“I came to Amsterdam in 1990. I was a young man, only twenty four years old and looking for adventure. I never thought I would live here for ever. I fell in love with a woman and we had a child together. Despite our relationship ending I have remained in Holland. I met my second Dutch girlfriend in the Soulkitchen disco. I have two children with her, but we’ve since split up. I live in the Jordaan, while she lives in Zuid Oost with the children. We just can’t live under the one roof. Culture differences definitely play a role.
The Dutch are much more open. In Niger, people don’t dare to show emotion. If, for example, someone from Amsterdam likes you, they say so. And if they don’t like you, or if someone does something you don’t like, you tell them, “That’s enough”. I like this. Then you know that that person doesn’t like you. In Niger we respect the elderly. Some things you just can’t say to your parents the kind of things they say over here. If my children’s mother says something they can’t understand they’ll say, “Are you stupid or something?” You wouldn’t dare to say something like that in Niger. In fact, you wouldn’t even think of saying something like that to your parents in the first place. Even if they are stupid. Out of respect. So I get angry when my children talk like that. You don’t speak to your mother like that!
Nigeriens are more sociable. When I meet someone from Niger here, I’ll treat him like a brother. In 1990 there were only two Nigeriens in Amsterdam. Most of them live in Brussels. Nothing in Amsterdam reminds me of Niger. There you have the Sahara desert and drought. And lots of giraffes. Niger has the largest population of giraffes in Africa.”
24 people in Amsterdam have the Nigerien nationality