Spotlight on a contributor

Where do you come from and where do you live in the Netherlands?
I am Parul Sachdeva from New Delhi, India
Destiny would bring me to Amsterdam, I had no idea.

 As an exciting work opportunity knocked on my door, I packed my whole life in three suitcases and moved to the Netherlands with my family. The country welcomed us with open arms and is still treating us very well.

What’s your job/business?
Writing is what I have pursued professionally,
Because it allows me to be anywhere, anyone, magically.

Writing has always been my first love and will always be. I have been a freelance writer for the last 8 years. I write about every topic under the sun. I am currently associated with The Holland Times as a contributor and also provide my writing services to various international companies. Recently, I have stepped into the field of hospitality at CitizenM. The best is yet to come!

 What was your first time in the Netherlands?
Reminiscing about the four seasons I experienced in a day,
You have to be always armed with an umbrella, warm clothes, a windcheater, let’s say

Pouring rain, strong winds, grey, cloudy, dark days – this is how I was greeted when I landed here for the first time in the autumn of 2019. “Binnenblijven” is a single Dutch word that suits the autumn season. But slowly and gradually, the beauty of this picturesque country started unfolding.

 What is the nicest thing about the Netherlands?
Amazed by the country’s scenic beauty… so bold and bright
Tulips, cheese, canals, windmills, cyclists… What a beautiful sight!

The Netherlands is undeniably one of the most vibrant and gorgeous countries in the world. Its spider web of canals, the stepped-gable houses, dedicated bike lanes, vibrant cities, colourful flower fields, idyllic villages and rich history are something that makes it to the bucket list of many.

What’s the worst thing about the Netherlands?
Good, warm days are not as common as gloomy, rainy days. If I ever have to write a book on Dutch weather, the appropriate title would be “50 shades of grey.” Haha!!

Do you have Dutch friends?
Indeed, I have few Dutch friends. Most of them are my colleagues. They are super welcoming and greet everyone with gleaming eyes. Unfortunately, we could not make many or lost touch with some of them as the pandemic shackled all of us. Now, life is getting back on track. Hope springs eternal… Time to make more friends; bring new energy to the soul.

What do you like about Dutch people? What don’t you like?
I was amazed looking at Dutch people’s height
I should have also cycled, my mum was right.

There are many personality traits that deserve appreciation. According to a recent study, Dutch are the tallest people in the world. Also, the Dutch say no whenever, wherever. Some people don’t like this straightforwardness. But in reality, sometimes you need to be direct. People have a tendency to skirt around the issue at hand. For example, if someone asks if you like the food they made for you. “It’s scrumptious,” you say, when you really think it’s horrible. But a Dutch person would say: “Thanks, but it’s not to my taste”. It’s not about being rude; it’s all about being true to what you feel.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in your city?
Tulsi, an Indian restaurant, serves the most authentic mouth-watering dishes and offers a great fine-dining experience.

 What’s your favourite Dutch store?
Hema is the name, just save it
You name it they have it.

 Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, quickly known as HEMA, opened its first store back in 1926. Now, HEMA owns over 770 stores. This Dutch department store sells everything from clothing to homeware, from food to office supplies.

What do you like to do on the weekends?
Your weekend agenda will be crammed, as there are countless things to see and do. The Netherlands is blessed with lush green parks and forests; I love to go to Vondelpark, Amsterdamse Bos, Oosterpark and Westerpark with my family.

Who is your favourite Dutch person?
Turn up the sincerity, turn down the lethargy
Presenting you someone who is full of energy
A tall young lady (Ms. Elly, my manager) with panache on her face,
One day I wish to match up to her pace

 She is a wonderful soul with a heart of gold. Oops!! I did not want it to be rhymed but it turned out to be. Her meticulous planning, caring nature and management skills are truly praiseworthy.

What would you recommend a visitor to do and see in your city in the Netherlands?
Explore museums and majestic buildings at Museumplein, cruise past canal houses and bridges in a boat cruise, try a local beer at a historic brewery, live like Dutch royalty by visiting castles, palaces and fortresses, see how Anne Frank lived, eat pancakes and feed goats in the Vondelpark, experience culture, film and architecture across the IJ, discover Amsterdam’s independent shopping streets, wake up and smell the tulips!

What is your favourite Dutch food? And what Dutch food do you dislike?
Being a vegetarian, I do not have many choices when it comes to Dutch food. But if I have to select some, it would be fries with Joppiesaus or round crunchy waffles with oozing caramel filling.

Do you celebrate Dutch holidays? What is your favourite?
Coming from the land of festivals, I strongly believe festivals are the true manifestation of the country’s rich culture and traditions. I became aware of the Dutch festivals from my son’s school (Amity International). They celebrate almost all festivals majestically, especially King’s Day, Halloween, Sinterklaas and many more that celebrate unity in diversity. The most fascinating one is King’s Day when kids are encouraged to clean out their houses and sell their books, toys and other small objects that they are not using anymore. Prices for all the items are just symbolic. What a wonderful way to spend a public holiday. This is the time when schools, streets, in fact the whole country can be seen at its vibrant best – painting the whole town orange.

What famous Dutch place should you really go and see?
Keukenhof; it’s the best Dutch place to visit, hands down!

Best-kept secret in your city?
Eat unlimited pancakes onboard the Pancake Boat or cuddle a cat onboard de Poezenboot.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before you moved to the Netherland?
The weather will play with your feelings!

What are a few things you recommend to new expat here in the Netherlands?
I would like to mention here a famous quote – “When in Rome, do as Romans do.” The same perfectly applies when you move to the Netherlands. The first thing to do is get a bike, as the Netherlands is the ultimate destination for this. All thanks to its flat surface, dedicated cycle lanes and wonderful infrastructure. The next thing is: You are in the middle of Europe, travel!! Wishing all the new expats a wonderful life ahead!!

Thanks Parul!

Written by Marla Thomson