“As Marketing and Sales Manager for Gassan Diamonds, I have been to every city on the planet. Not once during my travels have I thought, ‘’this city has the same feel as Amsterdam’’.
In my opinion, Amsterdam is the most beautiful city in the world. It is a vibrant, multicultural, corporate world. What’s great is that it’s impossible to distinguish a CEO from a businessman whenever you walk along the street. Everyone is equal. Everyone rides a bike.
I came to the Netherlands in 1989 because of my wife. You don’t come here for the weather. I met her on a beach in Portugal. I was twenty years old. She had blond hair, blue eyes and looked great in a swimsuit. It was only when she had gone that I realised I missed her. We started writing letters and I fell in love for the first time. I went to visit her in Amsterdam. It took me almost two days to get here, hitchhiking trucks. I ended up staying for a month and a half.
When I arrived in the Netherlands it was difficult to find a job. I had studied PR and marketing, but it took me two years to find work. At a certain point you start to get frustrated. I had two sets of Dutch lessons, but didn’t enjoy it at all; it went far too slowly. When it takes someone in the class an hour to understand what exactly a door is… I ended up teaching myself.
People in the Netherlands are changeable, are very formal, and emotions don’t play much of a role. Which is why the Dutch are unique in their way of doing business. With the Spaniards and the Portuguese, emotions play a much bigger role. The people of Amsterdam are distant. They are very accommodating and helpful on a global level. They give millions to Africa, but would soon forget should a neighbour go hungry.
I consider myself a global citizen. I do have some typical Dutch characteristics: I complain about the weather, I find things ‘gezellig’. Especially when it comes to business, I'm like a Dutchman: impatient and focussed on my goal. Business-wise I have learned a lot in Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, I learned that you have to fight for what you believe in. There are many opportunities. It’s a very open city. In Amsterdam I became a man; an adult in every way possible.”
2.961 people in Amsterdam have the Portuguese nationality.