Zsuzsanna

Hungary

This is 
Zsuzsanna Simon (1968)

Country of Origin
Hungary

Lives in
de Aker 

In the Netherlands since 
January 2008 

Profession

Fitness coach for children

First impression of Amsterdam 
Everything smelled like weed

Still would like to
Be more confident about speaking Dutch

Misses
Hungarian Cakes

Hungary in Amsterdam
De Hungarian shop 

“I used to collect dolls in traditional costume. One of the first dolls in my collection wore a Dutch costume with clogs and a cap. The Netherlands was automatically linked to Amsterdam, which we heard about because of its liberal opinions and the Red Light District, of course.

I moved to the city in 2007 thanks to the offer of a job I had really wanted. I was living in England at the time, and my partner accompanied me. It was November and the city was busy preparing for Christmas. We did all the tourist stuff and yes, we also went to a coffee-shop; after all, it's part of the Amsterdam experience. But I was a bit nervous and only took one bite of a space cake. I didn't sleep all night, but I doubt it was because of the space cake.  It was more the idea behind it.

We started living in Nieuw-West, the Aker. Perfect, as it's only 20 minutes away from the centre but very peaceful and quiet. At the start I had to get used to the feel of Amsterdam on a Sunday. No matter what time I woke up, it was always quiet outside. My husband came home defeated, telling me that all the shops were closed on Sundays. At noon, I saw my neighbour in her garden and in her pyjamas. It took me a long time to perfect the art of Sunday relaxation, just like the Amsterdammers.

I now feel completely at home in Amsterdam, but still have to learn the language. It's true that you can only call it home and feel that you belong when you speak the language. I'm trying really hard, but people nearly always answer me in English. I really appreciate it when people take the time to listen to me when I speak Dutch.

My daughter was born here, so she's a native. She speaks three languages, but I get to see the real Amsterdam part of her when she plays outside. She doesn't care if the weather is bad and she just bundles herself up on the first cold day before going outside. My mother-in-law thinks I'm bad mother. In Hungary, you have to wear lots of clothes whenever it’s cold and all children tend to stay inside when the weather’s bad. The kids here are used to the cold.

The one thing I can't get used to is that you have to make an appointment if you want to hang out with someone from Amsterdam. They plan everything weeks ahead. In Hungary, it's the complete opposite. I come from the capital, Budapest, and even there people love it if you suddenly pop by to say hello. You are expected to drop by for a few minutes, or call ahead to let them know you're popping by the same evening. In Amsterdam, if my neighbour asks ''Hey, you wanna have a drink?'' and I ask ''What, now?'' she’ll respond with, ''Wait, let me just check...'' with her diary in her hand.

I think I'll stay in Amsterdam forever, but you can never say never. Amsterdam gave me the opportunity to become self-employed after losing my job. Now I'm my own boss and doing really well. It would not have been as easy in Hungary, and I cannot thank Amsterdam enough for the opportunity. “


1.520 people in Amsterdam have the Hungarian nationality



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