“The first time I was in Amsterdam was seven years ago. I was a student and went with some friends for a city trip. I thought it was like a little Venice and thought, “I’d love to live here!"
Three years ago my dream came true. My boyfriend found a job in Amsterdam and asked me to go with him. I had already started to learn Dutch in the Ukraine. I think it’s so important. By learning the language you also learn about the culture and can get to know the people. What I find hardest is how impatient people can be here. Especially when I speak Dutch. Now my own life is much busier, I understand why. In any case, my first impressions after we moved here weren’t so good. Besides being impatient, people tend to do everything as quickly as possible with little attention to others. I realise now they just have a different mentality; I was judging them out of my own Ukrainian outlook.
My first months here felt like a honeymoon. I was unemployed and had time for myself every day and, despite it being a cold and blustery winter, I thought Amsterdam was beautiful. I can’t get used to the climate however, and I wore a hat and winter boots until May. I always dress too warmly, but it’s too cold for me here.
My parents were a little worried when I came to live in Amsterdam. They only knew it from the TV and associated it with crime, prostitution and drugs. Now they’ve visited they think differently. You can do whatever you want to in Amsterdam. You make your own choices regarding how you want to live your life. I took my parents to the Van Gogh museum; my mother’s a big fan. My father doesn’t care for art, but even he was impressed. My parents thought the number three tram ride fun from beginning to end. You are taken through the entire city and can get off at stops at some of the most fascinating places."
792 people in Amsterdam have the Ukrainian nationality