The answer is the Netherlands. It became one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for the dancing in the 1930s. Today, a few days after a visit, I find myself dancing alongside a few people who just took the first step on Dutch soil. I am surprised, but pleased, by our success.
Where did you learn German?
I’ve been learning German for 30 years. I also use an iPad to learn the language and even to play the saxophone, like a musician! I have three friends who have always spoken German and now they all communicate with me regularly via Skype.
How long have you been a professional German speaker?
Almost all my adult life. It’s natural to love German because of the beauty of its language, the poetry, the beautiful landscape – everything I love. I was born in Germany but my family moved to the Netherlands when I was five. I started using Dutch when I was 16: my mother spoke it and my father did not. I think I first fell in love with the Netherlands in 1993 when I discovered Dutch television (the Netherlands has no national broadcaster). I was fascinated by the beautiful scenery and by the beautiful people. We had just come back from Spain when I was a kid, and my parents had moved to the Netherlands in the 1970s.
Would you like to learn English?
Yes, but not at the same rate as Dutch. You can also see my motivation to learn English. My parents speak it and are fluent, but we’re still working on it together. If I had time, I would have given English to my parents when they were alive. I am still a fan of “Willy” Doohan’s German.
What’s your favourite thing about living in the Netherlands?
The feeling of a European community and the beautiful Dutch landscapes – there simply are no good places in the world to live if you love nature. And there isn’t much money if you like the weather and have a job that allows you to choose the right place and time of year. Dutch hospitality really is like no other country we have known, and I am lucky to have had it for so many years.
What is your favourite food from Europe?
I love a big grilled steak from the Netherlands or one of the wonderful sandwiches of Germany or Austria. I also love some good Danish cooking, which is usually expensive, and a good cup of coffee. I also love to travel, as it’s not very easy
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