“I’ve now lived in Amsterdam for the past twenty nine years. I married a Dutch woman I had met in Africa, where she was working at the time. War raged in Lebanon, and it was logical that I came with her to the Netherlands to live. I immediately liked Amsterdam. It’s a unique, beautiful city. But it’s changed over the years; both life here and the people have changed. People complain a lot more.
I live in Osdorp. There’s been a lot of tension here recently because of the different cultures. I lived for thirty years in the warzone of Lebanon. I know how painful war can be. I don’t want this to happen to the Netherlands.
You can’t compare Amsterdam with Lebanon. They are just too different. Just think about the social security and pensions here. They don’t exist where I come from. We’re living in paradise here! In Lebanon, if you’ve got money you’re fine, if you haven’t, you’re not. I still send money to my mother and the rest of my family. I’m the eldest. I have five younger brothers and five younger sisters.
I recently had a discussion with a foreigner on the street. They kept complaining about this country. I said, “Then you should go somewhere else if you’re not happy here”. I don’t feel like an outsider. I don’t speak the language fluently, but I am a Hollander or - even better - an Amsterdammer. I earn my wages, have a house, and my children were able to go to school. My son now works as an engineer and my daughter also has a wonderful career. Why wouldn’t I be happy?
I love Amsterdam. I was given the opportunity to move to Almere and live in a house with a garden but I didn’t want to. I’m fine here. Happily married, tram 17 passing my house, and a balcony full of flowers I bought at the flower market.
388 people in Amsterdam have the Lebanese nationality