Monday 21 October 2019

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

‘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 >


‘We walk hand in hand in this romantic, crazy, awesome city’

‘We walk hand in hand in this romantic, crazy, awesome city’

Vyjayanthi Iyer is from India and has been in the Netherlands for 10 years. She runs a Bollywood dance school, would like to meet Rutger Hauer and is glad Dutch companies are finally realising the importance of good customer service. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband came here for a project and fell in love with the beautiful city of Amsterdam. One fine day he called me and asked me to come and live with him... More >


‘I love amusement parks and Walibi is one of my favourites’

‘I love amusement parks and Walibi is one of my favourites’

Cuban national Claudia Moreira Calzadilla is 15 and has lived in the Netherlands for five years. She goes to a Dutch high school, has a part-time job in a hotel, and her parents say she thinks like a capitalist. How did you end up in the Netherlands? When I was five years old my mother moved to the Netherlands and started living with my stepfather. In Cuba, the process of moving to another country is quite difficult, so I wasn’t... More >


‘Here is now my home and I plan to stay for a long time to come’

‘Here is now my home and I plan to stay for a long time to come’

In two short years, Kenyan national Serah Karani Andriessen has developed a morning coffee habit and discovered that spekreepjes can add a touch of flavour to most foods. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met and married Peter (who is Dutch) in Kenya where we lived with our son, Narsh, for a few years before making the decision to relocate to the Netherlands. Peter then returned to the Netherlands and I stayed with Narsh in Kenya for... More >


‘I didn’t twig until I got here that the whole country is indeed flat’

‘I didn’t twig until I got here that the whole country is indeed flat’

South African Dominic Karatouliotis (24) came to the Netherlands for love just six months ago, but is already addicted to Hema’s smoked sausage. He sees himself as an expat, lovepat, immigrant and an international. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands to join my partner and build a new life with her. We met two years ago while on holiday in Thailand, and our relationship flourished long distance, thanks to social media and Skype.... More >


‘I’m Scottish, but when Holland play football I’m a Dutchman’

‘I’m Scottish, but when Holland play football I’m a Dutchman’

Sixteen years ago, Scotsman Jim Weir, headed to The Hague to consult on a painting project and is still here 14 years later. How did you end up in the Netherlands? By accident. I had just finished work in Germany and was on my way back to Scotland when my agent asked me to do a small job in Rotterdam. Being there, I was asked to solve a problem on a project in The Hague. I did not really fancy... More >


‘Here we can enjoy our lives together with no prejudice’

‘Here we can enjoy our lives together with no prejudice’

Costa Rican Javier Arias came to the Netherlands to study four years ago after winning a scholarship to Nyenrode Business Universiteit where he now works. He lives in Utrecht, cycles every day and has learned to wear brown shoes with a blue suit. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was always my ambition to pursue an MBA abroad. Being in Costa Rica, the logical choice is usually to study in the US. I was getting ready to... More >


‘The Dutch park next to you, even when the car park is empty’

‘The Dutch park next to you, even when the car park is empty’

Englishman Russell Broadbent, 51, moved to the Netherlands to look for work while competing on the professional golf circuit 23 years ago. Now settled in Haarlem, he runs a private gym and self-defence training business and thinks the Dutch have little spatial awareness. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I played golf on the Dutch professional golf circuit for 15 years. During this time I noticed that golf was growing in popularity, so I sent my cv to... More >


‘A new culture – as gruelling as it can be — is very rewarding’

‘A new culture – as gruelling as it can be — is very rewarding’

For Canadian Maurice McGinley moving back to the Netherlands after an eight year break in sunnier climes has given him an appreciation of the new season’s herring and having good neighbours. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Although my wife, Ana, is from Australia, she had a close relationship with her father’s family in the Netherlands. So when we decided it was time for a change of scenery in 1999, we headed here.  We lived in Eindhoven until... More >


‘There isn’t much better than a plate of tiny pancakes’

‘There isn’t much better than a plate of tiny pancakes’

Amy Fuller, 41, is an American who is self-employed and works on process improvement for the payments industry. She has been in the Netherlands for 2.5 years. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My partner’s Dutch, and we made the decision to move here when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc – and why? I guess I’m a mutt: maybe 75% lovepat and 25% expat? How... More >


‘I’m a massive fan of cheese and love trying all the different ones’

‘I’m a massive fan of cheese and love trying all the different ones’

Lola Akinsiku, 33, is Nigerian but grew up in England and the US. An accountant by trade, she came to Amsterdam as an intern and is surprised to still be here 4.5 years later. More than that, she’s been inspired by the Dutch entrepreneurial spirit to start her own fledgling enterprise. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came as an intern thinking I’d only be here for six months but then ended up with a full-time position.... More >


‘I made most progress in learning Dutch at the local rowing club’

‘I made most progress in learning Dutch at the local rowing club’

Poffertjes addict Heidi Maurer is Austrian and is assistant professor of European studies at Maastricht University. She has been in the Netherlands since 2007 and says career opportunities will dictate how long she stays. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to Maastricht on a nine-month academic fellowship with the Austrian academic exchange service to work at the European Institute for Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht. During my stay I got to know a few colleagues working... More >


‘I’ve finally given up trying to look good in the rain’

‘I’ve finally given up trying to look good in the rain’

Jane Dean is a freelance editor and writer and has lived in the Netherlands for nine years but still misses family and friends. She was involved in the launch of The Hague magazine, The Underground, and is very partial to Luciano’s ice cream. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We arrived here from New Orleans, USA. In 2005, three days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana coast, my husband was offered a position with his company in Rotterdam.... More >


‘Dutch potatoes are the best I have ever eaten’

‘Dutch potatoes are the best I have ever eaten’

Paola Montino, 39, gave up everything in Italy three years ago and moved to Amsterdam on the off-chance to make a new start. She bought a house, found a job as a customer service rep for a pharmaceuticals company and loves her new life. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved to the Netherlands in April 2012 together with my boyfriend. We were both working in Italy, but we were not really satisfied with our lives. We... More >


‘The Dutch are responsible for the cultivation of orange carrots’

‘The Dutch are responsible for the cultivation of orange carrots’

Former banker Stephanie Ernst has lived in the Netherlands for three years and volunteers for the International Almere organisation. An Australian national, she misses sunshine and Vegemite but has gone Dutch enough to run a cargo bike  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fol­lowed my hus­band here so I guess you could say a Boe­ing 737 owned by Cathay Pacific, fol­lowed by a trip on the won­der­ful NS rail net­work. A while back I met this wonderful... More >