Greg (60) and Johanna (51) emigrated to the netherlands from the US
nigh two decades apart and now live in Leiden. They had a long distance relationship for nearly 10 years, until Johanna decided to move here permanently. They capeesh the Dutch work life residuum and recommend tourists visit Rotterdam.
How did you terminate upward in the Netherlands?
Greg: I came here with a i twelvemonth contract in 2000, then information technology was extended and extended. Then I bought a house and was naturalised, it’south basically dwelling house for me. Early on in the 2010s I officially moved back to the United states. I was in the U.s. for 2 years, I was miserable, I moved back to the Netherlands, and and then Johanna followed me.
Johanna: My reply is very curt, I simply followed him. We got married in 2011. And so we’ve been a couple since 2009 and I moved out here in 2018. I have a kid in the United states, so that kept me there until he was done with loftier school, and and so I was similar ‘well, I don’t demand to be here anymore’. Until then we both used to travel back and forth, apart from the couple of years he lived in the US. Nosotros didn’t continue whatever vacations.
How practice you describe yourselves?
Johanna: I’d describe myself as a migrant. I call back it’southward the most accurate, I migrated here for love. I don’t feel like I will go dorsum and alive in the United states of america.
Greg: I’ve been here a long time, I’m naturalised, I refer to myself as
Nederlands. I no longer take a U.s. passport, which is part of why going back to the The states for a few years was so difficult.
How long do you lot plan to stay?
Johanna: ‘Until I’m dead and buried. This is home, occasionally I have dreams of retiring in the s of Europe. It’due south a much more civilised place to live than the US.
Greg: I decided in 2007 to stay and that I was going to go naturalised, not try to maintain a U.s. passport.
Do yous speak Dutch, if then how did you lot learn?
Greg: ‘Nederlands of Engels voor het antwoord?’ Yes, I speak Dutch, I basically learned by reading, speaking, and using it. Since I moved dorsum here, I but speak Dutch, I work in Dutch, my meetings are in Dutch.
Johanna: It was a fleck more hard for me. I have taken three university courses. It has been a struggle for me to memorise the vocabulary. I do a lot of texting and writing emails in Dutch.
What’s your favourite Dutch thing?
Johanna: Unions. The unions in kingdom of the netherlands are effective, write skillful contracts and workplace protections are very strong here. Piece of work-life residue, vacation times, it all seems to be managed meliorate hither.
Greg: The Dutch’s openness to dispute. Certainly in work, that’s much different to a US company. In that location is still a bureaucracy, but they’re not equally strict. And it’due south okay to get to your managing director and say, ‘I think this is a bad idea.’ In most cases, they’ll at least heed to you.
How Dutch practice you call up you lot’ve go?
Johanna: I don’t know that I feel more Dutch than I did earlier. I barely know what information technology means to feel similar an American. It’s always felt very comfortable to exist hither. Both of us have traits that brand us more Dutch.
Greg: To the extent to which I know what that means, I’d say I feel I am Dutch. I’ve lived here for a long time. I’m involved in local politics. I definitely practice non feel American.
Which 3 Dutch people, living or dead, would y’all most like to meet?
Johanna: My great-grandmother would be fun to meet. She left holland when she was 19 or 20. The last place she lived in the Netherlands was in Sleeuwijk.
Greg: I merely read an interesting biography of
Willem van Oranje
and it might exist interesting to run across him.
Geert Mak, I really like his books and the fashion he writes – his way. Maybe also
because he had such an interesting life.
What’s your pinnacle tourist tip for people visiting the Netherlands?
Johanna: Get out of Amsterdam. Get to Rotterdam. Rotterdam is one of my favourite cities to go have a twenty-four hour period out in. Or but get out of the Randstad. Groningen, Maastricht, they’re all very different.
Greg: Rotterdam seems much more like a existent urban center. Amsterdam feels similar it’due south been preserved in bister. Yeah, or go ride a wheel somewhere. Some years agone, my brother and his wife came in tulip flavour. I know my sister-in-constabulary said the best part of her trip was biking the route from Leiden to the Keukenhof.
What’s something surprising that you’ve discovered about the Netherlands?
Johanna: I think one of the things that surprised me is that the Dutch have a reputation for beingness very direct and I’ve plant that I am more direct than well-nigh of them. I actually take to exist careful to not offend people. They are direct, but they’re as well quite sensitive sometimes.
Greg: I might get in trouble for saying this but, for a sure part of the population, at that place is a casual racism. For certain types of people, it’s definitely true that the Dutch tend to be very liberal. Only, for example, I was speaking to someone virtually housing, and they said, ‘A Moroccan wouldn’t be able to beget that.’ I wanted to say, ‘Well, the CTO of T-Mobile is Moroccan, and so I’grand pretty sure he tin.’
If y’all but had 24 hours, how would you spend them?
Greg: I guess, programme my funeral. For united states, that’s a hard question considering we’re not planning on leaving.
Johanna: Visit friends. I’d exist frantically packing for whatever reason I had to exist leaving the netherlands. Perchance because the sea levels are ascension and the dykes are virtually to burst, and we’re evacuating. It depends on why nosotros only have 24 hours left. I’d probably be scrambling to run across how I was going to take the dog with me.
Greg and Joanna were talking to Chloe Lovatt
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