Amsterdam,  How do you live your life?

A Swede in Amsterdam – my first 6 months

Dear readers, sorry for the poor updates. It’s like I’m writing in my head but it doesn’t come out. Here’s an update. Believe it or not, it’s almost 6 months since I left Gothenburg for Amsterdam. With an open mind and heart, and without a timeframe. A move that was led by my intuition and my longing for something different. Scared and excited. Prepared yet not prepared at all, didn’t even have a place to live.

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Things have happened – and changed, as usual. Within these months I have taken steps in my integration process, not necessarily to become Dutch, but to be able to live in this country, as in getting my BSN number sorted, which is basically the key to everything (like the Swedish personal number), opened a Dutch bank account so I can “pin” as the Dutchies say, at the supermarket (they don’t take Visa and Mastercard), registered with a health insurance company which is mandatory here (about 100 euros a month), started a gym membership. And so on. I also lived in three different places, worked three different jobs, quit two jobs, started a Dutch one-woman-company, accomplished two full courses teaching urban kizomba in Amsterdam. I’ve also managed three trips to Sweden, one to Geneva and one to Luxembourg during this time.

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So rather intense, but good. #Lifeadmin has become my most used google docs and sometimes I wish I had an assistant since I hate admin, also because I don’t understand what information the Dutch insurance company or the Dutch bank send me, because it’s in Dutch. Which I haven’t learned yet. But I can say ik drink koffie and wil je dansen (thanks Yvonne). Which after all, are two quite useful phrases.

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Playsuit from Myraswim.

Despite all challenges, I would still say this move has been easy and first and foremost – the right decision. I wanted something new and different and Amsterdam has certainly been, and still is, a love affair. The fast pace, people who look you in the eye, the biking community, the international vibe, diversity, space to be yourself, no one questioning your choices, age, eating preferences etc. Amsterdam is an open minded city as you might know, especially when it comes to drugs and sex. It smells weed everywhere, you get used to it. But also when it comes to having a non-conventional mindset and way of living, which is liberating. The only negative thing about Amsterdam would be the hoards of tourists, especially those who rent a bike with zero biking skills, or common sense for that sake. There are many tourists who have been saved by my bell I can tell.

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So avoiding the city centre at weekends is a good advice, unless you want a panic attack. I spend most time where I live, in the central West. It’s a so called hip area with loads of restaurants, shops and several trams outside my window, reminding me how it was to grow up at Älvsborgsgatan with the constant noise from the tram brakes. But I don’t mind the noise, it’s actually making me calm. I derive energy from the city sounds, from the neighbour’s party, from trams, from the feeling of being where the action is.

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So what do I do here? I’m a freelancer within social media/content/communication/marketing, right now working with Hey Honey, a social content agency here in Amsterdam. I’m grateful for finding this opportunity since the job is so much fun, and it’s amazing to work with people who understand social for real.

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I had my childhood friend Elin visiting me as well as my mom. So much laughter and loads of good food. Come back soon!

Lastly I had a question on Instagram: Which is your favourite restaurant in Amsterdam?

One of my favourite is definitely Zoku, this place is like a warm living room rather than restaurant. You order from a screen and pay right away, you serve yourself wine and they have live music every other Friday. And a rooftop that I have to explore! Another amazing spot is Café Binnenvisser, a super nice place to indulge in wine and cheese, always busy.

Until next time. Drafting a new post called Stop Texting Me.

Much love <3

Anna

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