This is 
João Gonçalves (1965) 

Country of Origin

Lives in

In the Netherlands since 

Marketing- en sales manager 

The warmth of his family and the Portuguese culture. And the coffee from Portugal is outstanding. Bica is the name of this kind of coffee. Portuguese people drink dozens of them per day. I have never tasted anything like that in Amsterdam. It is not only drinking the coffee, but it is a way of living.

Dutch cheese

Portugal in Amsterdam
Restaurant Girasol at the Amstel

Still would like to 
Live at the beach 

“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.


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