Sunday 18 August 2019

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

‘I am here because of the international feeling and flavour of Amsterdam’

‘I am here because of the international feeling and flavour of Amsterdam’

Keen kite surfer Rune Theill is the chief executive and co-founder of start-up incubator and hub Rockstart. A Danish national, he loves Dutch boating culture even though his own boat sank and he has pledged to really learn Dutch this year. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to join Rockstart by Don Ritzen, who is one of the other founders. We had met each other through the entrepreneurial network Startup Weekend in 2011 and later... More >


‘A museumkaart means there is no pressure to get my money’s worth’

‘A museumkaart means there is no pressure to get my money’s worth’

 Originally from West Los Angeles, Joe Silber moved to Prague in the early ‘00s. There he met his future wife and later moved with her to the Netherlands where he currently works as a technical writer. He’s partial to an uitsmijter, would like to have met Jan Steen and plans to visit the Aalsmeer flower auction. How did you end up in the Netherlands? When I first moved to Europe, I lived in Prague for about five years. I met... More >


‘I have a new appreciation for the ‘rules’ of society’

‘I have a new appreciation for the ‘rules’ of society’

Swapping New Amsterdam for Old, 37-year-old visual effects expert Ricky Weissman from New York quickly felt at home in the surprisingly familiar architecture of Amsterdam’s Jordaan. Three years in, he is mad for mustard, flowers and sand dunes and never says no to a poffertje. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife and I were living in Brooklyn, New York about three years ago now and we had found that we were travelling to Europe more and... More >


‘I would go for a beer and talk to the three Dutch guys sitting next to me’

‘I would go for a beer and talk to the three Dutch guys sitting next to me’

Greek national Charalampos Sergios came to the Netherlands to continue his academic career but ended up co-founding the website IamExpat instead. He’s a huge fan of the Dutch agenda, likes to drink local beer in local bars, and says rainy days make him productive. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was studying for a master’s degree in marketing in Stirling in Scotland and then went on to do an MPhil in what was basically econometrics and marketing... More >


‘People here speak their mind, but they’ve never seemed rude to me’

‘People here speak their mind, but they’ve never seemed rude to me’

Originally from Plymouth in the US, New York Times author and illustrator Brooke Barker moved with her husband from America to Amsterdam a few years ago. She loves real ginger tea with ginger slices, is baffled by the local love of toothpicks and says she is too short to ever feel really Dutch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always loved the Netherlands, and I’d always wanted to live there so I found a job with an... More >


‘I couldn’t get over how perfect Amsterdam looked, like a postcard’

‘I couldn’t get over how perfect Amsterdam looked, like a postcard’

Bilge Yörük spent most of her childhood in Turkey before she moved to Canada as a teenager. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and young daughter and works for a medical research company. She would like to meet tv presenter Arjen Lubach and loves hanging out in the Jordaan. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my now husband while I was working on my PhD in Toronto. He was doing a research internship in... More >


‘Amsterdam weather is controlled by an angel who is on an internship’

‘Amsterdam weather is controlled by an angel who is on an internship’

Originally from Pakistan, Basir Mahmood is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker whose works have appeared in galleries and museums all around the world. A few years ago, he was awarded a research fellowship in Amsterdam, and he continues to live in the city. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I have been travelling around for the last eight years now, from one artist residency to another. This is how I also ended up at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende... More >


‘There’s a non-hierarchic, “say what’s in your heart” mentality here’

‘There’s a non-hierarchic, “say what’s in your heart” mentality here’

Groningen-based Israeli Guy Weizman (45) moved to the Netherlands with his partner some 20 years ago to work with celebrated choreographer Itzik Galili. Today he is the artistic and general director of theatre company Noord Nederlands Toneel and dance company Club Guy & Roni; parent to a teenage son; and an enthusiast for Dutch art, literature, philosophy and oliebollen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to come and work here when I was dancing, myself.... More >


‘There are more than 400 museums in this tiny country’

‘There are more than 400 museums in this tiny country’

Dual national Abbie Vandivere (Canadian and British) gets to work with some of the Netherlands’ most precious paintings, as a conservator at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In the Netherlands for 13 years, she would like to have a party at Jan Steen’s family tavern, and invite Hieronymus Bosch and Johannes Vermeer to join in. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always been fascinated by Dutch Old Master paintings, and I came here in 2005 for an... More >


‘I got into local cooking because I had to. I knew I was going to stay’

‘I got into local cooking because I had to. I knew I was going to stay’

Aileen Enda Jansen Dawson, 83, will be spending her 59th Christmas in the Netherlands this year. She moved here in 1959 to marry a Dutchman she met while working at a hotel in Germany. Now widowed and with four sons, she still gets het and de confused, has learned to eat Dutch vegetables and knows every museum in Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was doing hotel management at a hotel in Ireland. It was a... More >


‘Dutch people don’t like long silences but in Sweden we can live with them’

‘Dutch people don’t like long silences but in Sweden we can live with them’

Helena van Heel is a Swedish mezzo soprano who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her Dutch husband and daughter, recommends you visit the 11 Fountain tour in Friesland and sneaks off to Ikea when she gets homesick. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman in Stockholm, he was playing in an orchestra and it was love at first sight. The first time I had visited him I... More >


‘We have fallen in love with the Netherlands, the people, the weather’

‘We have fallen in love with the Netherlands, the people, the weather’

British national Hannah Bayliss, husband Tim and dog live next to the Valkenburg airbase near Katwijk where they distill gin, enjoy beach life and have gotten to grips with the weather. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We ended up here in 2015 after Tim sent me a picture of the beach at Noordwijk. We both wanted to live in another country and were debating between New Zealand or the Netherlands. Tim had a temporary job in the... More >


‘I try to make Dutch food healthier, I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen’

‘I try to make Dutch food healthier, I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen’

Jordanian Moayad Abushokhedim is a trained food scientist who has embarked on new business adventure using recycled food waste to create chemical-free additives in the Netherlands. Based in Rotterdam, he has learned to ride a bike and has become Dutch enough to go for ‘buy two, get one free’ offers in supermarkets. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved in November 2015, from Jordan — well, I moved to Spain first, and from Barcelona I moved to... More >


‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’

‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’

Rachelle Meyer is an American illustrator who moved to Amsterdam with her British husband twelve years ago. She’s currently putting together an art collection of her Faces on the Ferry drawings, she would like to meet Jesse Klaver and she thoroughly recommends the Hoge Veluwe as a place to visit. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’m originally from Texas but I was living in New York City when I met my British husband. He was living in... More >


‘I was told “even if you’re the queen of the Netherlands, no means no”‘

‘I was told “even if you’re the queen of the Netherlands, no means no”‘

Seven years ago, Beena Arunraj said goodbye to her dental practice and, with her husband Eddie, who works for Philips, upped sticks and moved from India to Eindhoven. Beena has been shocked by home births and sales staff in Ikea, but says she would like to meet Menno Snel and talk to him about the 30% ruling. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was by a very normal route: my husband was with Philips, so he moved... More >


‘Dutch families have dinners together, celebrate special events and holidays together’

‘Dutch families have dinners together, celebrate special events and holidays together’

Sheetal Shah originally moved to the Netherlands with her husband while she was finishing her PhD and pregnant with their second child. She now lives in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, teaches psychology at Webster Leiden, and works with Bridge 2 Hope, an organisation that helps the victims of human trafficking.   How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was born and brought up in Mumbai and I moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago as a trailing spouse.... More >


‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’

‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’

Writer and journalist Gordon Darroch was widowed soon after moving to The Hague with his terminally ill wife, Magteld. He talks about the challenges of single parenthood, Jan Steen and the secret of a perfect uitsmijter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife, Magteld, was from Drenthe and like a lot of mixed couples we’d talked idly for years about emigrating, especially once we had children. It became more urgent when she was diagnosed with breast cancer... More >


‘I really would like to meet the members of the Delta Works design team’

‘I really would like to meet the members of the Delta Works design team’

Daniel Garbowski is a computer engineer for NetApp. Bank with ING or ABN AMRO? Use Ziggo, Vodaphone, or interact with the Dutch government? Chances are that Daniel’s looking after your data. He says he is one of the 5% of Poles that work for multinationals in the Netherlands, and he has a message for EU citizens everywhere. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I moved here from the States. If you live and work in the... More >


‘When I was ten, I already had the feeling I would move here’

‘When I was ten, I already had the feeling I would move here’

Novelist Ellen Keith’s Dutch ancestry drew her irresistibly to the Netherlands, where she settled in 2015. Today, the 29-year-old Canadian can be found whizzing across the capital, ringing her bicycle bell at tourists and dreaming of a perfectly-baked cookie. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My mother’s side of the family is Dutch. My grandparents were both born and raised in the Netherlands and they emigrated in the 50s. I still have some extended family in the east... More >


‘What shocked me the most about the Netherlands was how beautiful it is’

‘What shocked me the most about the Netherlands was how beautiful it is’

Why would someone with a successful career in a casting agency in New York City up sticks and move to Zaandam? In Elyse O’Shaughnessey’s case, she did it for love. Now artistic director of Orange Theater Company, Elyse is on a mission to promote world-class English-language theatre in the heart of Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here as an au pair about five years ago. I was working with this woman – she worked for... More >