Zoran

Slovakia

This is
Zoran Oravec (1974)

Country of Origin
Slovakia

In the Netherlands since
2007 

Profession 
Hairdresser 

Loves
Visiting museums and swimming

Still would like to 
Finish my translation studies

Slovakia in Amsterdam 
Café Het Wapen van Londen

“My sister lived here and I wanted to move closer to her, even though she returned to Slovakia later on. I knew the city from previous visits. I thought Amsterdam was the most beautiful, most interesting and most fascinating city when compared to other cities. It’s the ultimate place to visit. Also in terms of language. Here you can start off using English. That’s not possible in other cities like Paris or Berlin. Not even in London. In London they speak British English, which also makes you feel as if you have to learn a whole new language.

My first time in Amsterdam was in the ‘90s; I was walking around the Red Light District with my family. I was a teenager. I found it extraordinary that prostitution could legally exist. We walked a little further and there was the Gay Pride. Those were life changing experiences. The things that are every day occurrences here are definitely not usual in other countries. No prejudice: that’s what Amsterdam is to me - a tram full of people, with everybody speaking a different language. Here you can dress and act differently whenever you want. You can dare to show who you are, even if you are part of a minority group.

I love art. I like to go to museums. In Amsterdam there’s also a lot of art in public areas. It’s a cultural phenomenon. There’s a lot of street art, such as the Amsterdam Light Festival at Art South where I worked as a volunteer. Art is also a connecting factor in the city; people come from different countries to see the exhibitions here.  You can find everything here in this small place. Amsterdam is a city which provides everything a city can provide, but it still stays small. A thirty minute bike ride will take you all over the city. Amsterdam connects the big and the small. It’s special and ordinary. Everything you want to see can be found here.

I live in the Baarsjes. Many different people live there, not only next to each other but also with each other. Even people who don’t speak Dutch live here. They are perhaps a little more limited thanks to the language barrier, but they can survive here and that’s not something you can say about a lot of cities. If you want to live in Slovakia for example, you have to learn the language.

People in Amsterdam talk to each other, even if they don’t know each other. Although it’s anonymous, it isn’t impersonal. You can have a conversation with a complete stranger. I think that’s beautifully human.”


523 people in Amsterdam have the Slovak nationality

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