Sunday, 8 September 2013 - 12:00
The Expat’s Life in Amsterdam
Starting a new life in any place will have its ups and downs. But how easy is it to start a new life in Amsterdam? Are there special Dutch behaviors to take into account? And how is the main capital, Amsterdam, helping expats to fit in? Two American expats share their story. “The stairs in Amsterdam, oh my gosh!” says 29-year-old Kristen O’ Connell. When she first came to her Amsterdam apartment, it was almost like climbing a ladder. “The stairs were so narrow and steep,” she says. Kristen was also surprised about the ‘elevator absence’ in most buildings. In her home city, Rochester, everything is built on comfort. At that moment, she realized that she had just moved to an old and authentic city. Kristen moved to Amsterdam with her Irish husband in September 2012. What she immediately loved about the city was its biking culture. She says that biking around first petrified her, because it took some time to get comfortable with it. “It’s not a joke. You really have to learn how to move around in the busy traffic.” Now she only sees the advantages. “Biking is good exercise, it’s good for your health and it is so cheap!” she says. In Rochester she only biked occasionally in her spare time. “In Amsterdam the bike is an official mode of transportation. There are special cycle paths and other facilities. Totally not the way I was used to,” says Kristen.
- Kristen and her husband Stuart this summer during the 'Pluk de Dag Festival' on http://abroadlikekristen.wordpress.com/