Edinburgh, printmaker and writer Catriona Black has been living in Santpoort-Noord for five years and says her children are now more Dutch than Scottish. She hates labels, but recent events in politics have inspired her to call herself an immigrant. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband landed a job at the University of Amsterdam teaching neurophilosophy. I was seriously unhappy about leaving Scotland, because everything I have ever been passionate about was Scottish, yet... More >


‘I speak Dutch with a foreign accent and English with a Dutch accent’

‘I speak Dutch with a foreign accent and English with a Dutch accent’

Cycling fanatic Bob Powers (70) arrived in Breda in 1972. He was only supposed to be visiting a friend but, apart from numerous international cycling tours, he’s been based there pretty much ever since. A cartoonist, illustrator, writer and translator, he recently retired as the oldest cycle courier in the Benelux – unofficially at least. How did you end up in The Netherlands? Like most things I do – by chance! I’d finished teacher training college in England but realised I... More >


‘How Dutch am I? You’ll never get me to love camping’

‘How Dutch am I? You’ll never get me to love camping’

British national Kerrie Finch, 46, has lived in the Netherlands for 16 years. She might be partial to herring but she’s not into Dutch stereotypes and would never, ever call herself an expat. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came for a three-month freelance contract in August 2000 to work with a PR company. I stayed in that role for one year, then one thing led to another, which led to another. I love travelling and do... More >


‘Amsterdam in the 80s had a gritty, open texture and a kindly tolerance’

‘Amsterdam in the 80s had a gritty, open texture and a kindly tolerance’

Julia Barnes, 59, is a musician (viola) and composer based in Zaandam. An American by birth, she’s lived in the Netherlands for 35 years and remembers the man who used to rollerblade around Amsterdam wearing just a thong. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here from London to take lessons from a particular viola teacher. As a student I thought I would be in Amsterdam for one year. I had no idea about the local artistic... More >


‘My first apartment had the toilet in the kitchen!’

‘My first apartment had the toilet in the kitchen!’

Professional field hockey player Justin Reid-Ross moved to Amsterdam in 2010. The 29-year-old South African, who played for his country at the 2012 Summer Olympics, can certainly tackle a big burger and score a decent G&T. He also has a passion for Chocomel. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was playing club hockey in Australia when I came in contact with the coach of a Dutch club called Pinoké, based in Amsterdam. I’d always wanted to play hockey... More >


‘I draw the line at sitting in the circle at my own birthday party’

‘I draw the line at sitting in the circle at my own birthday party’

Photographer Vinita Salomé was born in Japan to Indian parents and has lived in the Netherlands for 16 years. She lives in Gouda with her husband and nine-year-old son, would like to meet the members of rock bank BLØF and says she has lost the nuances associated with Asian cultures. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my Dutch husband at a friend’s wedding in Bombay. He was a friend of the groom. I fell in love... More >


‘As much as I complain about Amsterdam, it is the best city I have lived in’

‘As much as I complain about Amsterdam, it is the best city I have lived in’

By day Nick Nugent is an account manager for ACD/Labs and by night he chairs the British Society of Amsterdam and hunts for decent curry. Nick has been in the Netherlands for 8.5 years and says he would never have had friends from so many different countries if he had stayed in Britain. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I have worked for a couple of Dutch companies, first Unilever and then Philips, which actually brought me here.... More >


‘On my first day at work I told my colleagues not to speak English to me’

‘On my first day at work I told my colleagues not to speak English to me’

New Zealander Jason Bruygoms has been living in the Netherlands for over 10 years, and is a leading light in Dutch rugby league. He learned Dutch by banning his colleagues from talking English to him, is a vanillevla addict and relishes Rotterdam’s melting point society. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My father is actually Dutch and when I was 27 a workmate of mine back in New Zealand told me I was eligible for a Dutch passport... More >


‘Don’t just stick to expat groups if you really want to enjoy living in Holland’

‘Don’t just stick to expat groups if you really want to enjoy living in Holland’

Haseeba Saban, 45, is a British national who lives in Rotterdam and works as a freelance marketing consultant. Her children are at Dutch schools, she would have liked to have discussed intolerance with Anne Frank and recommends everyone buys a museum card. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After returning to the UK from a 2-year work jolly in Dubai in 2010, we were hit by the recession and found that there were not many employment opportunities in... More >


‘It’s important to know what people are saying, it makes life richer’

‘It’s important to know what people are saying, it makes life richer’

Kenyan national Elizabeth Njeru, 39, came to Amsterdam in 2000 for love and now runs her own catering company. She is surprised by how willing successful people are in the Netherlands to help others, thoroughly enjoyed her Dutch lessons and is on a mission to make Kenyan food a household name. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Actually, I met a Dutch guy at the Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. He was an exchange student, that’s how he... More >


‘Amsterdam’s character is being whittled away by council policies’

‘Amsterdam’s character is being whittled away by council policies’

Federico Lafaire, a master’s student in philosophy and self described ‘bookmonger,’ first moved to the Netherlands in 2007. He can often be found working behind the counter at The Book Exchange, a second-hand English bookshop in central Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The University of Amsterdam. I had to figure out something to do so I said, ‘hey, I’ll go study philosophy.’ That was in 2007. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant,... More >


‘Kapsalon is by far the best post exam food on the planet’

‘Kapsalon is by far the best post exam food on the planet’

German national Florian Volz is a 22-year-old International Studies student at Leiden University’s campus in The Hague. He would like to meet DJ Martin Garrix, has an eye for a bargain night out and has become so keen on cycling, he plans to bike from The Hague to Greece this summer to make a documentary about refugees. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The Dutch university system caught my attention when I was still at school. At the... More >


‘As soon as I arrived in the Netherlands I needed to go to the Van Gogh museum’

‘As soon as I arrived in the Netherlands I needed to go to the Van Gogh museum’

Denisse Gaudin (46) is a marketing specialist who came to the Netherlands 18 years ago. In those years she has developed a taste for raw herring, and has learned to savour every ray of sun she can. She now lives near Delft in the small town of Den Hoorn where she and her family are ‘the only foreigners on the street.’ How did you end up in the Netherlands? Well, I met my husband in Brazil, and when he wanted... More >


‘I love the Amsterdam lifestyle. You can’t beat Amsterdam on a sunny day’

‘I love the Amsterdam lifestyle. You can’t beat Amsterdam on a sunny day’

Jessica Lipowski, 28, is an American writer who fell in love with Europe as a child and came to Amsterdam straight after college. Although after five years she considers herself an Amsterdammer, she still gets thrown sometimes by the Dutch ‘three kisses’ greeting. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Thanks to my parents, travel has always been a huge part of my life. When I was 12 years old I travelled to England for the first time and... More >


‘At certain moments in the year you realise you’re totally not Dutch and never will be’

‘At certain moments in the year you realise you’re totally not Dutch and never will be’

Mike Russell (52) has lived in the Netherlands for 28 years, and manages an apartment rentals company. He feels at home here, but still doesn’t feel entirely Dutch. However, in true Dutch style, he gave this interview while riding his bike through the centre of Amsterdam to work. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I finished my Phd in computer science in Wales, then I registered with an agency in London and said ‘get me a job anywhere... More >


‘The biking infrastructure on a warm, sunny, blue-sky day is still magic’

‘The biking infrastructure on a warm, sunny, blue-sky day is still magic’

Andrew Moskos (47) came to Amsterdam on a whim 23 years ago to bring English-language comedy to the city. His club, Boom Chicago, is now an institution on the Dutch comedy scene. Although comedy is his business, Andrew is deadly serious about quality strawberries and Dutch tram design. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After university, my best friend and I were tourists in Amsterdam and we fell in love with the city and wanted to move here.... More >


‘Dutch nature is so planned out but bike parking is totally random’

‘Dutch nature is so planned out but bike parking is totally random’

Romanian national Irina Damascan, 26, came to the Netherlands two years ago, failed to get the job she was after and decided to stay anyway. She’s now co-founder of a company trying to revolutionise the Dutch relationship with their bikes, is planning to take a second master’s degree in architecture and will never forget how her boss reacted when she was late for work. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came two years ago for an internship... More >


‘In the Netherlands time is absolute – 3pm really does mean 3pm’

‘In the Netherlands time is absolute – 3pm really does mean 3pm’

Originally from Calcutta in India, Shazia Khan, 32, lives in Eindhoven with her husband and two children. Shazia runs her own fashion business, has learned to tone down the chili in her cooking and says her son is her Dutch teacher because he points out her mistakes. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We left India, and after living in Turkey for a year, my husband was offered a position at Delft University of Technology. We moved to... More >