About Robert Nieuwland:
My name is Robert Nieuwland and I’m part of the Typical Non Spanish team. In 2005 I moved to Spain. I drove my fully packed van from Holland to Madrid the same day I officially graduated, passing by my University to pick up my diploma. When they asked me what my plans were for the near future, I told them to look out the window, at the red van parked outside, with a canoe on top.
What i like is that I’m working on a life project that’s the exact canalization of my personality: with my company, Madrid Outdoor Sports, I’ve made it possible to professionally do everything I love.
Madrid was an obvious choice at first, because my girlfriend still had to do her last year of University. Afterwards it still was obvious because she started working here.
And, apart from these practical reasons, Madrid is a very special city, because of it’s unique (worldwide) combination of all the cultural and historical interest a big and old metropolis has and the nature at less than an hour driving. Since the summer of 2015 Madrid has a National Park (“Sierra de Guadarrama”) in its backyard.
My first impression was how easy it is to make social contact with the ‘Madrileños’. Every time I went rock climbing in Spain, I would end up with new friends. It’s still one of the things I most associate with this city. My first impressions were 100% positive. I’m less naïve now. But I still love them though.
Actually i should say madrid, but i might have to be honest and say that santander is one of my favorite spanish cities. This city has it all: it is a stunningly beautiful city with a rich gastronomic and cultural offer. It has mountains in the immediate vicinity and it is located on the Cantabrian Sea. It is also not as big as Madrid and therefore more quiet.
In the beginning I had problems with the language, my first visits, when my Spanish was very simple. I had to use the little Spanish I knew when I first visited Nuria (my wife) to communicate with her parents, who don’t speak English. This led to various funny situations during dinners that we can still laugh about today. Also, one of the first times I met her friends, I presented myself with «Hola, yo estoy Robert», which is something like «Hello, I feel like Robert», instead of «I am Robert» (Yo soy Robert).
Spain is now my home, but if I still regarded the Netherlands as my home, I would no doubt say the sun. But also the mountains. I can no longer live without mountains; I would absolutely go crazy!
Cooking is also one of the things I love, including various typical Spanish recipes, such as tortilla. But I also make a nice «cocido», «arroz con leche» and other things. And yes, I sometimes sleep siesta. But I think it is more common in the case of athletes, also outside of Spain. I enjoy Spanish music a lot, from many different kinds, from «Extremoduro» to «Paco de Lucía».