Monday 22 July 2019

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

‘The Dutch have a much calmer mentality when it comes to working’

‘The Dutch have a much calmer mentality when it comes to working’

Adonis Stoantzikis, 32, is a Greek artist and writer who has been living in the Netherlands since 2013. Now based in Amsterdam, Adonis enjoys the Dutch pace of life to the fullest, would like to have met Johnny Jordaan and has started eating sandwiches for lunch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I initially came here to study in Groningen, but continued with the residency in Amsterdam. I wanted a university where they spoke English, so it was... More >


‘Amsterdam is so beautiful: rich and poor lived within metres of each other’

‘Amsterdam is so beautiful: rich and poor lived within metres of each other’

Mike Manicardi, 63, manages Mike’s Badhuis Theatre in Amsterdam’s district of Oost. He arrived in the Netherlands in 1978, has five children here, and remembers how different it was to be a new arrival in those days. ‘Expat is very modern Europe,’ he says. ‘I’m a first generation migrant.’ How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was on tour with a theatre company and in that period Holland was the most exciting country in the world, culturally, to... More >


‘The Dutch know how to deep-fry properly’

‘The Dutch know how to deep-fry properly’

Cypriot Alexia Solomou is an associate legal officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. She has been in the Netherlands for nearly 18 months, is still working on her cycling skills and would love to have met Anne Frank. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I was at Columbia University in New York and I got a fellowship with the president of the International Court of Justice which ended in June 2011. I... More >


‘At home we talk that horrible Dutch and English hybrid’

‘At home we talk that horrible Dutch and English hybrid’

Tracy Metz, 61, is a journalist and author who has lived in the Netherlands for over 36 years and has just been awarded the prestigious Grote Maaskantprijs 2016 for her work on architecture and landscape. She is currently director of the John Adams Institute, lectures on water management all over the world and describes herself as a gelukszoeker. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After college in the US I headed to Europe and planned to spend time in... More >


‘Forget Amsterdam and come straight to The Hague’

‘Forget Amsterdam and come straight to The Hague’

Born in the former Yugoslavia but travelling on a British passport, Azra Secerbegovic came to the Netherlands eight years ago. A big fan of living in The Hague, Azra has adopted the Dutch way of being on time for appointments and has no hesitation about chatting with the former queen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working for an Israeli company based in Rotterdam, then started working for a Dutch company here. I did sales and... More >


‘What is being Dutch? Maastrichtenaars are very different to Groningers’

‘What is being Dutch? Maastrichtenaars are very different to Groningers’

John Flood, 43, is Irish and has been a lecturer in English literature at Groningen University for six years. He is surprised by the way the government thinks it worth trying to ban the burqa in the middle of a financial crisis and would like to meet stadhouder Willem III, to find out the truth about those rumours. How did you end up in the Netherlands? A job came up at the English department of the University of Groningen and... More >


‘I’ve become an impatient cyclist; I think I rule the road on my bike’

‘I’ve become an impatient cyclist; I think I rule the road on my bike’

Dan Fennessy (36) is the founder and CEO of Party With A Local, an app that helps travelers connect with locals and discover fun things to do that aren’t in the guidebooks. Since he’s been here, Dan has become a father, an impatient cyclist and a krentenbol aficionado. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I did a round the world trip back in 2006. Right at the end of that trip I was backpacking in Central America and... More >


‘I will keep the Dutch tradition of playing games with all the family’

‘I will keep the Dutch tradition of playing games with all the family’

Polish national Marysia Bialek came to the Netherlands as a teenager 15 years ago and is now a marketing and communications advisor. She describes herself as a European, feels at home in two cultures and would love to meet John de Mol and Neelie Kroes. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My mother’s second husband was Dutch and they decided to leave Poland so I didn’t have a choice. That was 15 years ago. I came to the... More >


‘The Kröller-Müller museum in Arnhem is a real gem’

‘The Kröller-Müller museum in Arnhem is a real gem’

American Robert Chesal (50) is a journalist, writer and university lecturer. Three decades ago he followed his heart to the Netherlands and never looked back. Now he lives with his wife and children in Zutphen, eats koolpot with passion, but still doesn’t feel 100% Dutch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to Utrecht on an exchange programme in the mid-80s. Eight months later I returned to the US and met a Dutch girl who was on... More >


‘I think the spirit of engineering is ingrained in the Dutch psyche’

‘I think the spirit of engineering is ingrained in the Dutch psyche’

Finnish-Canadian Timo Mashiyi-Veikkola (47) came to the Netherlands with his South African husband Ossie four years ago. The couple have been running a pop-up restaurant – Bulelani BBQ – for the last 18 months and are now looking to crowdfund a permanent location in Amsterdam. A fan of Dutch design and Dutch haring, Timo feels at home and comfortable here. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2011 Ossie and I had just gotten married in South Africa.... More >


‘I’m a fair weather cyclist – if it’s raining we take the car’

‘I’m a fair weather cyclist – if it’s raining we take the car’

Australian Rebecca Overmars has been in the Netherlands for two years, has three children and runs her own maternity nurse practice. A fan of  flip-flops, she has learned to appreciate Dutch beaches, even in winter, and likes waving back when angry cyclists shout ‘hallo’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband and I were both born in Australia, me into an Aussie-British family and him into an Aussie-Dutch family. In 2009 we left Australia to live in... More >


‘After 22 years here, I’m no longer as materialistic as I used to be’

‘After 22 years here, I’m no longer as materialistic as I used to be’

Londoner Billy Allwood is the founder of website The Hague Online and organiser of the Feel at Home in The Hague fair, which celebrates its 10th edition on Sunday. Posted here 22 years ago, Billy has now abandoned suits, would like to meet Frank Rijkaard and says the North Sea is too cold to swim in. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands in 1994 when the Brazilian mining company I worked for relocated... More >


‘Beware of speculaas spread. That stuff is addictive’

‘Beware of speculaas spread. That stuff is addictive’

Blogger and translator Olga Mecking, 33, is Polish and has lived in the Netherlands for going on six years. She would like to meet the king and queen, doesn’t cycle and has developed her own version of stamppot, using sweet potatoes and chorizo. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Actually, I didn’t plan on moving to the Netherlands. I thought I would move to Germany where my then-boyfriend, now-husband lived. But then we got engaged, I got pregnant... More >


‘I love being on time, I love structure and I love organisation’

‘I love being on time, I love structure and I love organisation’

Lidia Barro Kooger, 47,  has a Dutch mother and Spanish dad and has lived all over the world. Now settled in Overveen, she loves good Dutch organisation, misses the bright blue Spanish sky and says she does not know where her roots are. How did you end up in the Netherlands? When I was three years old I moved with my Spanish father and Dutch mother from Madrid to the Netherlands. My parents met each other in Spain and decided... More >


‘The very first Dutch word I think I ever learned was belasting’

‘The very first Dutch word I think I ever learned was belasting’

This year, it is 10 years since DutchNews.nl was launched. To kick off the celebrations, DutchNews.nl founder Robin Pascoe, who has lived in the Netherlands for over 30 years, answers our 10 questions. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I originally came here as au pair for an Anglo-Italian family way back in 1981. I hung around for a few years working in Stilett, the notorious t-shirt shop in the Damstraat. This was the time of squatters, punk... More >


‘In a weird way, this is the closest I’ve come to really feeling at home’

‘In a weird way, this is the closest I’ve come to really feeling at home’

American Sarah Bringhurst Familia, 35, has been in the Netherlands for just eight months but already feels like a local. She owns two bikes, loves the Dutch work-life balance, and says she and her family are in it for the long haul. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve lived on five different continents during the past 15 years, so expatting is kind of a way of life for me. My husband and I both grew up American,... More >


‘I feel most Dutch when I check the special offers in the supermarket’

‘I feel most Dutch when I check the special offers in the supermarket’

Jordanian national Mai Hammad, 37, was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, raised in Jordan and met her Dutch husband in Malta. She loves poffertjes, would like to meet queen Máxima and even eats her chips with mayo. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband is Dutch, although he lived outside the Netherlands from the age of six. We met when we were both living in Malta. After getting married in Jordan, we were seeking somewhere more... More >


‘It’s hard to beat pottering about in a boat in Giethorn on a sunny day’

‘It’s hard to beat pottering about in a boat in Giethorn on a sunny day’

Mike Garrent, 51, is an astronomer and heads up the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (Astron). He’s been in the country for 19 years and has even taken up mudwalking but he still misses Scottish food. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved here from the University of Manchester (Jodrell Bank) to take up a job at JIVE (Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe) in Dwingeloo. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international,... More >


‘The Calvinist drive to downplay success is pervasive’

‘The Calvinist drive to downplay success is pervasive’

American psychologist and writer Doug Ota, 45, has lived in the Netherlands for 23 years. He loves running along the beach before dawn in winter and watching the sun come up, and would like to meet physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I followed my wife over for a year and that one year turned into 23!  Some societies have been described as ‘centripetal’, drawing one inwards, or ‘centrifugal’, propelling you outwards. Dutch society, at... More >


‘Holland is safe for women and children compared to India’

‘Holland is safe for women and children compared to India’

Process manager Deepti Varshney moved to the Netherlands from India in 2009 and is now a dual national. She loves olliebollen because they herald the start of the festive season and appreciates the fact the Dutch do not offer unasked-for advice. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband and I were eager to move to western or northern Europe. My husband got a job in the Netherlands and I followed him. That was seven years ago. How... More >