Name: Shirley Ke
Occupation: Chairwoman of Stichting Chinese Cultuur, Zorg en Welzijn, Chinese teacher, CEO of H&K advertising company
Living in: Purmerend

What does your job involve?

I’m in charge of the day-to-day business of the charity, teaching Chinese and I’m executive of the H&K advertising company. 

Why did you decide to move to the Netherlands?

I am quite curious about this world, so I came to the Netherlands.

Why did you decide to live in Purmerend over other parts of the country?

When I first came to the Netherlands, I was working in Amsterdam. I chose to live in Purmerend because it is so convenient.

What has living in Purmerend taught you?

Caring for old people and devoting time to society.

What are your favourite undiscovered gems in the area?

I like to pick a restaurant in the city centre and I enjoy going to happy hours with my friends. Also, swimming is always a good choice, because it makes me feel peaceful and cosy.

How is Purmerend unique to your country/other different cities you have lived in?

Actually, there are quite a lot of differences between Chinese culture and Western culture. It opened up a new world for me when I moved to Europe.

Shirley Ke

What’s your ideal day in and around Amsterdam?

My ideal day includes sleeping in, enjoying a spa and have meals with friends or family.

Was there anything unexpected about living/moving here, including any challenges?

Yes, the big challenge for me was my divorce.

How were these challenges resolved?

I was thrown into work and took care of my son by myself.

Any advice for people thinking about moving here or just moved here, including settling in and making friends?

It is helpful to go to the library and community centre, which is good for people integrating into their new life.

How do you like to spend your weekends?

I teach Chinese and enjoy study time with kids.

How do you stay connected to your home country?

By WeChat, regular visits, travelling to summer camp. Also, my family and friends come to the Netherlands and visit me. 

What are the best things about Amsterdam or Purmerend?

There are many tourist attractions, heritage and beautiful sightseeing opportunities in Amsterdam. If you want to enjoy the rural, peaceful life, Purmerend is a good place for you. For primary and secondary education, I don’t think Purmerend and Amsterdam are so different. But for higher education, Amsterdam has more resources and more top-ranking universities. Overall, Amsterdam is suitable for young people, but Purmerend, with its slow pace of life, is good for those who want to enjoy their private life.

What else would you add?

Amsterdam is an amazing city with excellent facilities and beautiful sights. It is quite convenient and enjoyable to live there. Purmerend is good for people who want to escape from the urban lifestyle and enjoy their private life. And it is safe for kids.