Digital Nomads

Digital Nomads: From Lagos to Amsterdam, the city where the environment comes first

Each week, Digital Nomads talks to Africans who’ve left their house nations to check, work and reside in attention-grabbing nations. It shares their tech experiences of their new nations and helps you see what on a regular basis life is like in different nations.

If in case you have some catching as much as do, listed below are some nations we’ve coated: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam and China. 

At this time, we’re talking to *Kelechi, a Nigerian who moved to Amsterdam in 2019. He tells me: “I lived in Nigeria for 29 years earlier than shifting final yr. I used to be a guide at one of many Big 4 in Lagos the place I labored for 5 years earlier than relocating to Amsterdam.” 

When you work at a Large four agency in Lagos, what’s the inducement to go away the nation? “I moved to Amsterdam as a result of my spouse acquired a job there as a software program developer so we moved collectively.” 

Kelechi’s notes on deciding to maneuver: The considered having to begin over was scary. However I spoke to a few of my bosses at work about it and so they solely had good issues to say concerning the Netherlands. It additionally helped {that a} former colleague moved there in 2017 and was thriving. 

In July 2019, Kelechi and his spouse left Nigeria via the Murtala Muhammed Worldwide Airport (MMIA). He says the Lagos airport was quite a lot of trouble and nothing to write down house about. 

The Amsterdam airport, additionally known as the Schiphol airport is a special expertise. 

“We acquired in round 4am and the airport checks went easily. I noticed quite a lot of shops on the airport and we had breakfast after we landed and it wasn’t costly. The airport looks like a mall and it has a practice station underground: that was a wow issue for me.” 

Kelechi’s notes on airports: The Amsterdam airport is in a league of its personal. It has a practice station and a bus station. It additionally has self check-in gates and all it is advisable to do is method with the barcode you downloaded on-line. 

Life in a brand new metropolis

“There have been quite a lot of shocks for me after we first moved right here. They eat quite a lot of bread right here, and the bread is bland.” 

Past delicacies, Kelechi says Amsterdam has the texture of a metropolis made for vacationers and this makes it simple to reside within the metropolis with out studying Dutch. “Lots of people right here converse English. I’ve by no means gone to a store or retailer the place the attendant received’t converse to me in English language. When you inform them “Engels” they swap to English.” 

However the greatest tradition shock for Kelechi is how direct the Dutch are. Folks say issues as they’re and there’s little political correctness. 

“Your Dutch boss can inform you plainly that what you probably did is nonsense. It could appear unusual to you at first however you get used to it and also you be taught that there are not any private emotions concerned.” 

Kelechi’s anecdote: Whereas I used to be job searching, a CEO of an organization responded to my utility like this: “For us, Nigeria is a rustic recognized for corruption and crime. You may have a Nigerian diploma and work expertise, I’d not know methods to confirm your previous employment historical past with certainty.” 

The Dutch additionally mix their penchant for blunt discuss with a tradition of sharing bills throughout outings. 

The tradition right here is to share bills. While you exit, somebody will pay for every part however they’ll then ship out everybody’s share later.” 

“There’s this expertise that the majority banks have known as “tikkie.” If I pay for a hangout, I’ll allocate the bills and ship a tikkie request to everybody. The tikkie will carry up a hyperlink to redirect you to your financial institution to pay no matter quantity you owe me.”

My observe: The time period “going Dutch” is a time period that signifies that every particular person taking part in an exercise pays for their very own share as an alternative of 1 particular person paying for your complete group. “The origin of the phrase “to go Dutch” is traced again to the 17th century when England and the Netherlands fought continually over commerce routes and political boundaries.”

Within the Netherlands, driving a automobile is dear. In line with one website: “When the automobile has almost no emission the automobile tax is 15%, then there’s a 21% share for low emission vehicles. All different vehicles have a 25% of the Dutch catalogue worth added to their earnings.”

This is the reason bicycles are standard. “Virtually everybody right here owns a bicycle and the wonder is that there are bicycle lanes all over the place. There are additionally walkways right here and driving is a wierd phenomenon.” 

With month-to-month bills of as much as €200 for those who personal a automobile, it’s not uncommon to see folks trip 45 minutes to work on bicycles. 

“Bike hailing and automobile hailing companies that use electrical autos are standard right here. For electrical autos, the best way it really works is completely different. You examine their app to see the closest automobile, stroll to the automobile and use your telephone to open the automobile and drive.” 

In contrast to Uber, with these companies, you must drive your self. 

Commuting in Amsterdam

“The general public transport system is heavenly. There are trams, trains, buses and the metro. The trains listed below are electrical and all you must do to make use of trains or buses is have a card linked to your checking account.” 

These playing cards use NFC expertise and also you faucet it on the metro station or practice stations earlier than boarding and faucet out after disembarking.

“They don’t disappoint, they persist with their schedule everytime and also you get knowledgeable forward of time if there are disruptions.” 

Kelechi’s observe: There are not any bikes right here. You both trip a bicycle all over the place or stroll.

Away from transportation, we discuss shopping for SIM playing cards in Amsterdam. Kelechi says he purchased a Lebara SIM card on the airport and has not bothered altering it since then. 

“SIM playing cards aren’t that necessary to me within the grand scheme of issues as a result of we talk largely with Whatsapp and there’s Wi-Fi at house and within the workplace.”

How a lot is web and cellular information within the Netherlands? “We pay €71 for limitless web and a fundamental cable TV plan and it ensures a pace of about 500Mbps.”

Paying for all these requires a checking account and banking in Amsterdam is completely different. 

“So that you can have a checking account, you must be a authorized resident. In contrast to Nigeria, you may’t stroll into the financial institution with out an appointment. To open an account, they took all my particulars, made some copies and gave me an account quantity.”  

Different banking particulars like debit and bank cards are delivered by bodily mail. It’s a method for the financial institution to confirm your handle. 

In France and Afghanistan, financial institution transfers aren’t on the spot, however in Amsterdam, inter-bank transfers are on the spot. 

Ultimately, Kelechi says his tech expertise in Amsterdam has been excellent and charges the town a 9. “The web pace beats Lagos, POS funds by no means fail and you’ll pay together with your telephone,” he tells me. 

He additionally generously charges Lagos a 7 for his tech experiences.

*The interviewee’s title has been modified at his request. Trying to share your tech story? Ship me an electronic mail: [email protected]

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