JOIN OUR FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
READ OUR GUIDE TO MOVING ABROAD
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
COMPARE QUOTES AND SAVE MONEY
Insurance, FX and international movers
LISTEN TO THE EXPAT FOCUS PODCAST
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
EXPERT FINANCIAL ADVICE & SERVICES
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.
Netherlands > Expat Experiences

Netherlands

Melissa Adams, Amsterdam

Published Friday August 05, 2016 (12:30:44)
Melissa Adams
Melissa Adams

Who are you?

I'm an American freelance journalist who was born in Los Angeles but spent most of my adult life in Newport Beach, California (of reality show The OC fame). After graduating from UCLA in 1973, I launched my career as a travel writer for the American Automobile Club (AAA). Since 2012, I've shared passion for my adopted city at UnClogged in Amsterdam: An American Expat Plumbs Holland.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I fell in love with Amsterdam after visiting the city on a whim in 2007. I bought an apartment in 2010 and exchanged sunny southern California for this soggy but gorgeous patch on the European continent for good.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Language! While it's easy to get around in Amsterdam without knowing Dutch, you need the language to read your mail, bills and the local newspaper. Making phone calls and communicating with local merchants also is much easier if you try to do it Dutch.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, Amsterdam is a melting pot of expats. I've met many through local meet-ups and expat groups. Still, it takes some effort, especially if you work from home.

What do you like about life where you are?

Everything! From experiencing seasons to having no need for a car, I love living in Amsterdam - the only city I've been to in all my travels where it's perfectly normal to talk to perfect strangers. I do it all the time, over cappuccino in Leidseplein; over beers at Sound Garden, my local dive bar; or at Eerst Hulp, the coffeeshop around the corner from me.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

It takes a long time to fully integrate into local culture, especially if you don't have family or work colleagues nearby. Also, Mexican food. No matter how they try, Dutchies just can't make tacos or burritos like they do where I grew up.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

People commute via bike, not car; everyone complains about the weather; and smoking marijuana in the park is commonplace and condoned.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Learn Dutch. If you're coming from Southern California, ditch the flip-flops and invest in several jackets and some good-looking boots.

What are your plans for the future?

To become fluent in Dutch while living out the rest of my days in Amsterdam.

You can keep up to date with Melissa's adventures on her blog, UnClogged In Amsterdam.


Read more Netherlands expat experiences or view our latest Netherlands articles

Discuss this article in our Netherlands forum or Facebook group

 


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Cigna Global

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.