Meet Marc from Barcelona, Spain. He is half Dutch so he already feels at home in the Netherlands. He enjoys cycling and playing padel, he owns his own Padel Club. He loves to cycle to Aerdenhout from Haarlem, his advice for new expats is to socialize and just walk around the city and ‘get lost’.
1. Where are you from?
2. Why did you leave your home country?
For a master study.
3. How did you end up in the Netherlands?
To study my masters in Sports Management.
4. Why did you choose to live in Haarlem?
Because it is close to Amsterdam, close to the beach and because it is just a beautiful city.
5. How do you cope with being away from home?
Good, I am half Dutch so I kind of feel at home here as well.
6. If you found it hard to settle down in another place what were the things that helped you get over the hard times?
Socializing is the best medicine, go out and have fun with friends.
7. What do you do for a living?
I founded a Padel club.
8. Do you have a hobby or any other activity you enjoy doing?
Playing padel, cycling.
9. In your opinion what is the hardest thing being an expat?
Actually, it is quite easy being an expat in the Netherlands in my opinion, you just need to learn Dutch quickly.
10. In your opinion what is the best thing about being an expat?
That you get to know other expats, make a lot of international friends here in Haarlem.
11. Do you have a story about Haarlem and the locals? What is it?
We once rented a small boat from a local man, he came with us and as we were navigating the canals we started talking and getting along. We had so much fun that at the end he gave us a good discount on the agreed price. That was surprising considering the Dutch “stinginess” haha. The name of the man was Louis Lieve, very recommendable for a nice boat trip!
12. What are the things you love most about living in the Netherlands, Dutch people and the culture in general?
Cycling a lot, the open-minded mentality of the people, and in my case the advice and support I received from the local government to start my own business.
13. Do you have a favourite Dutch dish you would recommend?
Rookworst met Stampot, especially during cold rainy winter days.
14. What are the things you like most about Haarlem?
Its vibe, there is always something fun to do, the parks, the chilled people, never as busy and hectic as Amsterdam but still plenty of cultural and sportive activities to get involved with.
15. What is your favourite Haarlem moment?
Going for an ice-cream at the Ijssalon Garrone, just so good!
16. What are the favourite places you like to go out to eat and/or drink in Haarlem?
We always try to go to a new place as there so many small restaurants to discover! One of my favourites is “Brick” at the Breestraat.
17. What do you think are the must-see locations in Haarlem?
Frans Hals Museum, Grote Markt, the centre in general. For a bit more sightseeing I recommend to cycle from Haarlem to Aerdenhout, just so nice over there!
18. If you could give only one piece of advice to fellow expats who are new to Haarlem what would it be?
Just go to the centre and get lost walking through the small streets, you will discover all sorts of cute restaurants and shops worth to walk in. Ask questions to locals, they are always friendly and will help you out anytime.