“I first came to Holland in 1994. I studied in Rotterdam for six months. Two years later I came back to do my master’s and PhD at Den Haag, which is where I fell in love with a classmate; a girl from Albania. We got married and had a son. She worked in Amsterdam and after spending two years travelling between Amsterdam and Den Haag I moved in with her.
I love Amsterdam. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If the climate was better, it would be paradise. But to be honest, Uruguay doesn’t have the best weather either, especially during the winter months. My Albanian wife and I are now divorced but still very good friends. I’ve been with an Italian woman for fourteen years. She has a lot of issues with the Dutch weather and complains about it a lot.
My son is autistic but goes to school and does really well. I’m happy he lives in Holland as they can cater for his needs. I like going for walks with him in the Wester park which is near to where I live. His favourite place is Artis. I often return to Uruguay. It’s not easy to take my son with me, so I go alone. I’m the youngest in a family of seven children, and none of them have ever been to Amsterdam. But they love the stories I have to tell. They think Europe is the place to be.
I’m now officially Dutch. I had thought long and hard about it, and still felt I was Uruguayan and didn’t want to lose that identity. But actually, I’ve lost nothing. I’ve only gained. Now I can stand with one foot in Amsterdam and one in Uruguay. The problem is, the Dutch continue to see us as foreigners. They don’t think we belong. If you criticise their country they say, “If you don’t like it, go home”. But if a white Hollander expresses the same opinion it’s fine. Hollanders might see themselves as tolerant, but they aren’t always like that. And it’s become worse over recent years. Thanks to the media. And the crisis. Mass media influences the entire population. Right wing parties are popping up everywhere. It’s actually a European problem; an Amsterdam doesn’t really suffer so much.”
110 people in Amsterdam have the Uruguayan nationality