Monday 21 October 2019

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

‘When I’m in California, I actually yearn for grey Dutch days’

‘When I’m in California, I actually yearn for grey Dutch days’

Californian Carol Govaert has lived abroad for the past 25 years, of which the last 15 have been in the Netherlands. She is fascinated by how organised Dutch nature is – all those trees in rows – and partial to pancakes. How did you end up in the Netherlands? When I was studying I belonged to a group called A.I.E.S.E.C, an international business exchange programme at San Jose State University. We were hosting an event for the universities on the... More >


‘I enjoy my life and our setting here and this feeds my soul’

‘I enjoy my life and our setting here and this feeds my soul’

Artist Albert Dolmans, 86, was born in the Netherlands but emigrated to the US when he was 11 during World War II. Back now for 32 years, Albert lives near the water close to Rotterdam and thinks the Dutch weather is getting better. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I made frequent visits from the US to my parents who had returned here after the war. I later met my present partner, and together we organised exhibits of my work, art workshops... More >


‘So much awesome pop music came from the Netherlands’

‘So much awesome pop music came from the Netherlands’

Music fan Laura Beeby has dual Dutch and Canadian nationality and says she will miss decent public transport when she goes back to Canada later this year after 11 years. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’m a music lover and my Dutchie is a musician; we met the 21st century way on a Yahoo forum for fans of the Hollies. He came to visit me in Canada in 2004, and since I had just been made redundant... More >


‘The Dutch eat a lot of bread and potatoes without getting fat’

‘The Dutch eat a lot of bread and potatoes without getting fat’

South African Anesca Smith has lived here for 2.5 years and doesn’t think the Netherlands is as flat as people say. About to marry a Dutchman, she says she intends to live here happily ever after. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I worked as foreign correspondent for a South African news group in London and after returning to South Africa I found myself inexplicably restless. To cure my wanderlust I decided to study International Business Administration in... More >


‘Part of having an international life is saying goodbye’

‘Part of having an international life is saying goodbye’

Linguist Ute Limacher-Riebold has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years and describes herself as an expat, a multinational, a European and a Third Culture Kid. She’s partial to stroopwaffels, walking in the dunes and using her diary in the Dutch way. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After some years in Italy (Florence) where I had a research grant, my husband and I applied for several jobs all around Europe. When my husband received a positive reply... More >


‘I used to call myself an expat but am now more an immigrant’

‘I used to call myself an expat but am now more an immigrant’

Jodi van Keeken-Hamilton came to the Netherlands for love 15 years ago at the age of 51. She recommends a spring visit to the Hortus Bulborum in Limmen, and is annoyed by the lack of facilities for the deaf in the Netherlands. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I am one of those women who met their Dutchie online, way back in 1999. We did not meet in person until eight months later. I decided to move to... More >


‘The Dutch love making rules and regulations but they’re anarchists’

‘The Dutch love making rules and regulations but they’re anarchists’

Life coach Madeleine Lenagh has lived in the Netherlands for 45 years but refuses to ride a bike. If she ever had to leave, she would spend her last day looking for sea eagles. How did you end up living in the Netherlands? When I was 21, I went walkabout. My money ran out in the Netherlands and I didn’t want to go home yet. I found an au-pair job for six months and sold my return ticket to buy... More >


‘No one seems to have curtains; I rather enjoy the voyeurism’

‘No one seems to have curtains; I rather enjoy the voyeurism’

Russian national Anastasia Loginova, 29, works for a children’s charity. She’s been in the Netherlands for eight months and loves long cycle rides and thinks Amsterdam is a place of many layers, all waiting to be uncovered. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was actually very un-Dutch and unplanned. While job hunting last summer, I reconnected with a high school friend who had just spent four years in Amsterdam and was preaching about the magic of the... More >


‘The temperature I consider winter lasts for nine months’

‘The temperature I consider winter lasts for nine months’

Australian Renée Veldman-Tentori, 39, has been in the Netherlands for seven years off and on. She runs her own company and misses her parents, sunshine and Bouwen mangoes. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fell in love with a Dutchman. We met when he was backpacking in Australia in 2001, just before I left for a four-year working holiday in the UK. After a year there, I ended up in the Netherlands instead.  After the birth of... More >


‘Whenever I land at Schiphol, I am so glad to be back home’

‘Whenever I land at Schiphol, I am so glad to be back home’

Entrepreneur Deborah Carter is a British Canadian dual national and has lived in the Netherlands on and off for 12 years. She fell in love with Amsterdam because of its people and says the Dutch are the most loyal friends you could ever have. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working for The New York Times in Manhattan and gradually came to the conclusion that there’s more to life than work, cocktails and ceaseless social climbing.... More >


‘Sitting in a circle at Dutch parties makes it hard to start talking’

‘Sitting in a circle at Dutch parties makes it hard to start talking’

Rick Lightstone is PR director at the ABC bookstore in Amsterdam and has been in the Netherlands for 28 years. If he had to leave, he would cycle down the Amstel into the sunset. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my wife on a kibbutz in Israel. She is Dutch and wanted to live in Holland. We were in Vancouver for a few years and after moving back and forth a bit, we ended up here.... More >


‘The Dutch underestimate their impact on the world’

‘The Dutch underestimate their impact on the world’

American Claire Taylor came to Amsterdam almost 30 years ago and now has dual Dutch nationality. A fan of smoked eel sandwiches, she is most proud of her allotment where she grows vegetables. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Love. We met in Queens, New York, and it was pretty much love at first hug. I’d already lived in Sweden and Italy, and I wondered about Amsterdam… so when I visited him, I also went to see if... More >


‘Amsterdam is fantastic for kids, there is a strong family culture’

‘Amsterdam is fantastic for kids, there is a strong family culture’

Amsterdam Mamas founder Emmy McCarthy, 39, is British and surprised by how family-orientated the Netherlands is. For example Amsterdam, she says, has over 400 playgrounds. How did you end up in the Netherlands? True story: my husband accepted a job at head office, and then told me it was head office Amsterdam, not London where we lived at the time. We shuttled between the two countries for a while before settling in Amsterdam after the birth of our son. How... More >


‘I am trying to define the notion of feeling at home’

‘I am trying to define the notion of feeling at home’

Film maker Leonardo Cariglino has Italian nationality, was born in Germany and has a Greek mother. He came to the Netherlands 10 years ago and won’t tell us the name of his favourite bar in case we all go there too. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands for the most pragmatic reasons. As the eldest son of an Italian-Greek household, I was very busy. Too busy to manage my parents business. I didn’t... More >


‘I asked if I could pin when paying the bill in an American restaurant’

‘I asked if I could pin when paying the bill in an American restaurant’

American Chris Osman, 31, has been in the Netherlands for four years and is surprised by how different all the 12 Dutch provinces are, given the size of the country. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was finishing a teaching gig in Hong Kong and visited a friend in Maastricht on my way home. I focused on finding a job first in Europe before returning home and received a promising lead that ended up not working out.... More >


‘I knew when I saw this beautiful girl I was going to marry her’

‘I knew when I saw this beautiful girl I was going to marry her’

Lorenzo Serna, 58, is an American who fell in love in Amsterdam and never left the Netherlands. He lives in Soest and owns and operates a Mexican food truck, Amigo’s Cantina. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It’s the classic story of an American GI marrying a local girl. I was on leave from the Army and while visiting Amsterdam I took a tour of a diamond factory. In walks the tour guide and it’s love at first... More >


‘A Dutch house must have two doors between living room and WC’

‘A Dutch house must have two doors between living room and WC’

Colleen Reichrath-Smith, 48, met her Dutch husband while skiing in her home country of Canada and now uses speculaas spices to make pumpkin pie. She has been in the Netherlands for nine years and lives in Zoetermeer. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was love. I went backcountry skiing in Canada in March 2005 and my group of friends ended up sharing the alpine ski hut with a group of Dutch skiers for one night. I taught... More >


‘I make my own pea soup and I’ve gotten pretty good at it’

‘I make my own pea soup and I’ve gotten pretty good at it’

American John Mahnen is a sports marketeer, a Eurosport commentator and helps out at the Dutch-American football association. He has been in the Netherlands half his life. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I originally came here for graduate school. I received a master’s degree in International Business Administration from Nyenrode. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc – and why? That’s a really difficult question! I suppose I fit the immigrant model... More >


‘Pancakes are great fast food when you have no time to cook’

‘Pancakes are great fast food when you have no time to cook’

Interior designer Aileen Martinia is 35 and comes from Indonesia. She’s been in the Netherlands for 14 years and dreams of retiring to a beach on Bali. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Young, innocent love. In the end, the relationship did not work, but I love it so much living here, I stayed. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc – and why? A bit of everything; it is all about the... More >


‘I now like brown shoes with a dark suit more than I should’

‘I now like brown shoes with a dark suit more than I should’

Benjamin Arthur, 42, is a British corporate and wedding photographer who has lived in the Netherlands for 3.5 years. He and his familiy will soon move into their own house in Amstelveen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife was offered a job to work for a boutique executive search firm specialising in filling marketing positions. At the time we both thought Amsterdam would be a great adventure. Happily, we weren’t wrong and now we can’t imagine... More >