Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.
“I get more quality time with my family here”
Over 115 islands go to make up the Seychelles, fewer than a third of which are inhabited. The biggest island, where the majority of the population of 100,000 lives, is about the size of Texel. The Seychelles are famous for their white beaches, azure-blue sea and unique flora and fauna. In short: the dream destination of many a Dutchman. And yet in 2016, Ineke and her husband Gary decided to move to Europe. “We love the Seychelles but we wanted to widen our children’s horizons and their way of thinking.” The family first moved to England for practical reasons, but Brexit put paid to this plan. The decision to move to the Netherlands was soon made; it’s where Ineke’s father comes from and she had always intended to live here at some point. “I love the way Dutch people think. They’re so open and tolerant.”
The only setback they encountered in the Netherlands came from the Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND). Ineke has a Dutch passport and thought that this would entitle her husband to move to the Netherlands with her. Apparently not. So her husband was only able to join her and their two sons two years later, by which point she was expecting their daughter.
One of the reasons the family moved to Utrecht was for the international Taalschool. Ineke and Gary are still glad they did. Ineke feels safe in Utrecht, although she did worry about letting her sons play football on the street at first. What if someone were to kidnap them? “My neighbours thought it was hilarious.”
Ineke received a warm welcome in Utrecht and people were keen to help her. “If you want to meet people, you have to be open yourself”, she says. She soon built up a social network. Her neighbours in Lombok kept an eye on her until her husband arrived in the Netherlands, but in a positive way. “I need people around me. My husband and I both find friendships important; you have to make time for them.”
Ineke misses her large extended family, most of whom live in the Seychelles, but is happy with her new lifestyle. “We always enjoy ourselves, wherever we are. We like cycling, for instance, or going to the park.” Ineke says that she gets more quality time with her family here in the Netherlands. “We’ve grown closer because we’ve only really got each other. I see it particularly in my sons. They were brothers in the Seychelles, here they are friends. Looking at my children, I can see just how happy they are here.”
Name: Ineke Bakker
Place of birth: Bloomfontain, South-Africa
Date of birth: 12 December 1979
Motto: ‘Live with kindness’
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.