This is 
Anna Lillioja (1988) 

Country of Origin

In the Netherlands since 


Journalist en copywriter 

First impression of Amsterdam 
Cosy and welcoming 

Still would like to
Go to the sauna on the roof of Het Volkshotel

Living in harmony with the nature and black bread with sprats in oil

Estonia in Amsterdam
Café de Ceuvel in Noord comes really close. There you can have that spacious feeling that you also have in Estonia, because the surroundings are less crowded. In Estonia we have many places like that – young people who establish something in a creative way with little resources.



“My first encounter with Amsterdam was when I had to come here for a modelling job. I remember it very well; sitting alone on a train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. When you get out of the station and see all the old buildings - it’s such a pretty, scenic picture. It was love at first sight. I was overwhelmed by the feeling. I knew I was going to live here.

After my studies, I lived in Rotterdam for a while and also travelled. The following year I went to Amsterdam to study. For the first three months I crashed in my friend’s utility room; she lived in a studio apartment with a utility room and a mattress. That was fine with me, because I was hardly ever there. I spent most of my time riding my bike, going to parties, and sleeping over at my new friend’s places.

It's nice here. It's big, but not too big. Everything’s got its place, and you can go anywhere by bike. Amsterdam has everything a big city has to offer, but it's still very intimate.

This first period in Amsterdam went hand in hand with moving away from home and really becoming independent. It was a period of detachment regarding my parents and starting up a serious relationship with the city. I had an amazing feeling of independence, and maybe I have projected this feeling as coming from the city itself. At nineteen years old, I felt as rich as Croesus. Amsterdam was a playground where I could do whatever I wanted.

Then came a time where I was barely surviving the city’s daily grind. I had been living in the same house on The Overtoom for the past two years and suddenly felt like I needed to leave. Leave Amsterdam? I thought life had become boring here; it was also my personal act of rebellion. I had just finished college and an internship that had brought about a daily routine which made me suddenly feel boring. Am I going to stay here forever? Is this it? Do I choose Amsterdam or do I search for adventure and see what’s around the corner?

I miss nature a lot. It's so crowded here; there's a road or a house or a building wherever you go. The small bit of nature there is, is very artificial. It's like you’re being told, ''Here's a piece of nature, enjoy it.'' In Estonia there's a lot more of the real countryside, and nothing of the nature-culture that thrives here. Children know which mushrooms to pick and which they shouldn’t. People back home aren't so estranged from the natural world. Here it’s like a protected monument; you can look at it, but you cannot be a part of it. In Estonia, people are much closer to nature. “

132 people in Amsterdam have the Estonian nationality



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