Boris was based in Moscow when we contacted him with the opportunity to relocate to Amsterdam. Although he had relocated before from Ukraine, this was still a big step for him. As the final interviews took place in Amsterdam we met up with him there to help him prepare. Also after he made the move we met him on several occasions and it was great to see how quickly he seemed to integrate. Almost 2 years after he relocated to Amsterdam we wanted to find out more about his personal experience:
 
How was the process of moving from Russia to Amsterdam?

The whole process was very straightforward - I received a clear and helpful support from relocation specialists along the way, so submitting documents, getting the visa, getting things packed and sent, moving in, registering, getting the permit, searching for apartment and settling down - it was all easy and simple, I can’t recall any complication on any stage. It’s also a lot easier with official paperwork here comparing to Russia - in fact so much easier that at the beginning I couldn’t believe it could be this simple.

As an expat how much do you feel at home in Amsterdam?

Quite a lot. Dutch people are friendly and helpful, and there’s no communication barrier - I never met a person here who doesn’t speak English, even kids are quite fluent. So that combined with general efficiency of procedures here makes it really easy to feel home here.

Are you able to make the most of your spare time? What activities do you like doing in Amsterdam?

Let’s say I don’t have problems with spending my free time here - there’s a good deal of things to do. There’s a bunch of sport activities, be it cycling, soccer, wall climbing, kayaking, kitesurfing and even skiing (indoors, but still a viable option). Then there’s enormous amount of cultural locations and events to visit across the whole country - each city hosts some interesting museums, architecture points and concert events, and of course there’s a whole lot of all that in Amsterdam too.

What still surprises you about Amsterdam?

Cycling culture is magical - even despite the bike theft threat (which one could easily prevent by having a good lock and preferably not parking outside overnight - or just having a cheap bike) and the number of people commuting on bike here, I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else.

What tips and advice would you give someone who's moving to Amsterdam?

Finding a place to live might take some time, so make sure you have your expectation about prices properly adjusted, and if you see a good option - do not hesitate, it would go away in no time. Also don’t hesitate to contact official services if you have questions - going to "Gemeente" is easy, it’s nothing like a bureaucracy hell one would face in Russia. Also many services are cheaper with subscription - transportation, for instance.
 

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