Keith Jenkins, the blogger behind Velvet Escape, has been living in the Netherlands for almost two decades. Another “in the Netherlands for love” story, Keith has taken some time out of his busy travel schedule to answer a few questions for us. Thanks Keith, and welcome!
How long have you been living in the Netherlands and what brought you here?
I’ve been living in the Netherlands for almost 20 years. What brought me here? LOVE!
Do you plan to stay in the Netherlands, move back to your home country, or try somewhere else?
I have no plans to move back to my country of origin, Malaysia, or anywhere else but who knows what the future will bring. For now, I’m perfectly happy living in Amsterdam.
What do you do during the day (job, stay-at-home-parent, entrepreneur, student, etc)?
I’m a full-time travel blogger and social media consultant. This has been my profession for the past two years. Before that, I was an investment banker for ten years.
What’s the most notable difference between your home country and the Netherlands?
Errr… the weather! Malaysia is a tropical country.
Where is your favorite place to visit in the Netherlands?
Too many to mention but Amsterdam, Masstricht and Groningen are my favourite cities. In addition, I love the tranquility of the Wadden islands.
Give us one thing you love about the Netherlands and one thing you loathe…
I travel a lot and each time I return to the Netherlands, it always strikes me how well everything is organised. I guess that’s one of the things I love about living here. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of the Amsterdam metro and the growing number and length of the traffic jams.
What’s one thing you’ve had to adjust to since coming to the Netherlands and how did you adjust (or are you still working on it)?
When I first came here, I had trouble adjusting to the directness of the Dutch. I come from a culture where speaking your mind is considered rude and disrespectful. It was not until I started working at the bank that I was truly confronted with this stark difference. It demanded quite a bit of soul-searching. These days, I have no problems speaking my mind when the situation warrants it. I’m still known as Mr. Diplomatic though… and I see that as a good thing.
Do you have an embarrassing moment since you’ve moved that you would like to share with us (an unfortunate language blunder or a funny getting-back-on-the-bike story)?
Oh, you mean the time I suffered a pinched nerve in my lower back after sitting at a four-hour business dinner and I couldn’t get up? The restaurant was packed and I said goodbye to my colleagues and clients as they left. The pain was excruciating and after sitting at the empty table for what seemed like an eternity, I mustered the courage to ask a waiter to help me get up and walk me to the door. It wasn’t a pretty scene.
What’s the best piece of advice you received that you would like to pass along to anyone coming to the Netherlands?
Learn the language! It’s easy enough to get by with English but you’ll only begin to understand the Dutch if you speak the language.
Do you have any blogs or websites that you would like to recommend?
I would recommend my Velvet Escape travel blog and my The Happy Explorer photo blog. For expat tips and news, I would recommend Expatica.
Images courtesy of Keith Jenkins
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