Husam

Yemen

This is
Husam Al-Gariri (1996)

Country of origin
Yemen

In the Netherlands since 
2015

Lives in
Amsterdam North

Profession
Student

First impression of Amsterdam
A big, but also little city

Loves 
Music

Misses
'My friends and family. And a specific fish you can only find in Jemen, kind of sharkfish. I already took one in my suitcase when we left Jemen. We are still eating from this one.'

Favourite spot
'Arena Boulevard. I have worked there and after work we went for a drink and it was very nice. Also I went to a concert of Adele and Coldplay.'

Yemen in Amsterdam
'I lived nearby the coast so when I go to the sea, the smell reminds me of my own country.'

Would like to
Visit more musea's and eat a herring fish. 

“I arrived in Amsterdam as refugees eight months ago. My father had fled eighteen months before and already lived here. I ran from the war.


I was born in Iraq where my father happened to be studying. When I was six we returned to Yemen. There wasn’t really a war going on there, but you could feel it coming since 2011. Not that people were killed in my immediate area, but for some people the fear of being arrested and murdered hung heavily over their heads. Including my father, who was politically active. This was extremely frightening for my family; we didn’t feel safe anymore. There were threats that my father would be arrested and worse. He had to leave before it became too dangerous to. But the fact that I was his son also made me a target. Those last years in the Yemen had me feeling so unsafe I rarely left the house. I had no idea what would happen to me. We didn’t have much contact with my father; perhaps once a month.

I arrived with my mother, and when we landed in Schiphol I felt happy right away. This would be a new beginning for me, and I was very optimistic. I’ve never had anything bad happen since arriving here. The Dutch people have been very kind to me. I used to think, “They’re a bit too nice, it’s not normal, they’re having a secret joke”. But now I know that that’s how Amsterdammers are brought up; they’ve been raised to help others. This might be normal for a Netherlander, but I was recently at the butchers where I had made and order and the butcher was preparing it. Suddenly a new client came in and another butcher asked her what she wanted. She thought that I hadn’t been served yet and said, “That gentleman was first”. In the Yemen, no-one would say that. When the butcher asks what you want you answer, whether or not you’re next in line. I think this is admirable.


What’s less positive here is the weather, but you won’t hear me complain about it. Amsterdam has brought me nothing but good. I can’t describe the happiness I feel when living here.”

12 people in Amsterdam have the Yemeni nationality

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