Wednesday 20 November 2019

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

‘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 >


‘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 >