“My first impressions of Amsterdam came from a song by the rock band Riblja Corba which talks about the unimaginable freedom of the city. When I went interrailing across Europe with a girlfriend in 2005 Amsterdam was, of course, on our list. I didn’t think I wanted to live here straight away. It was fantastic, but after a visit to the Wallen I thought it was a little too free.
However, three years later I was living here after working as a scientist at TU, Eindhoven. It was then that my love for the city increased. You need to know your way around here, because it has so much to offer. The first time I came here I was shocked by the sheer amount of everything; it felt like I was in a jungle. However, once you know your way around you can pick and choose exactly what you like the most. You can make your stay as thrilling as you choose.
I’ve had to get used to Amsterdam. There are a lot of culture differences. In Serbia we are a lot more intimate. We touch each other. For my first St Nicholas day I was given a big cuddly toy to cuddle. I stare at the people cycling through rain and wind, even with their kids. That’s unimaginable in my country. Cycling is purely recreational in Serbia and not used as a mere mode of transport. But I am an Amsterdammer; I even cycled when I was pregnant. Now I can add to the treasures of Amsterdam and I’m really proud of this. I work for the Amsterdam City Council, in the department of building management. We work towards better city planning every single day.
I also have to get used to the fact that you need a diary here. I’ve since bought myself a synchronised agenda for myself and my husband and I couldn’t live without it. When my father visited he was really impressed by how punctual the trains were. He even took a photo showing how the metro train arrived exactly on time. In Serbia, time is a more relative quantity.
I have a Dutch husband and we are raising our daughter to be bilingual. We hope this means we can give her the best of both worlds. I still get goose bumps when I remember our wedding in 2014. A big Serbian wedding in Serbia with one hundred and eighty people. A lot of Hollanders came, and I was a bit worried about how they would get one, but everything went smoothly. The Dutch group were warmly welcomed by the Serbs. It didn’t feel like two different cultures at all; both cultures were completely merged into one another.”
447 people in Amsterdam have the Serbian nationality