Expats in Haarlem: Fabio
In Haarlem around 1.7% of the working population is an expat. This means they are foreign-born employees who live and work in Haarlem. What is it like for them to live in Haarlem? We asked several expats this question and in what way the municipal politics in Haarlem, and D66 Haarlem, can complement or improve the situation for expats in Haarlem. This week it’s Fabio Zurla, 36 years old, native Italian and living in the city centre of Haarlem.
Can you tell me what your occupation is and why you live in Haarlem?
“I have studied quantitative finance and right now I am working as an actuary. This means applying mathematics to insurance. I have chosen to live in Haarlem, because I had already been to several Dutch cities, like Gouda and Breda. This made me want to live in a Dutch city like Haarlem. But is was also a matter of destiny because the company I work for has helped me find an accommodation in Haarlem.”
What do you like the most and the least about Haarlem?
“I like how the city is, it is old and you can see the tradition. It reminds me of my hometown. I also really like the sights. In Haarlem you have everything you need but it is not too big. My favourite place in Haarlem is the pizzeria Pizzicotto in the Jansstraat. The owner is from Naples and he knows my hometown. I also like that Haarlem is close to Amsterdam and the beach. And I like the way of life and the Dutch mentality. It is very open and international.
What I like the least… I do not have much to complain. A lot of people here are complaining about the weather, but if the weather would be different in Haarlem it would be like Ibiza… I accept the weather in Haarlem. I studied in Sweden so…”
What would make Haarlem even better?
“I think there should be more effort to protect the older buildings in the city centre. I saw a lot of older buildings who were not respected enough, and I feel like there should be more commitment to maintaining these buildings. If you live in such an old city centre, you should protect it. Also I don’t like that Schalkwijk is a foreign area, which is perceived as bad, and in other areas there are a lot of sposh people. I do not like this segregation. I think more should be done about this.”
How is it to live in Haarlem as an expat and in what way can the municipal politics of Haarlem do more for expats?
“I like living in Haarlem, but the people are a bit more distant. The people I did get in touch with, we are really close right now. I used the app Internationals, it is like a community for expats. You can get in touch with other expats, meet up and go to events. I think the Dutch municipality could do more to support the community of expats. It should involve the people more in activities. Like in Italy you have sagra, this means people in a village are preparing food together for free and the money they raise is for the village. It is a kind of integration of people and it connects them. I miss this in Haarlem. There could be more occasions to talk and get close.”
Do you have any thoughts on how D66 Haarlem can add to the enhancement of expats’ working and living situation in Haarlem? Send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!