Lena

Former Soviet Union

Name

Lena (33)

 

Lives in

Zuid

 

Country of Origin

Former Soviet-Union

 

In Amsterdam since

2014

 

Former Soviet Union in Amsterdam

The Totalitarian Art Gallery at the Singel. They got Original pieces of the Soviet Union, such as posters from that era.

 

Misses

My family and sometimes vegetables and fruits, because to be honest they are kind of tasteless here. The cheeses and fish are great here, but the vegetables and fruits aren't.

 

Hidden gem

I feel like Alice in Wonderland when I go to my hidden gem in Amsterdam. It is the turn from the Nieuwe Keizersgracht behind the Hortus Botanicus.

 Ik voel me als Alice in Wonderland wanneer ik op mijn geheime plek in Amsterdam ben. Dat is de bocht van de Nieuwe Keizersgracht achter de Hortus Botanicus. There you can imagine yourself in a different world.

“I came via train to Amsterdam as a tourist in 2003. My first impression was, “What a magical place”. I had been in many other European cities and had also lived in America, but Amsterdam had me in shock. In a positive sense. I thought everything was really unique. It was so different from home; the atmosphere, the architecture and the perfect size - everything is in an easy distance. I still have the email I sent to my parents which described the magic of Amsterdam. I never dreamed I would one day come to live here.


When I was sixteen I lived in America as an exchange student. On my first day at school I met Ilse, a Dutch girl. We became best friends and she’s still like a sister to me. I went to visit her in Tilburg in 2007 and met my now ex-boyfriend. Which is how I came to live in the Netherlands in 2009. When the relationship ended after five years I moved to Amsterdam. I already knew the city well and had always tried to avoid the tourist traps. You only need to take a step left or right to discover a different Amsterdam. My first year, thanks to the recent break up, was a mix of emotions and very affected by this event, but now I’m much happier here. When I feel lonely I just go for a walk. The city’s streets and buildings give me energy. I love the mix of people, the things you can do here, and the beautiful architecture. Now I live in Zuid I can look at the Amsterdam School style of buildings. You can still see the old arts and crafts, and can instantly see that everything has been thought about carefully.

What I find typical about Amsterdam is that they really let themselves go on certain days like Koningsdag and Gay Pride. It’s almost like a planned ‘let loose’, and they do it well. They pee everywhere and do everything they’re not supposed to. Planning is definitely an Amsterdam trait. Before I came to the Netherlands I never had a diary. It could be more spontaneous here. Just go with the flow. I’m also surprised about the initiation rights in the student groups; I’m really not familiar with such behaviour. I saw the film ‘Fauten’ and wondered whether this really went on, but in the beginning of September you see these things going on in the street. Like the boys jumping off Magere bridge after dark. Young kids, and so cool. “

8 people in Amsterdam have the Former Soviet Union nationality

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