Joe, originally from the US, is a seasoned expatriate in the Netherlands with a decade of experience to his name. He tells me about his experiences living abroad and getting along with the Dutch.
How long have you been living in the Netherlands?
About 10 years
What brought you initially to the Netherlands?
What is your profession?
House father to two daughters, 8 and 6
What is the main difference between your country of origin and the Netherlands?
Oh lord… Here in the Netherlands one doesn’t want to be the tall poppy… but in the U.S., standing out is highly regarded.
What was the most surprising adjustment you needed to make when moving to the Netherlands?
The realisation that I would be forever strange in the eyes of those around me.
What would you miss most about the Netherlands if you were to leave tomorrow?
What do you like least about the Netherlands?
The limited, low quality and incredibly overpriced products in the supermarket. And sitting in the kring. Let’s not forget that.
What is your favourite Dutch word?
Bak – it can mean anything!
How would you describe the Dutch people?
I think they are pretty much the same as people everywhere, but it depends on where you go in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, people want to know you, but in other places if you are not family, then they don’t. In some places people will happily help you out of a jam, in others they won’t. They have built a culture in an environment where everything is small, there is very little space and little or no privacy. I think they’ve done remarkably well.
Do you have any blogs or websites that you find enjoyable about the Netherlands for people living here?
The local neighbourhood newspapers are full of enjoyment.