“I started ballet dancing when I was 8; a strange choice for a South Korean boy. People would say, “Hey, you’re a boy, why don’t you play football?” But I wanted to dance. When I dance, everything is great. I’ve tried to get the same feeling by playing the flute and piano, but nothing tops dancing. It’s ballet that brought me to Amsterdam. I had an audition at the National Ballet and was accepted. So I moved here from Seoul in 2011.
To be honest, I never had any expectations about what Amsterdam would be like. But when I first arrived and saw the canals I immediately thought, “Wow, how beautiful!” I thought the houses were tiny and so cute. In comparison with Seoul it’s a really small city. I think the most wonderful thing about Amsterdam is that although you live in a city, you’re also surrounded by nature. You don’t have to take a half hour train ride to get to the countryside; you’re already walking in it.
If I could compare Amsterdam with a ballet, it would be ‘Alice in Wonderland’. All the city lights are almost fairy-like and you feel like you’re in Wonderland. It’s so different from Seoul where I grew up. Seoul is more like New York with skyscrapers and lots of traffic. The number of cyclists here freaks me out a bit. Especially during rush hour. I wouldn’t dare call myself an Amsterdammer. I can’t ride a bike. I tried to learn, but couldn’t do it. So I ride a scooter instead.”
301 people in Amsterdam have the South Korean nationality