Allemaal Utrechters is a series of interviews with people who moved to Utrecht from another country. We ask them about their background and their impression of Utrecht, revealing the true diversity of our city. The ‘Allemaal Utrechters’ series is a collaboration between DUIC and Culturele Zondagen, and has been made possible with help from Stichting Dialoog and the Municipality of Utrecht. We hope to showcase every nationality in Utrecht.

See below for the interviews in English. Check out DUIC.nl for the interviews in Dutch.


Costa Rica

Marlen Murillo Rojas

I’ve got a better balance between my social life and my personal life here

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Seychelles

Ineke Bakker

I get more quality time with my family here

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Zimbabwe

Araya Negash

The Dutch are very direct, so the conversations are meaningful

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Latvia

Karina Vos

I love the city when it’s still asleep on Sunday mornings

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Cameroon

Eric Ntchao-Nounga

I learned Dutch from watching television

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Slovenia

Ana Bajt

I try to use Utrecht, and give something back

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Haiti

Sandrine Veening

In Haiti, everyone called me white

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Chad

Didier Lalaye

In the Netherlands, it’s okay to go to work or a nightclub wearing a pair of old jeans

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Jordan

Yasmeen Smadi

I’m scared to bike in the city, so I walk everywhere

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Mali

Bouba Guindo

Everyone will be welcome in Mali once the problem of terrorism is over

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Slovakia

Lucia Mikušová

I try to get the best out of both countries

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Belarus

Wladimir Maschagiraw

Authentic Dutch villages are pure fairy tale

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Burundi

Yves-Faustin Nahimana

I’d rather say I’m a student than a refugee

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Cuba

Alex Rodriguez

Despite all the problems, I created some great moments

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Serbia

Matija Lukić

I discover all kinds of new places biking to work

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Uganda

John Kayongo

Lots of our problems would just disappear if we danced more

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Guinea

Boubacar Sylla

I hope someone will help me to bring my sisters here

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Malaysia

Sudhan Balakrishnan

Home is anywhere we’re together

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Croatia

Nikola Horvat

I never imagined that there was a country where I would fit in so well

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Esmir Mujkic

ll the cultures you encounter here make life richer

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Sweden

Maja Nylén

Utrecht is quite conservative in terms of gender.

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Gambia

Sanna Manneh

I worry about the cold winters

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Eritrea

Saron Tesfahuney

There’s so much more to me than being a refugee

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Malta

Tom Borg

Utrecht is the place where I feel most at home

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Zambia

Sydney Sinkamba

Utrecht could learn a lot from Zambian football

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Lebanon

Nesrine Leene

Hummus comes in more flavours here than in Lebanon

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Kinshasa

Theresia Kambale

I think I’ve seen everyone who lives in Utrecht walking past thanks to my job in the ‘chip strip’

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Egypt

Munir Il Emam

In the Netherlands, I learned that everyone is equal

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Pakistan

Rana Bilal Siddique

“I’m not recognised as a Muslim in Pakistan”

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Norway

Vegard Sivertsen

“The Santa Lucia pizzeria is one of Utrecht’s hidden gems”

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Ukraine

Tanya Leeuwen – Skrypka

“Kanaleneiland is like my home town in Ukraine”

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Malaysia

Annabilla Rahmat

“It’s getting easier to discover new places in Utrecht”

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Palestine

Najuan Daadleh

“Utrecht is paradise on earth in the summer”

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Acajutla

Tony Perez

A Dutch merchant navy officer rescued my mother and me from El Salvador

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Somalia

Rashid Abdi Ibrahim

“Opening the Garoodi Supermarket in Lombok was the best decision I ever made”

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Argentina

Julieta Talamoni

“Not standing out was the norm in Buenos Aires”

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China

Caicha Zhou

“When I was in China, I missed the Buddhist temple in Zuilen”

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Bulgaria

Peter Kostov

“The start-up culture in Utrecht is so cool”

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Yemen

Faris Alqubati

“Kanaalstraat is like being back in Yemen”

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Sierra Leone

Babah Tarawally

“My life was in jeopardy in Sierra Leone”

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Thailand

Sarratuya Tiew

“Looking down at the busy crossroads from the Bijenkorf feels a bit like being at home”

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Czech Republic

Darina Kalinova

“My move to Utrecht has made me a better person”

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Morocco

Imane Alhaddadi

“It’s a privilege to combine two cultures into your life”

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Iceland

Helga Gardarsdottir

“My children cheer just as loudly for Iceland during the World Cup”

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Tunesia

Yosri El Ouni

“I have a bitter-sweet relationship with Utrecht”

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Switzerland

Martin Zemp

“Leidsche Rijn is a good place for my girls”

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Japan

Kanako Imai

“Leisure time is less important to the Japanese than to the Dutch”

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Afghanistan

Ali Savari

“The people living in and around Twijnstraat are just great”

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Senegal

Yassou Diouf

“I miss Holland, éven when I’m in Senegal”

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Curaçao

Junny Brejita

“My friends called me the night-time Mayor of Utrecht”

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South Korea

Binna Choi

“Bringing the museum quarter to life”

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Belgium

Robi van Geenhoven

“A big Utrecht party for people from within and outside the LGBTQ community”

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Canada

Miriam van Meijeren Karp

“We get flowers from the Christian community on nearly every Jewish holiday”

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Portugal

Ruben Ramos

“It wasn’t all that warm, but the pavement cafés were packed”

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South Sudan

Manizha Koditri

“I removed my children from a school in Overvecht”

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Tajikistan

Manizha Koditri

“Gezellig was one of the first words I learned and it certainly applies to Utrecht”

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Estonia

Tiina Rootamm

“Overvecht reminds me of Estonia”

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Lithuania

Justina Damauskaitė

“Being homeless in Utrecht isn’t that bad”

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Greece

Andreas Kallipolitis

“My style as a graphic designer has changed since I moved here”

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Nicaragua

Oscar Mendoza

“I want to make an effort, because the Dutch make an effort for me too”

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Australia

Claire Allen

“I discovered the nicest place ever biking through Leidsche Rijn”

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Brazil

Ocimar Ferreira

“The hardest part of learning Dutch was the Utrecht dialect”

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Ireland

Kathy Bassett

“On St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll find me dancing in O’Leary’s Irish pub”

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Suriname

Carry-Ann Tjong-Ayong

“I’ve translated two Miffy books into Surinamese. I wanted a good future for any children I might have”

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France

Karine Berard

“I was doubly proud during the Tour: proud of France and Utrecht”

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Bangladesh

Gopal Dey

“I wanted a good future for any children I might have”

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Romania

Ovidiu Opris

“My creative friends and I have thrived in Utrecht”

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India

Rohan D’Sa

“In India, only poor people bike to work”

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Ecuador

Alexandra Batallas

“I had my own hair salon in Ecuador, and I’ll start again here”

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Italy

Irene Ciampi

“Boot camps in Italy were competitive; in Utrecht they’re fun!”

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Chile

Francisco Urzua

“Wittevrouwen reminds me of Santiago when my father was young”

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Hungarian and Romanian

Andrea Schouw Naphegyi

“No one has ever been married in the Wood Chapel in Máxima Park”

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England

Will Falkowski

“Somebody asked me out on my first night in Utrecht”

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Turkey

Serdar Biyik

“After my first Meetup gathering, I’d already made a new friend”

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United States of America

Laurel Cunningham

“Quite simply, I no longer want to be associated with the USA”

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Austria

Barbara Schröter

“Today I became an official Utrechter”

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Liveria

Bright Richards

“I wore clogs the first three years I was in the Netherlands”

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Northern Ireland

Lindsey Reid

“You see more and more cultures on the streets”

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Iran

Melody Deldjou Fard

“The cultural sector is still too one-sided”

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Finland

Anna-Liisa Toivonen

“Utrecht is throwing off its cosy image”

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Bolivia

Sylvia Ortega Azurduy

“Pass on the Utrecht mentality to Bolivia”

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Aruba

Jermain Bridgewater

“Utrecht’s always been really supportive”

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Germany

Nicole Immler

“Utrecht could use a bit of humanism itself”

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Taiwan

Ying-I Huang

“Leidsche Rijn is a cocktail of Friesland and my village in Taiwan”

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Ethiopia

Mekdes Belachew

“I always thought I’d marry a Dutchman”

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Spain

Alba Fernandez Andreu

“It takes time to befriend a Dutchie”

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South Africa

Chad Davies

“People make it too easy for me”

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Macedonia

Ana Trajanovska

“Utrecht locals aren’t that different from Macedonians”

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Denmark

Martin Boisen

“Utrecht needs to get its house in order before developing any further”

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Indonesia

Vara Cantor

“In Jakarta, I had a secretary; here, I was a cleaner.”

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Iraq

Monir Goran

“Intellectuals were a threat to the regime, me included.”

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Syria

Tamer Alalloush

“We’re no longer refugees; we’re new neighbours”

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Venezuela

Pablo Castellanos

“Student life is the shit; it’s all downhill after that”

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Poland

Tomek Szugzdzinis

“The mainstream can take a running jump”

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Peru

Jesús Portal Collao

“It was so cold the first time!”

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