4 relocators living the dutch dream

Pubished 2nd October 2018

We recently met up with Audrey Mezas, the owner of Expat in Amsterdam®. Over lunch, we talked about running her own successful relocation business. Moving can be stressful, moving abroad even more so. Audrey created Expat in Amsterdam® to support professionals through this process, this is what she had to say.

Audrey-Lynn Mezas

What’s your story?

I was born in Amsterdam and raised as an expat in 17 locations over 4 continents. Having gotten used to living in houses which were not our own, I did like the adventurous side of living in exotic places such as Papeete — Tahiti, Sydney — Australia and Riyadh — Saudi Arabia... I began to realize that I loved helping people by sharing my own expat information and solving their problems while thinking “out of the box”! What started off as a passion and hobby, became my company Expat in Amsterdam®. You can visit my website here.

Why Amsterdam?

It’s the city where I was born and the place I know, like the back of my hand!

Tell me about the culture?

The Dutch are what I call Nordic people. Some might say a little “too honest” others might even call them a bit blunt. I call the Dutch and their culture “honest, with a little dust of dry humour!” We don’t beat around the bush and we are eloquent in many ways. We just love to tell you how things are and we love to help whenever possible.

What’s your favourite thing about Amsterdam?

The beauty of the city! The way all the terraces are full, as soon as the sun comes out. The way you see people cycling home while carrying their Christmas tree on their bike, whether it’s snowing or raining. The museums, the open air concerts, the boats filled with people having picnics and wine, while gliding over the canals. Need I say more?

Tell me about the relocation process, how does it work?

I always say “We’re more than a Relocation company!” The relocation process usually starts by clients reaching out to me either through their company or privately or by HR offices.

We often suggest to start off with a Skype or FaceTime call, so that clients are able to personally ask me questions. We offer 67 different type of services such as; housing (buy or rent), schooling, tax & immigration etc. The procedure usually consists of planning free introductory (Tailor-made) meetings with specialists, after which we plan all wishes accordingly.

What advice would you give to people thinking about moving?

Make sure that you make a “private” and/or a “business” wishlist, long before you move and research what the necessities are and in which order you might need them. Then give Expat in Amsterdam® a call to set up an introductory meeting to determine which specialist service we are able to help you with.

What are the pitfalls/dangers? How do you plan against those?

Not having done enough research. Listening to too many people for the advice you plan against those pitfalls by researching local Relocation companies and read testimonials from their clients.

Sum up Amsterdam in 3 words?

International, Booming, Worldly.

Interviewing Audrey got us thinking about the journey of relocation, we’ve been placing people in Amsterdam since 2013, securing roles for expats from all over the globe. It’s a brilliant city to work and play in. You don’t have to take our word for it, here are some of their stories.

Agnés Crepet

What drew you to Amsterdam?

Due to myself and my partner is over 35, it can be difficult to gain a visa work permit. However, it’s easy to work in Amsterdam. European citizenship is easy, immigration is very light. In comparison to Canada or America, it’s a lot more relaxed. We considered England, however after Brexit… we still wanted to go to a somewhere that spoke English, Amsterdam was the place.

What’s been the greatest difficulty?

We wanted to live in the centre, so it can be difficult to find a flat. We were unsure of the quality of Amsterdam’s transport system, if we had known before, how great it is, we may have moved further out.

What’s your favourite thing about the city?

The landscape, it’s near the sea. The amount of parks is great, they’re ten minutes away in any direction. I think that’s a big reason on why we have moved. When comparing it to the likes of New York, which is so busy. Since having kids, I have to be able to picture my family here. Amsterdam is completely different, the pollution is not as high and the city is eco-friendly. Furthermore, it’s an international city, with lots of different cultures.

What advice would you give to others that want to relocate?

Try the experience, don’t be afraid. It’s also easier to find a job before relocating, it’s good to have a job and contract sorted when looking for a place to live. When you have a job already, it’s easier.

Visit my website here

Daniel Paz

Why Amsterdam?

I always wanted to move outside my country for a working experience in English and after discarding the US, I decided on Amsterdam. This choice was easy for me because my father has been living here for five years now. Also, the Netherlands is of the elite when it comes to technology. It was both a nice challenge to my career and an opportunity to be closer to my Dad.

What makes Amsterdam’s tech scene different?

For starters, the Dutch themselves. If you happen to work in a Dutch company with Dutch colleagues their directness may seem a bit harsh at first, but in the end, you understand to value it, in the sense you get immediate honest feedback on what you are doing, so you can improve your way of working right away. This not only involves the way of coding for example but also helps you to be more open to other things that you know, which is always good.

What was your biggest fear about the move?

Not being up to the challenge, being underestimated for coming from Latin America. But none of this happened, Amsterdam has tons of tech positions and also lots of opportunities with people from hundreds of nationalities.

What advice would you give to others that want to relocate?

If you have nothing to lose, just go for it. Amsterdam is really nice to live in, not only for the quality of life, but also because of the diversity of people that live here, and you can perfectly manage in English through the city. The technology and mentality change that you will get is worth it.

Annyce Davis

What’s your favourite thing about the city?

Sidewalks! I know that may sound silly, but in Maryland, people mostly drive everywhere so there aren’t as many sidewalks. In Amsterdam, I can walk anywhere. I love to walk, to explore new places, and just be alone with my thoughts.

What makes the Amsterdam tech scene so different from others?

It’s very diverse. People come from all over the world, so you get exposure to lots of different ways of thinking and doing things.

What helped you, what research did you do prior to moving?

I did tons of research. I read much of the Iamsterdam website, it has great info for expats. But the best source was from others in my company who had recently made the move.

What was your biggest fear around relocating?

I felt that my kids would struggle with fitting in at school. I was wrong. They love their school and easily made friends. It was a great decision!

What advice would you give to others that want to relocate?

Make plans to learn the language as soon as you can. It will make you feel more at home once you do.

Visit my Twitter profile here

Marcos Vinícius Lourenco

Why did you choose Amsterdam?

Honestly, I never really thought about moving to the Netherlands. And I was kind of surprised when a Dutch company got in touch with me to participate in a selecting process. After extensive research about the country I found out:

The IT market within the country* is booming with a lot of talent (*in Amsterdam)
Everyone, or at least almost everyone, in the country speaks English
The quality of life seemed to be a big plus
What makes the Amsterdam tech scene so different from others?

My personal opinion would be because of two main reasons;

1. The Netherlands has a really nice immigrant visa program. Allowing qualified Human Resources to come over from all over the world. Leading to a really good knowledge exchange amongst the teams.

2. The Dutch professionals seem to have a really good education system, well preparing them to the business market.

What advice would you give to others that want to relocate?

1. Don’t miss the chance of moving here

2. Don’t miss the chance of moving here (2)

3. Be patient getting all necessary documentation, before you come, and when you arrive. (That’s the hardest part)