Maria

Cape Verde

This is
Maria Santos (1960)

Country of origin
Cape Verde

In the Netherland since
1992

Profession
Housekeeping Quality Manager

Loves
Holiday, because than I'm going home. 

Would like to
Speak better the Dutch language 

Misses
‘There is no Cape Verde restaurant in Amsterdam to eat for example cachupa. Cachupa is a corn dish made with beans, meat or fish, cabbage and carrots. I didn't have to get used to the Dutch food: I eat everyting. I even like sprouts...

Cape Verde in Amsterdam
‘The canels, I come from an island and when I see water I think about home.'

“I fell immediately in love with this city. Before I’d lived for a year in Lisbon, which is also a scenic place. But Amsterdam really grabbed my heart. I’ve now lived here longer than I ever lived in Cape Verde. I arrived here, and I was home. I immediately started to learn the language and because of this, integration was never a problem. The most important standards and values remain the same. Rules such as, ‘don’t touch what isn’t yours’.

Sadly, someone burgled my home last year. But I still feel safe here. I’m not going to run away; it could have happened anywhere. So I get on with life and don’t sit there feeling sorry for myself. And I don’t do anything stupid, either. If I travel on public transport into town and have a late night out, I’ll take a taxi home and not the night bus.

I’ve never felt discriminated against here. Colleagues sometimes say to me, “You never mention discrimination”. And I reply, ‘I’m Maria, you’re Jan, we talk to each other by name and not by colour”. I defend myself not with my colour, but with my character, with my strength and my wisdom. I always give someone the benefit of the doubt. We shouldn’t be negative about each other; everything will turn out alright in the end.


There’s never been a day that I haven’t worked. I’ve never received unemployment benefits. I’ve been working for twenty eight years for the same boss. I help in the community. I accept that I have to pay taxes. I’ve given a percentage of my end of year bonus and holiday money to good causes. I am an Amsterdammer and the Netherlands is my country. I love her!”


103 people in Amsterdam have the Cape Verdean nationality

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