Originally from Rome, it was a university exchange program in France in 2004 that led Fabio to write about his travel experiences. Now, Fabio’s living it up in Amsterdam! He shares his experiences on his blog Famsterdam Life. Find out a bit about him below before clicking over to check out his blog. Thanks, Fabio, for helping me resurrect the Tiptoe Through the Tulips interview series!
How long have you been living in the Netherlands and what brought you here?
I moved to the Netherlands from Italy in January 2007, but the story begins a few years before that. Down in Italy, the reputation of Holland (and especially Amsterdam) is all about drugs, prostitution and such. None of this ever really attracted me, therefore I grew up barely know where Holland was! Things changed when I spent some time in France for my studies. I met quite a few Dutch friends there and traveled with them to the flat land, finally discovering it through their own eyes and seeing what lies behind the prejudice. I fell in love with this place, so after graduation I immediately looked for jobs over here.
Do you plan to stay in the Netherlands, move back to your home country, or try somewhere else?
I’m not sure I could live in Amsterdam forever, but to be honest I can’t see myself leaving it for good either! I like to see Amsterdam as a perfect headquarter to leave from and come back to. Every year or two I like to spend some time away from here. The current mid-term plan is a multi-month trip with my touring bike.
What do you do during the day (job, stay at home mom/dad, entrepreneur, student, etc)?
I work as a Software Engineer for a Dutch company, but only four days a week. This is a great opportunity in this country-it definitely offers more choices when it comes down to balance work and personal time.
What’s the most notable difference between your home country and the Netherlands?
The flatness! 😀 There is an entirely different set of values and costumes. One thing that stands out is the way to enjoy time with friends. Most of the ‘people time’ in the Netherlands is ruled b alchool, which is totally not the case in Italy. The ubiquitous biertje is what makes people loose and glues them together at the same time. Rather than being a nice side thing while gathered with friends, its role here is being the central propellent of any fun night worthy of the name.
Where is your favorite place to visit in the Netherlands?
One really cool spot is Muiden, a little town outside of Amsterdam. I often ride my bike there, and it’s great from the very entrance – you reach a little fort just next to the little harbor filled with boats. The town vibe is similar to other old Dutch villages, but this one has a fantastic sluice and overlooks the Muiderslot, a magnificent castle. I definitely recommend going there for a day trip.
Give us one thing you love about the Netherlands and one thing you loathe.
Love, there can only be one answer: its bike culture and infrastructure. I lately had my city bike fully ‘pimped’ by an artist! The bike has become an essential part of my lifestyle and I will do everything I can to keep it like this. One thing I loathe would be the Dutch accent when they pronounce the English word ‘that’! I’ve been sitting here for a bit but I can’t actually name any. Ain’t that good?
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)?
This has to be the lack of light in winter! I know it’s not specifically Dutch, but I’ve always been used to lower latitudes and the late light / early dark has a big impact on myself. On the other hand, the extra long days worked out beautifully. It gives me a previously unknown energy and it really brings you to make the most out of any day!
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)?
One I can for sure remember is when a friend of mine and I enrolled at a local gym and went to one of the group lessons to try. We were confident enough about our Dutch and, in any case, “we’ll just copy what the guy does”. At some point he stopped moving and started giving verbal instructions only! Thanks to the music, we completely lost it, triggering that Dutch mixture between laughter and disapproval in all the other participants, until when the teacher came next to us to show us the moves!
What’s the best piece of advice you received that you would like to pass along to anyone coming to the Netherlands?
Be ready for a challenging environment, but be also assured that it can be very rewarding.
Do you have any blogs or websites that you would like to recommend?
The people at MixtUp (http://www.mixtup.nl/) are the best in both organizing little precious concerts (even in the vault of an old bank!) and keeping you up to date with what there’s to do around. They are good people who really put their heart into it.
Images courtesy of Famsterdam Life
Interested in doing an interview of your own? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!
The opinions and content within this post are solely those of the guest poster and in no way reflect the views of the Clogs and Hotdogs blog or its blogger.
This site contains affiliate links. When you buy something using those links, a portion of your purchase goes to helping update and maintain Clogs and Hotdogs. Thank you for your support!