This is
Leopoldo da Silveira (1954)

Lives in
Bos en Lommer

Country of origin

In the Netherlands since


Mozambique in Amsterdam
The city has become more tropical in terms of people and food

Favorite place
The small city beaches like Strand West

Still would like to
Organise an African music night

“I came to Amsterdam in 1973 after fleeing from war-torn Mozambique. I had actually wanted to go to Denmark, but had problems en route. They didn’t believe I was from Mozambique - a country in the middle of civil war - but thought I was Moroccan with a false passport. So I ended up ‘stuck’ in the Netherlands.

I found it very tough in the beginning. The language was hard to understand and it was difficult finding a job. After a year of nothing but problems I moved to Portugal. I met some friends and we started a band. I’m a singer songwriter. I also play guitar and saxophone. I started another band in 1975 with some friends from Amsterdam and returned there. And now, after all these years, I can finally say, “Amsterdam is my home. Here are my family, friends and my band, which is an extension of my family”.

I fled Mozambique alone and for the first few years I couch surfed. I only returned to Mozambique after seventeen years. I hadn’t seen my family for that entire time. It was another seventeen years before I returned a second time. I feel like an Amsterdammer. I was nineteen when I left, and so I’ve been here longer than I’ve been away.

I’m happy to have met Amsterdam. It’s a very diverse city, very social, and it hosts a wide range of different cultures. Empathy, mentality, involvement in the rest of the world, and benevolence to other countries; that’s what Amsterdam means to me.

I wrote a song about Amsterdam. I sing it with a sprinkle of French words. So the song has phrases like, “mes amis des Amsterdam” and “mon amour de Amsterdam”. With a Brazilian melody. I think it fits in well with the diversity here.

12 people in Amsterdam have the Mozambican nationality


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