“My aunt travelled a lot. Because of this, I heard a lot about Europe as a child. The older I got, the more I heard via the media. I had built up a tranquil picture of Amsterdam; a multicultural and friendly city. When I was young I decided I would like to live in a European town when I grew up. I compared a number of cities: Berlin, London, Amsterdam…and Amsterdam won.
I first came here in August of 2015, which coincided with my coming here to live. I was able to work for the same firm here as I had in Namibia. My first week had me questioning my decision to come here. It was nerve-wracking, moving to the city, and so far from Africa. I forced myself to get out and about and took the tram to the Museumplein. This took me to the Uitmarkt, and suddenly it felt right; I was in the right place. This is where I fell in love with Amsterdam.
I didn’t feel like an expat. My idea of an expat is someone who travels through; more a tourist. They never really become a part of the Dutch community, but stick to their own. To become an Amsterdammer, you don’t need to be Dutch. You don’t even need to be a local. You become one. This city gives you the opportunity to do just that. You are accepted wherever your roots are, whoever you are. You have personal freedom to be yourself, and this is why I love the city. The city doesn’t judge.
I was warned beforehand of the Amsterdammer’s habit of saying exactly what they feel, but personally I find this a charming trait. It is what it is, and at least you know where you stand. I also love the drinking culture, with added ’bitterballen’. It reminds me of Namibia’s barbeque culture. Naturally, I miss my parents, as well as the weather. I hadn’t thought this might become an issue, but I’ve noticed how the sun does make people happier.”
6 people in Amsterdam have the Namibian nationality