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Crossing Borders ‘Expat Stories from the Netherlands’ ft Robert & Vicente

August 29th, 2023

Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of expat life in the Netherlands. In our blog series "Crossing Borders," we're sharing short personal tales straight from the hearts of those who've embarked on this incredible journey. From cultural quirks to conquerable challenges, delightful discoveries to career twists – it's all here.

In this first and premier edition of ‘Crossing Borders', we would like to share the short story of Robert Ivanschitz and Vicente Garcia, who have recently relocated from Miami to the Netherlands.

What were your first thoughts when you touched down in the land of tulips and windmills?

Moving to a new country is always a challenge, there is a lot of uncertainty but at the same time an enormous illusion to discover and understand what one does not know, Amsterdam surprised us from the first day by the kindness of its people, the good disposition to receive us, its good food and beautiful architecture.

We've heard about Dutch cycling culture. Did you embrace it right away, or did you have a "wobbly" start?

We love it! In Miami we used to ride a bicycle a lot, but it was different, it was an activity related to sports, here it is part of your daily life and it becomes the best way to understand and appreciate the city. Each person choses their bicycle as if it were the most precious thing, I must say that mine is more beautiful... You just learn not to follow the fastest or the slowest bike rider. Stay in the center and get safe where you need to go.

Tell us about a funny 'slip of the tongue’ you had while trying to navigate the Dutch language or customs.

I think 'Dutch' is totally out of reach for now, we would love to know more and be able to say a couple of words but give us a couple more weeks...... maybe in next year I can answer this question in Dutch ........... ok….. give us a couple of years…..

What's something about the Netherlands that brings an instant smile to your face?

Sunsets!, food!, butter! the sense of community!, architecture!, public transportation..... beer! The tradition to leave packages with the neighbours is completely new to us. We are renting an apartment on the first floor of a building, it is incredible to see the number of packages that we received and that have been delivered to our neighbours when they are not at home, we are making new friends just by delivering food and packages to half the street.

What's a Dutch cultural experience that has left a lasting impression on you?

Something that impressed us since we moved into our house is that on the second day, when we left the house, our neighbours came up to greet us and introduce themselves, a kindness and a sense of community that does not exist in the United States, it is something very similar to what happens in Latin America and we love it! It makes us feel very grateful and welcome! They even offered their bikes to move around and to help with the garden.

As your Dutch adventure continues, what pearls of wisdom would you share with those just starting their journey?

Enjoy the process, leaving your country is never easy, but I think the Netherlands is a country that receives you with open arms and no judgement. Embrace the unknown and be open to change, a new city means a new way of living, you never know, it may end up being the favorite chapter of your life!