‘Nineteen years ago my family and I fled the Taliban in Afghanistan and came to the Netherlands. After living in both Noord-Brabant and Friesland we decided to move to Amsterdam. We had lived in Kabul and missed life in a big city.
The entire family immediately felt at home in Amsterdam-Oost.
In the centre houses are much too close to each other, but in Oost, just outside the centre, it’s lovely and green and there’s a lot more space. We also found it remarkable that so many different kinds of people lived here. We have neighbours from all over the world and we come into contact with cultures we never knew existed. That was most impressive – how everyone here is open to each other’s way of life.
I’ve really learned that even very different people can live in harmony. We don’t need to be the same. Still, Amsterdammers could maybe be a little more open and more prepared to help each other. In Afghanistan the feeling of community is much more distinct. In Amsterdam it’s hazy.
My children have opened an Afghan restaurant in Jordaan, called the Mantoe. They’ve brought a little bit of Afghanistan to Amsterdam and hope to introduce people to our culture. The sense of community, the hospitality, and of course the tasty dishes are all represented here. Unfortunately, I don’t work there but I enjoy going over to see what’s cooking. That’s my hobby, cooking, and so Mantoe is the place to be for me.
Where will I be living in ten years? Where my children are. That’s most important to me. But I definitely enjoy living in Amsterdam.’
1.893 people in Amsterdam have the Afghan nationality