“In Africa they think everyone in Europe has a car. So when I arrived in Amsterdam and saw everyone riding bikes I thought, “Huh?” I also thought all the houses looked the same. I’ve since been in Amsterdam for four years and now have a different perspective. I came here via my wife. She was busy with a project in Burkina Faso, and to build a school. After a few years having a long distance relationship we got married in 2003. I then came to the Netherlands to live. We later spent a few years in Burkina Faso, as she worked with the United Nations. When her contract ran out she had to return to the Netherlands. And of course, I and our children went with her.
Between 2006 and 2010 we lived in Burkina Faso. Our children were born there. My son is now eight and my daughter six. They were very young when we came to Holland, but they still ask, “When are we going back to Africa?” I miss my family. Everyone’s still living there: my parents and my two brothers. I haven’t seen them for four years. Nor my friends, who I also miss very much. Our dream is to return one day, but we haven’t made any concrete plans. However, I also say to myself, “I’m never going to leave Amsterdam”. It’s so peaceful here. You can’t say that about cities such as Brussels or Paris. The last time in Brussel people came to me begging for change. You don’t see so much of this in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is the ideal place for me. There’s a lot of freedom here. This is definitely not the case in Burkina Faso. They have coffee shops here, which I like. That would never be allowed in Burkina Faso. You could say that although people shouldn’t smoke weed, they do it anyway. At least it’s controlled in the Netherlands.”
85 people in Amsterdam have the Burkinabe nationality