United Arab Emirates

This is
Kayed Alqasemi (1983)

Country of origin
United Arab Emirates

In the Netherlands since

Lives in

Promovendus mathematics UvA

Diving, reading and American football. 

Would love to
Becycle through the Netherlands

Favorite spot
‘Under the Rijksmuseum. Once I was there during a late night listening to a guy playing saxophone and I thought: this is a movie scene.'

United Arab Emirates in Amsterdam
‘Amsterdam-South, because of the big and luxe houses.'

The warmth

“Before I moved to Amsterdam I never imagined I would end up here. I associated Amsterdam with marijuana and the red light district. Why would I want to go there? A year later here I am. And I think it’s the coolest city in the world.

I was born in the UAE. When I was eighteen I moved to England to study. After that I spent five years in Dubai - one of the Emirates - working. It was there I met my Dutch wife. We lived in Australia together for two years. Even though my wife thought Melbourne was the best place in the world to live, we still found it to be too far from everywhere else and decided to go to Europe. My mother is German and I have family members in Frankfurt.

I wanted to get my PhD and registered in Bonn and Amsterdam. Amsterdam accepted my application. My wife arranged us a house on the Nieuwmarkt and we sent out furniture over from Australia. I entered this tiny house, looked at the staircase and saw that there was no way our bed would ever fit up there. House sizes in Amsterdam are totally different from those in Australia and Dubai. Actually, everything was different from everywhere I had ever lived before. It was a culture shock, but a great experience at the same time, next to the Red Light District and coffee shops.

We’ve since moved on from Nieuwmarkt and now live in IJburg. After years of living in the centre of town we were ready for a change. The crowds of tourists and wafts of marijuana that accompanied me on my way to the Albert Heijn made city-centre living a nightmare. The houses in IJburg are also so much bigger, and I don’t have to leave so early to get to work. I’m very happy in this house, and would even call IJburg my favourite part.

However, we do eventually want to return to Dubai. The luxurious lifestyle most people live there is something I very much appreciate. And you earn more in Dubai. We have a three month old son and have just received his United Arab Emirates passport. He also has a Dutch passport. My wife gave birth to him at home, and it went so well that she doesn’t want to ever experience a hospital birth. So we won’t return to Dubai until all our children have been born. At home.”

11 people in Amsterdam have the Emirati nationality


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