Tuesday 10 December 2019

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

‘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 >


‘I get annoyed when I’m cycling behind a slow tourist’

‘I get annoyed when I’m cycling behind a slow tourist’

Christina Caljé is chief operating officer at online sharing platform Peerby. An American by birth, she describes herself as an expat, a lovepat and an international. How did you end up in the Netherlands? A chance meeting with a charismatic entrepreneur at a pitch event in San Francisco brought me to Peerby, which brought me to the Netherlands. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc – and why? Can you be more than one of... More >


‘How Dutch have I become? I ride my bike everywhere’

‘How Dutch have I become? I ride my bike everywhere’

Sofia Saxlund, 24, is from Uruguay and works as a design intern. She lives in Zaandam and has been in the Netherlands since April. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We did a trip around Europe with many of my friends from Uruguay. We were 28 friends travelling together, taking up almost entire buses and train carriages. I knew right from the start I was going to stay here as soon as the trip was over. I wasn’t... More >


‘I think the Scots and the Dutch are pretty close to each other’

‘I think the Scots and the Dutch are pretty close to each other’

Charlie MacGregor, 38, is Scottish and came to the Netherlands 11 years ago. He is the founder and CEO of The Student Hotel group. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved from London to Amsterdam after coming here for lunch with my girlfriend. We both fell in love with the city within 20 minutes. Six weeks later we moved here together. I rented an amazing flat on the Singel from a local guy who had a really... More >


‘When you get on a bus, the driver says hello’

‘When you get on a bus, the driver says hello’

Kristina Wilms is 27 and from Germany. She came to Amsterdam after winning a European competition to devise a start-up – which she now leads. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The whole story began in October 2013 when I won a ticket for the BeNeLux StartupBus. I didn’t know anything about it at the time, but the StartupBus is a competition involving five buses travelling through Europe loaded with techies who compete against each other to devise... More >


‘I do enjoy a good herring – with uitjes’

‘I do enjoy a good herring – with uitjes’

Deborah Valentine works for herself as a project manager and copywriter and is current executive director of ACCESS. She has been in the Netherlands, this time round, for 10.5 years. We ask her the 10 traditional questions about her Dutch life. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met and married a Dutch diplomat when I was in Brazil with UNICEF. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why? I am... More >


‘I miss rolling hills and rock formations’

‘I miss rolling hills and rock formations’

We put 10 questions to Lucie Cunningham, a French national who lives in Delft and describes herself as a ‘social activist’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband accepted a position as a then assistant professor at TBM at TU Delft eleven years ago. We moved from Silicon Valley in California. We lived in Atlanta, GA and Brighton, England prior to this. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?... More >


‘Walking along Amsterdam’s canals can be an amazing experience’

‘Walking along Amsterdam’s canals can be an amazing experience’

Entrepreneur Melinda Jacobs, 28, is an American who studied digital gaming in Utrecht and now runs two start-ups. We ask her 10 questions about her life in the Netherlands.   How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands in 2008 to follow a two-year research MA at Utrecht University studying digital games. I did a summer abroad in Germany during my BA and afterward took the time to visit the Netherlands and Sweden. Following my... More >


‘I’ve loved bacon and cheese pancakes since day one’

‘I’ve loved bacon and cheese pancakes since day one’

British accountant Stephen Huyton has lived in the Netherlands for 20 years and is former chairman of Britsoc, the British Society of Amsterdam. We ask him 10 questions about his life in the Netherlands. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to be the first finance director of the company – Thermopatch, where I still work. The goal was to prepare it for a stock market launch in London or New York, or a sale to... More >


‘I eat pea soup all year round when I want comfort food’

‘I eat pea soup all year round when I want comfort food’

Photo journalist Shirley Agudo has lived in the Netherlands for 15 years and says she fits in very well with the more laidback way of life. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to the Netherlands from the US in 1993 with my former husband and our two daughters, on the basis of my husband’s job transfer to an American-owned fiberglass company in Hoogezand, in the north of Holland. We lived for five years in a beautiful... More >


‘Dutch diaries can be a tool but also an excuse’

‘Dutch diaries can be a tool but also an excuse’

Spanish businessman Rogelio Vargas has been in the Netherlands for seven years and plans to stay here indefinitely. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Due to a job with a French multinational, Orange, which belonged to the France Telecom Group. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why? Internationally-minded person who has been living in several countries: USA, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands. Right now I live in the Netherlands, but... More >


‘At one point I had three bikes’

‘At one point I had three bikes’

Carolyn Vines, who has been in the Netherlands for 15 years and likes to be known as a lovepat. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved here with my then Dutch boyfriend. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why? A lovepat because I love the way it sounds. It always makes me laugh when I see or say it. How long do you plan to stay? Hmmmmm? Do you... More >


‘I went Dutch by walking on the right of the pavement’

‘I went Dutch by walking on the right of the pavement’

Tony Parr learned Dutch at a British university 35 years ago and likes his wife’s boerenkoolstamppot. How did you end up in the Netherlands? That’s a long story, but I’ll try and keep it short. I’m one of a very select band of individuals who can actually claim to have studied Dutch language and literature in the UK. I’d started out doing French and Latin at university, but very quickly found myself getting bored with both of them, which just... More >


‘A guilty pleasure would be a broodje haring’

‘A guilty pleasure would be a broodje haring’

Canadian Noah Millman teaches at Leiden University and would use his last 24 hours in the Netherlands to visit the Efteling amusement park. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In late 2006 I was looking for a highly rated master’s programme in my field and several universities in The Netherlands caught my attention. I applied, and here I am. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why? Somewhere between immigrant and... More >


‘With a lap-top and a good internet connection, there are no borders’

‘With a lap-top and a good internet connection, there are no borders’

Greek radio producer Nikos Koulousios is surprised by how much the Dutch love their kings and queens. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came on an Erasmus student exchange programme and then continued and completed my studies in The Hague and Amsterdam. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why? I am a citizen of the world. With a lap-top and a good internet connection, there are no real borders... More >


‘ I enjoyed freedom in every sense of the word”

‘ I enjoyed freedom in every sense of the word”

Journalist Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska is fascinated by the Delta Works and feels more Dutch than Polish at times. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my Dutch husband in communist times in my hometown of Gdansk. We were both economic students. He came in 1978 on a student trip because he was very interested in what was going on behind the Iron Curtain – something which was pretty rare at the time. We got married in Gdansk a... More >


‘ I know the Dutch system is one of the best in Europe’

‘ I know the Dutch system is one of the best in Europe’

Student and Romanian national Antonia Raileanu loves fish, would like to visit the Apenheul and was a candidate in the 2014 local elections. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I decided to continue my studies and pursue a Master’s degree in the Netherlands because I know the Dutch system is one of the best education systems in Europe. I applied to several Dutch universities and on my first trip to the Netherlands I ended up getting... More >