My life
November 23, 2020

Why we moved to Amsterdam

We made the decision to move to Amsterdam fairly quickly; I think it took us 3 days in total. But we’d known for a long time that we wanted to live in Amsterdam, so really it was the decision to move NOW that we made so suddenly. 

Lockdown had a pretty profound impact on us. In the weeks leading up to it I was busy running Stephenson Law, spending two days in London most weeks and a lot of time in face to face meetings. My husband was balancing his MBA studies with the children’s pick-ups and drop-offs and, whilst things were pretty full-on, we both felt like we were doing what we should be doing so we had no reason to question it.

But then lockdown was announced, we were all stuck at home and everything changed. Concerned about how the business was going to be affected I threw myself into work, doing everything I could to make sure my team and my clients were ok. But with two young children at home, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The first big factor in our decision was the school’s approach to home-schooling for our 9 year old. As we were still paying school fees, I had expectations of zoom lessons and plenty of support, but it never materialised and I was not just disappointed, I was angry. It put immense pressure on us to find alternative home-schooling provision and resulted in our son really struggling with lockdown.

Then we received a letter from our landlord’s agent stating that they were putting our rent up. It was unfathomable to us that when everyone was talking about agreeing rent and mortgage payment holidays, our landlords had the bright idea to increase our rent. 

Whilst lockdown and the pandemic has certainly made life challenging, I'm determined that something good will come out of it.

Both these events made us seriously question everything. If we didn’t want to continue sending the boys to their school, and we didn’t want to continue paying rent to our horrible landlord, what was keeping us in Bristol? I was running the business remotely, with a remote team, and it was working pretty well. And Peter was coming to the end of his MBA and would be able to continue his studies either in Amsterdam or remotely. 

So it occurred to us that we could, theoretically, live anywhere. And if we could live anywhere, where would we want to live? Amsterdam of course! A city where diversity and inclusion are celebrated, climate change is taken seriously and health and wellbeing are a priority. 

That was in April and we moved in July. Having always lived in the South-West of England, it was the biggest move of my life. 

Whilst lockdown and the pandemic has certainly made life challenging, and really seems to have brought out the worst in some people and businesses, I’m determined that something good will come out of it. A revived sense of adventure and a heightened sense of mortality is making me want to do everything immediately, and whilst that may not be realistic or achievable, I’m not going to waste any time in making my life exactly what I want it to be.