First-year student International Business Freja (19) moved from Newcastle to Zwolle, out of love for competitive cycling. For the furnishing of her room, Ikea was her greatest friend. “When I moved to the Netherlands, I only had two suitcases.”
In one corner of the room a Basic-Fit bag lays hidden behind a cupboard. In the other corner two racing bikes are parked. “I came to the Netherlands for competitive cycling. It’s a very big sport here, in contrast to England. And I am in the top-level sports regulation of Windesheim, which allows me to combine that.” She cycles through Drenthe, the Veluwe forest or for example, along the nearby villages of Overijssel. Where you sometimes have to climb a hill in England, you don’t have to worry about that in the Dutch countryside.
From Newcastle to Zwolle
Freja has been living in Zwolle for one and a half year now. “The first time I visited I immediately fell in love, it’s so beautiful and cozy here. I like it much more than, for example, the massiveness of a city like Amsterdam.”
Zwolle is also completely different from noisy Newcastle. “I love the peace and quiet here, but it’s definitely not boring! Every Saturday morning I hear the woman from the nut streetcart scream, and I enjoy watching the elderly who stand looking at a construction crane with full admiration. And I can see the fireworks from the PEC Zwolle stadium from my room window, so I instantly know who won the game.”
From her room in Berkum it’s quite a ride to Windesheim, luckily that is not a problem for Freja.
Text: Helen van Wincoop
Photos: Jasper van Overbeek