Interview with an expat


Where do you come from and where do you live in the Netherlands?
I’m originally from Poland. I’ve lived in Berlin for a few years, but two years ago decided to move to Rotterdam.

What’s your job/business?
I’m a software developer in a small startup. We’re striving to provide more transparency to the oil and gas industry in the US and elsewhere.

What was your first time in the Netherlands?
I came here with my husband for a few days in 2018 in order to go to a couple of job interviews and to check out Rotterdam and Amsterdam. We were already pretty certain that the Netherlands would be a perfect place for us, and seeing the country in person convinced us that this would be a great decision. We fell in love with Holland right away!

What is the nicest thing about the Netherlands?
Just one? As a queer person, I would say that most importantly it’s the openness, acceptance and directness. And as an engineer, and partner of a future urbanist, I have to also give a shoutout to amazing infrastructure, car-independence and astounding waterworks.

What’s the worst thing about the Netherlands?
Well, it’s probably gonna sound cliché, but I guess the worst thing is the gloomy weather. Makes it less tempting to leave home during a pandemic, though.

Do you have Dutch friends?
My circle of friends and my polycule are very international, but yes, they include some locals as well.

What do you like about Dutch people? What don’t you like?
Other immigrants often complain about the Dutch directness, but I really like it. People are so straightforward here, it makes communication so much easier. They’re also very nice and friendly.

Do you have a favourite restaurant in your city?
Yes, it’s Umami by Han on the Binnenrotte. That’s where we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, enjoying the diverse fusion cuisine.

Where do you prefer to relax in your city?
I love taking long walks (or a water taxi) along the Nieuwe Maas. The centre of Rotterdam is so beautiful! One can admire both the nature and the modern skyline. I also like relaxing on the nudist beach at the Kralingse Plas.

What’s your favourite Dutch store?
That would be Action. I can’t believe I lived here for a few months before even discovering it!

What do you like to do in the weekend?
I like hanging out with my partners and friends, swimming, taking bike rides… Unfortunately, have to limit that in the times of corona. But there’s one thing that I love that I don’t even have to go out for, and that’s programming my side projects.

Who is your favourite Dutch person?
Floor Jansen. She’s the lead vocalist of the best symphonic metal band in the world – Nightwish. Her talent is simply incredible!

What would you recommend a visitor to do and see in your city in the Netherlands?
Oh my, so many things! We never get bored of giving tours to friends visiting Rotterdam. Markthal, Cube Houses, boat trips, Erasmusbrug, SS Rotterdam, museums, parks, and so much more… It’s also a great idea to visit during the Rotterdam Unlimited festival or during Dakendagen.

What is your favourite Dutch food? And what Dutch food do you dislike?
Love stroopwafels, hate liquorice.

Do you celebrate Dutch holidays? What is your favourite?
I like the Bevrijdingsdag festivals and the Koningsdag parties (despite not being a fan of monarchy).

Where do you like to go out?
I really like De Dijk near Oostplein. It’s great for both coffee and drinks, and very friendly.

What famous Dutch place should you really go and see?
Binnenhof in Den Haag, especially if you get a chance to go inside. It feels so much like a magical, medieval castle that it’s hard to forget that’s where all the politics happens.

Best-kept secret in your city?
Not really a secret, but many people forget that Rotterdam stretches all the way to the North Sea. Hoek van Holland is where the Rotterdam port meets the see. It’s so beautiful and impressive!

Interview by Marla Thomson