“This is my first day in Amsterdam ever. Mom has already been here and today she took me with her. The buildings here are so big and there are so many people on the street. We just met a man who is an artist. He makes hats and T-shirts and look he made this hat with my name on it and mom bought it for me. Tomorrow I’m going to show everyone in my class. Amsterdam is so nice. I hope we can come back here.”
“Last summer I traveled with two friends through Eastern Europe. Every time I arrived in a new city I would turn on Tinder kind of as a fun experiment. I was curious just to see what would happen. When we arrived in Ukraine, Maryana and I matched and we started talking. The next day we continued our journey so we were not able to meet in real life. When I got back to Amsterdam I kept in touch with her. After a few months I suggested we would meet and so she invited me to celebrate Orthodox Christmas with her family in Ukraine. The first few days I stayed with her in Lviv, the city where she goes to university. After four days we went to her parents house by train in Ternopil. I really liked her but I was too shy to tell her that so on the train when she suddenly asked if I liked her, I panicked. Instead of answering her questions I repeated her question: ’‘Do you like me?” which made her think I meant I was being sarcastic. Luckily it did not take long before we both understood we really liked each other. We just spend a romantic long weekend here in Amsterdam. Unfortunately I’m about to take her to the airport because she is flying home. I’m really going to miss her but also I know it won’t be long before I see her again.“
“Last year my wife survived cancer. Unfortunately she still battles with her health. Our son gave us this trip from the UK to Amsterdam. We try to enjoy each other’s company as much as possible because we learned that life is really fragile.
All that walking is hard for her. However she is a tough cookie you know.. She is a fighter. It is the Scottish in her.
“I fell madly in love with a Dutch Man 20 years ago. I’m from Montenegro but I think I can consider myself a local Amsterdammer by now. Together with my husband we have this food truck and we sell fries here at Waterlooplein. It used to be my father-in-law’s business which he opened right after the second world war. He took a lot of pride in running his business so when he passed away we took over to keep his legacy a live. I like the work and I like to keep the business in the family. In my culture that is an honorable thing to do.”
“When I left Egypt I had never set foot out of the country. My dad didn’t like the idea of his eldest son moving to Europe but I went anyways. I was nineteen and I remember arriving at the Amsterdam Central Station. It felt like a warm embrace. I had very little money but soon I found a job and a few years later I auditioned for the theatre academy. It was 1982 and I was the first Egyptian to get accepted into the academy. Back then there were not too many foreigners so coming from Egypt made me very exotic which meant I would mainly get cast for ’‘Arab Roles”. It is still like that and I don’t really mind but it is the reason, I started to write my own plays. My plays are about subjects that keep me busy such as identity. ‘What does it mean to be Dutch or European?’ I, for example was born in Egypt but I am also Dutch, I feel Dutch but I also feel Egyptian. My work is not about trying to convince anyone I’m right. I just want us to be able to talk about these things.“