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About Me

I’m a 32 year old man, originally from St. Louis, MO, in the USA.  I have a wife, a dog, and a cat. I have citizenship in Ireland, even though I’ve never stepped foot there.  My biggest college regret was not spending a semester abroad, so I’m making up for it now!

In August of 2010, we packed up and headed to Amsterdam. The plan is to spend 3-5 years over here. We may stay in Amsterdam the whole time, or we may move somewhere else. Who knows?!? In the meantime, we’re enjoying ourselves.

 

10 responses to “About Me

  1. Erin

    September 1, 2010 at 18:27

    I am excited to read about your transition to life in Holland. I am also a young St. Louisan who visited The Netherlands last summer for two weeks. I would love to move there as well! Good luck and I look forward to reading more.

     
    • thedewaddict

      September 1, 2010 at 21:18

      Thanks Erin! If you have any questions about the Netherlands or moving, feel free to let me know.

       
  2. Heather

    October 10, 2010 at 14:39

    Do you mind sharing who you work for in AMS? Sounds like they let you transfer there?

     
    • thedewaddict

      October 10, 2010 at 17:32

      Well, my work situation is kind of complicated. 2 years ago, I told my boss in the US of my plan to move. He wanted to keep me working for them, so he looked into it. I ended up “transferring” to our office in Hamburg, Germany (since we don’t have a Dutch office), but I work from home here in A’dam, and do the same job I did in the US. It’s just my paycheck and vacation that comes from Germany. Through reciprocal agreements that NL and Germany have, everything worked out.

       
  3. Fran

    January 30, 2011 at 05:06

    Hello!
    I have read your blog and love it! Thank you for the helpful tips on moving from the U.S. to Amsterdam.

    I am wondering if you can tell me:
    1. Where to buy a bike? You mentioned going to a store, which I assume would be for a new bike. What about a used bike? What would you say one would expect to pay for a bike? With all I’m reading about bikes being stolen, what do you use in the way of a lock? Should we buy anything (like a lock) in the U.S. before coming to Amsterdam?
    2. What food items do you miss from the U.S., or are expensive in Amsterdam, that you would suggest stocking up on (I’m thinking to bring these items in luggage as mentioned in one of your posts)? I read your post where you mention a few items.
    3. I’ve read that certain medicines that are over-the-counter in the U.S. are not as available there such as brand-name cold medicines, etc. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thank you … and please keep blogging!

     
    • thedewaddict

      January 30, 2011 at 08:22

      Hi Fran,
      1) There are bike stores all over Amsterdam. There is one in the Centrum called ‘Het Zwarte Fietsenpad’ (The Black Bikepath) that sells new bikes for as little as €150. Many bike stores also sell used bikes. The bike store near our old apartment only sold higher end used bikes, so the price difference between new and used wasn’t much, which is why we bought new bikes. If you want a used one, I’d suggest visiting the markets around town. There’s usually 1 or 2 stalls at each market that sell used bikes for fairly cheap (less than €100). Don’t buy the really cheap ones (€25), since those are most likely stolen. The rule I’ve heard here is that your lock should probably be as expensive as your bike. Now, buying a new bike, I didn’t get a really expensive lock. The one I got was €50. Most bikes also come with a built-in “horseshoe” lock on the back wheel. I’m not sure if the locks in the US are any better/worse than the locks available here.
      2) Unfortunately, the larger the rare American food item, the more expensive. For example, grocery stores here carry a bare minimum of cereals, such as Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, and Special K. If you want anything besides those, you’ll have to go to a specialist market, where they cost usually €7-9 per box. I really like Cheez-Its, but they’re impossible to find here. The candy selection is much different. You can get Snickers, Kit Kat, Twix, and Milky Way (though here they’re called Mars), but that’s about it for candy that I recognize. Some places carry Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but not many. You can get most things here, they’re just a) going to have much less variety, and b) not be brands that you’re used to. For example, soda is limited to Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Coke, Cherry Coke, Coke Light (Diet Coke), 7-Up, and the different varieties of Fanta. If you like Mtn Dew, Dr. Pepper, or any other varieties, you’re pretty much out of luck. Don’t expect to find cookie/cake/muffin mixes here either. Some stores will sell a vary basic yellow cake mix, but that’s it. Specialist markets charge €5-7 for Betty Crocker mixes. The Dutch like to use “Self Rising Flour”, which means most stores don’t carry baking power or baking soda. You can get those at Asian toko’s, which are generally small grocery stores specializing in Asian foods. Usually the care packages that my parents or my in-laws send are filled with candy, and spices/flavorings that my wife can’t find here.
      3) You are correct. The shelf of medicines at the local pharmacy is laughable compared to what you can get in the US. For example, when my wife was sick, I wanted a decongestant, but those are prescription only. Basically, you can buy cough drops/syrup, throat drops/spray, asprin, vitamins, itch relief cream, vicks vapo-rub, and homeopathic medicine. Pretty much none of the brands you know will be available here, besides Aleve, Advil, Vick’s, and Bayer.

      If you have any other questions, just let me know!

       
  4. Fran

    January 30, 2011 at 08:49

    Thank you for the detailed and informative response. There is a lot to research. I’m sure I will have more questions!

     
  5. stephanie

    August 16, 2011 at 00:06

    Hey there! I am currently interviewing with a company in Amsterdam. I came across your blog while researching relocation information. I’ve enjoyed your perspective of life in Amsterdam so figured I would see if I can pick your brain on some things. If I do get this job, my husband, 7 year old son, giant hairy dog, and I will be making the move from Southern California to Amsterdam. I’ve heard that people from the U.S. get “special” (higher) prices on apartment/house rentals. Do you know if this is true and if there is any way to avoid it? I’m thinking I can have my company negotiate the rental and maybe it won’t be as expensive. Also, keeping in mind that we have a kid with us, are there any areas that you think we want to be looking/or should avoid?

    Is there anything special we need to know about moving a dog to Amsterdam? Our dog is pretty big – about 80 pounds – is it hard to find a rental that will accommodate dogs?

    Have you had a hard/easy time making friends? I read so much about how the Dutch can be a bit abrasive and not necessarily easily to befriend. Additionally, no one in the family knows the language which can make things harder.

    I’m probably getting the cart before the horse since I haven’t even gotten the job but they are looking to move quickly so I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed.

    Any thoughts, advice, etc. would be so appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Stephanie

     
    • thedewaddict

      August 16, 2011 at 09:50

      Hi Stephanie,

      You’re correct about prices being higher for expats. Most Dutch find out about apartments through friends or friends of friends. Expats don’t have that luxury, so we go through realtors who jack the prices way up. Unfortunately, I haven’t really found a way around this (which is why we’re looking into buying). If you sign a lease and think you’re paying too much, you can go to the huurcommissie, and they will come tell you what you should be paying, and send a letter to your landlord. However, my wife’s cousin went this route, and the landlord basically said “Well, you can either keep paying the high rent and stay, or you can go through with the rent lowering and we’ll just kick you out ASAP.” From what I’ve heard, it’s hard for landlords to kick out tenants, but it’s not really a route I’d like to travel. My best advice would be to join as many online groups for expats as you can find before moving, and see if anyone in those groups knows of a cheap apartment. Or else, just rent a temporary apartment for the first few months, and hope that you’ll make some Dutch friends in the meantime.
      For dogs, I think it’s only difficult if you’re renting a furnished apartment. The landlord may ask for a larger deposit in that case. A LOT of Dutch people have dogs, so I think it’s a pretty common request.
      As far as areas, it depends on what you want I guess. Where I live now (Zeeburg) is a fairly new area, all man-made islands, filled with lots of young families and retired people. It’s pretty quiet, but it’s a 20-minute bike ride or tram ride to the center. If you want a nice big (for the Netherlands) house, look at Almere. It’s a city on the other side of the bay, and is a 40 minute train ride to Amsterdam. Rents are cheap there. If you want to live in Amsterdam and have some money, look into the Oud Zuid area. It’s in the city, but is upscale. The Jordaan is trendy, but apartments are tiny and expensive. De Pijp is a little more bohemian, but very popular. Lots of cafes. If you’re going to have a car, check out Amsterdam Noord or Amstelveen. They’re basically the suburbs of Amsterdam. Finally, there is Overtoom and Bos & Lommer areas, which are less gentrified, but are considered “up and coming”.
      At this point, I don’t have any Dutch friends. We do know a few English-speakers who moved here for a Dutch partner, but we’re more friendly with the English-speakers. My wife works in an English-speaking office, and I work from home, which makes it harder to get to know locals. At this point, all of our friends are other expats, which is still very interesting to me.
      Hope that helps. Feel free to send me any other questions!
      -Jason

       
  6. Stephanie

    August 16, 2011 at 19:17

    Thank you so much for your quick response. I’m in limbo right now waiting to find out about this job and then once I find out, everything is going to have to move super fast. So – I’m trying to get as much information as possible for a move that may or may not happen…

    I’m certain that I’ll have more questions for you as I go – thank you again for the information above!

     

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