Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.
“My style as a graphic designer has changed since I moved here“
Andreas Kallipolitis first got to know Utrecht when visiting a friend in 2009. He was so inspired by the city that on graduating in Tourism Management and Graphic Design, he came back to live here. “I wanted to leave Greece and see what the rest of the world had to offer. Returning to Utrecht was a no-brainer. My style as a graphic designer has changed since I moved here. I’m more minimalistic and abstract; the artistic movement De Stijl has obviously had a huge impact on my work.” Andreas spent five years working as a waiter, but resigned last week to work fulltime as a freelance designer. “It’s a bit scary because I still have to pay the rent of course. But I’ve got plenty of contacts and customers, both in and outside the Netherlands. My design style is becoming more popular so it’s time to focus on what I really want to do.”
It wasn’t easy for Andreas to find a job when he arrived in the Netherlands five years ago. A friend arranged for him to work in a Greek restaurant. “I didn’t know any better; I just needed a job. They really took advantage of me, paying me from my own tips and making me work long hours. I left after four months.” The kitchen was a logical place to work. “Cooking is part of the Greek culture. We grow up eating out mothers’ and grandmothers’ food. We might not be the best cooks, but we certainly know what we like.”
Andreas now lives with his Lithuanian girlfriend in Zuilen, close to Juliana park. “We feel like true Utrechters. If we visit our families in the summer, we can’t wait to get back to Utrecht, home.” He’s never been home-sick, but admits to missing the food and natural beauty of Greece. “When people ask why on earth I moved here, they’re usually referring to the weather. But I like the grey skies. I miss them when I’m away.”
Andreas found it difficult to find his feet at first. “For a long time, I wasn’t sure that I’d done the right thing, whether I belonged here. I was in limbo I suppose. I desperately wanted to be here, but felt quite unsettled for some time. It was about two years before I was convinced that I’d made the right choice and really felt at home.” His first impression of the Netherlands was one of a well-organised country. “I Like things to be as they should. Everything here is well-organised and runs smoothly. From trains to housing and streets. Everywhere you look. When I hear Dutch people moaning about trains being five minutes late, I think: where I come from, you’re lucky if there’s a train at all! Andreas thinks he’ll probably stay here in the long term. “I’ve got everything I need. I stayed because I feel so inspired by what I see around me. Whether I’m sitting on a bench on the banks of Oudegracht looking out over the water, or simply staring at the fences around the houses or the paving stones. There are so many creative events and gatherings, people who are keen to work together.”
Name: Andreas Kallipolitis
Place of birth: Mytilene, Greece
Date of birth: 25 March 1986
Motto: ‘If you want the right answers, you have to ask the right questions’
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.