Hello everyone, I am Nino Rowlands and I work as Business Analyst at Backbase. Here’s my relocation experience of moving to Amsterdam.
To start with I’m half Welsh, half French, but I’ve been raised in South of France. I was 24 years old when I moved to Amsterdam. I came here with my girlfriend, that I met during my studies. So it is the first time for me that I discover the life of a couple, leaving together in flat.
My origins come from Antibes, a beautiful place in the picture.
I’ve grown there for 16 years and then started to move to a different place for my studies. Then I went to Grenoble for my studies (and also to ski). I managed to get my double master’s degree in Grenoble: A master’s in Business Administration and another one in Information system management. Indeed, I wanted to develop the double competency of business and a bit more technical.
Why Backbase? During my studies, I had to do some internships, and I ended up to work for Credit Agricole for 6 months. Then during my last year, I’ve followed an apprenticeship, which means I was two weeks in my company and one week at school. So when it came to finding a job at the end of my studies, I wanted to go abroad, and use my experience in Banking to find a job in a kind of Fintech. And that is why I ended up at Backbase, working as a Business Analyst.
Concerns before moving
First one: the weather (remember, I come from a sunny place)
Second one: the language. Dutch seems pretty harsh. And difficult to learn. Which is really true.
Third one: Welfare. Indeed, even if France is a leader in terms of strikes, we can on the other hand count on a nice welfare system. And I knew that the Dutch health system is not as the French one, especially in the way they deal with you when you’re sick.
Last but not least, leaving all my friends. Indeed, the “normal” path for all of the youth in France is to go to Paris to gain some work experience and then, to move abroad. All of them are still in Paris currently. It could be hard and frightening to leave your friends and family behind you, for a job.
As usual, when you arrive in a new country, all the paperwork and first administrative tasks that you have to do are tiring. Especially finding a place to stay. It is literally a war here to find something affordable.
Indeed, social life is still something missing after a year: if getting out with colleagues happens quite a lot, getting to know real Dutch and create the real connection is really hard. However, the company vibe is so amazing that you feel home every day here.
Cost of living
Except for the rent in Amsterdam and the surroundings which are insanely high (really similar to Paris however), cost of living is not so expensive here, especially with the 30% ruling that helps a lot.
With a rent of 750 EUR/person, all included (for a 50 square meters, for 2 persons), you can count up to 200-250 for all the needed shopping for the rest of the month if you’re not going out for beers, restaurants… But the good thing is that they have a large choice of beers for quite a cheap price also!
They are really into the “veggie/vegan/hipster” way of living. However, if everywhere it synonymous with crazy prices, here it is reasonable.
Best thing about moving to Amsterdam
This city is just incredible: people are open-minded, it is a green city, with so many things to do. In summer, it is an incredible experience to be in Amsterdam, with the beach, the festivals and all the life around the city.
Dutch: even if I made fun of the language, Dutch people are funny people (except when they are on the bike haha). Always willing to talk, to help, to share a drink.
Bitterballen: saved me so many times when I was starving on Fridays nights.
English: In the Netherlands, but especially in Amsterdam, everybody speaks English. It is so easy then to find your way, order something etc.
Best thing about joining Backbase
Backbase helps a lot when it comes to relocation, by providing both allowance and flat for you and your partner for the first month. It really eases your time here!
High skilled people: at BackBase, you don’t only do your job, you literally grow. If you are not afraid of asking people, you can really learn so many things in a short amount of time.
The VIBE: the company culture is amazing (at least compared to what I’ve known in the past).