Welcome to the Haarlem Talks in 2018! This is the first interview of the year so enjoy to get to know Philipp who comes from Dresden, Germany, works as a project coordinator at an environmental organization, plays baseball and thinks Haarlem is an excellent spot from where you can explore nature, culture, and nightlife!
1. Where are you from?
2. Why did you leave your home country?
I already lived abroad before coming to the Netherlands. Originally, I left to study.
3. How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I was lucky enough to get an internship and a job afterward.
4. Why did you choose to live in Haarlem?
Haarlem combines the best of everything. It’s close but not too close, touristy but not overwhelming, cozy but not boring. I don’t like the sheer amount of people in Amsterdam and I wouldn’t want to live in a smaller city than Haarlem.
5. How do you cope with being away from home?
A part of my family is here with me, hence being away from home is not such a big deal after all.
6. If you found it hard to settle down in another place what were the things that helped you get through the hard times?
Meeting people, talking to as many as possible and asking even the dumbest questions helps to get around. I found it comparably easy in the Netherlands to settle down – except finding an apartment. That’s just a nightmare.
7. What do you do for a living?
I work for an environmental organization as a project coordinator.
8. Do you have a hobby or any other activity you enjoy doing?
I play baseball with the awesome OVVO team and soccer every now and then with my colleagues.
9. In your opinion what is the hardest thing being an expat?
The hardest part for me is to not have the stability that people in their hometown have. Plus temporary employment doesn’t help either.
10. In your opinion what is the best thing about being an expat?
Travelling is fun but getting to know people, their habits and culture take a bit longer than just a few weeks.
11. Do you have a good/funny/nice/heartwarming story about Haarlem and the locals? What is it?
I like my local bar where people either sleep on the table, start random conversations with you or just enjoying themselves.
12. What are the things you love most about living in the Netherlands, Dutch people and the culture in general?
I didn’t find anything typical Dutch yet that I’d say I love. I like that the country is small, making it easy to do day trips to other cities. I don’t like the rudeness of bicyclists.
13. Do you have a favorite Dutch dish you would recommend?
Unfortunately, the Dutch are not really famous for their cuisine.
14. What are the things you like most about Haarlem?
It’s a brilliant spot to explore nature, cities, art, and culture as well as pubs and music.
15. What is your favorite Haarlem moment? (If you have a very nice and personal experience that you would like to share)
Finding our apartment and moving in together. Getting all the stuff from different places and people, making it the welcoming place it now is.
16. What are the favorite places you like to go out to eat and/or drink in Haarlem?
Out of the Blues and Lokaal.
17. What do you think are the must-see locations in Haarlem?
Start at the train station (which is really nice) and wander around.
18. If you could give only one piece of advice to fellow expats who are new to Haarlem what would it be?
Get to know your neighbors.