“When I say I’m from Kazakhstan, people always mention Borat, the fictitious Kazakh journalist as played by the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. It’s a pretty extreme characterization, which is relatively on the mark.
People from Amsterdam are very calm. In Kazakhstan people are much more extreme, for example when showing emotion. The same applies to the weather. We have extreme cold winters and baking hot summers. I really miss those summers here in Holland. But I miss the fantastic cultural life of Amsterdam whenever I’m in Kazakhstan.
I live in the Bijlmer. It might not have the reputation of being the nicest part of town, but it’s cheap and I like it. It’s really multicultural and different from the rest of Amsterdam. You’ll hear people speaking in foreign languages more often than in Dutch. Hollanders accept everyone and aren’t judgemental; it’s a tolerant society. People are much more judgemental in Kazakhstan.
Here I’ve learned that people are allowed to have different opinions. You don’t have to agree all the time, but can respect someone else’s opinion. My inner Kazakh comes out when I forget this. I do things my way.”
104 people in Amsterdam have the Kazakhstani nationality