Between New York and the Netherlands: the journey to yet another home

In preparation for my big move from the United States to the Netherlands, I set sail on a Dutch history hunt within the continental US.

But, I couldn’t just buy a book like a normal person — nah, I went for the more expensive, dramatic, and yet romantic route in a jumpy attempt to get familiarized with a culture I was about to be soon part of. 🧳

For my attempt’s itinerary, I booked a ticket to New Jersey and found myself a tiny NYC apartment in the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City (ahem, New Amsterdam) not knowing this would be a mutual housing pattern in both cities.


I began my journey by visiting The Vander Ende – Onderdonk House located at the border of Queens and Brooklyn, with its charming white stones tucked away from New York’s steel skyscrapers.

It was within the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house from the 1820s in New York City that I encountered the famous Dutch clogs.

And although the remains of Dutch heritage in New York City are not plenty, I refused to give up.

Up next, I took long walks around Breukelen (Brooklyn), Parelstraat (Pearl Street), Haarlem (Harlem), and Waal Straat (Wall Street) — where no one other than Google Maps and street signs bothered to correct my use of the old Dutch names. 🤳

See, within my US life, which preceded my Syrian one, as beautiful as I found New York to be in its unique way, I couldn’t help but wonder if Amsterdam (the city I would be moving to) would feel as scary to me as New York City made me feel.

The metropolitan and constant hustle of New York City scared my inner child. People always run to catch the subway from their first job to the second, just going around the clock and acing it.

Was the populous city of Amsterdam a good fit for me at all?

A whole different story

Well, fast forward to this day, I’m sitting on a window ledge of my gezellig Amsterdam apartment, finally under the same roof as my loved one, thinking about that cone of hot market frites I had yesterday and laughing at the idea that I had cold feet about living in Amsterdam or the Netherlands.

Sure, Amsterdam turned out to be a populous city filled with sassy seagulls and busy crosswalks where texting and walking simultaneously is as much of a hazardous activity as it was in New York.

But, the truth is, this city also turned out to be as hearty as a cup of your favourite soup on a rainy day. It’s a spirited, and welcoming city with its own character and style with the occasional pyromaniacal tendencies.

Did you have to go through a big move to or from the Netherlands? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Feature Image: DutchReview

Farah Al Mazouni 🇸🇾 🇺🇸
Farah Al Mazouni 🇸🇾 🇺🇸
Farah believes she's been on many adventures during her millennial life, each for a different (sometimes invisible) purpose. The latest adventure whisked her away to Amsterdam for love, and what a magical surprise she found in this city. Armed with imaginary confetti in her pocket, and ready to celebrate all wins, big and small, Farah says "ahla w sahla" or “welcome” to her latest adventure in this wonderland.

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