This is
Beylula Yosef (1987)

Country of origin

The Netherlands Since

Lives in

Owner of printing office 'Love + Ink'

Wants to
Write a book


When I went back I saw the things my mother misses: the warmth and really been together as a family. This is in Holland really different: I sometimes wonder how my parents survived this difference.'

Eritrea in Amsterdam
‘Azmarino, the restaurant of my father (Tweede Sweelinckstraat in the Pijp), for example you can eat Injera, this looks like a pancake with all kind of different food. You eat it with your hands with the family of 1 plate. The collective of Eritrea is reflected herein.'

“I was a ten month old baby when I arrived in Amsterdam. My parents were refugees here, due to the war in Eritrea. I have no memories of this, and my parents either won’t or can’t talk about it. I only know that they wanted to get away to give the children a brighter future. I have been brought up like an Eritrean; extremely hospitable and warm of character. In Eritrea the doors are left open all the time, for anyone to come in. We’re very family oriented. This group of culture traits has always been a part of me and I am very happy to have people around me who will always be there for me. In the Netherlands family means the immediate family: father, mother and children. In Eritrea family is the entire community and that could be an entire street. We don’t have an individualistic way of looking at the world.

I live in Zuid Oost with three others, but I’ve lived all over the city. I grew up in Amsterdam West - in Bos and Lommer - and was very happy there. My time there gave me so much. All the different cultures and religions I came into contact with made it easy for me to forge a connection with people from an early age. On the flip side, a lot of Amsterdammers live next to each other, but not as a community. And some cultures have nothing to do with each other. You sometimes get a sinking feeling, but I remain hopeful. I organise events which often bring together people from different backgrounds and religions.

For one of these I have arranged two Pak je Avond evenings in the Tolhuis garden on the 5th of December together with the artist Frouwkje Smit. Artists and singer-songwriters from all over the Netherlands come to perform and tell their stories. My mother will be making Eritrean food. And it really makes me happy when someone in their seventies, who’s never eaten anything but local dishes, tries my mother’s food. It’s not just a Saint Nicholas party, it’s an ode to Nelson Mandela who died on this day; but mainly it’s what a Saint Nicholas party has always meant to be; time to be together.

I have also started up a printing company called Love+Ink and we make greetings cards for a wide range of cultures and holidays. So not just Christmas cards, but Eid al-Fitr cards. Not just New Years greetings, but Chinese New Year greetings. And all of them in a variety of languages.”

253 people in Amsterdam have the Eritrean nationality


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