Adriaan Van Der Flier is a Dutchman living in Macedonia for 25 years. Fascinated by the beauty of the country, the kind people and opportunities of prosperity and quality life, he decided to move from the land of flowers to live here. His home is in the village of Kuchkovo, near Skopje. There, as he told Republika, he has built a stone house in old Macedonian style. He has visited many places in the country and says that the Macedonian mountains are a real jewel. His wants to invest in rural tourism and to live here for the rest of his life.
When did you first come to Macedonia?
Van Der Flier: I know about Macedonia from the end sixties as I was in holidays in Zadar with my parents and where I met a nice group of Macedonian girls from Kavadarci. One girl was so beautiful and interesting in her conversations so we became very good friends and kept contact for many years. In 1981 I visited Macedonia the first time for trying to set up business in the furniture industry (Skopje, Berovo, Strumica) but it was not successful. From 1988 till 1991 I visited Skopje several times as I regularly was staying in Bulgaria for our outsourced productions there. In 1991 as Yugoslavia fell apart and the communistic regime fell I decided to move to Skopje and in December 1991 I settled definitive in Skopje. I saw prosperity, new changes and opportunities for a nice quality life.
You come from a country with different culture and tradition than Macedonia. How did you manage to adapt to the life here?
Van Der Flier: This was never a point for me. My whole life I traveled a lot for businesses and I always enjoyed to do business with oriental partners and Macedonia is the gateway to the orient, there approach is more relation creation oriented and not pure materialistic as in west Europe. I don’t know what it is but I never felt myself a stranger here, I think that I integrated very fast, I think that Macedonians have more problems with me than I with them. I am typically Dutch, I am straight forward in my thinking and concluding and say what I want and where I want, I hate corruptive, favoritisic and nepotistic activities in the Netherlands or here in Macedonia and I never kept my mouth shut.
Do Macedonian people provide help when you need it?
Van Der Flier: I think that is the greatest quality of the Macedonian citizens in general there mostly unconditional help when you need, I enjoyed a lot of help especially in the first 10 years to find my way around here, great!
How much free time do you have to travel across Macedonia?
Van Der Flier: I am retired so I have enough time, but I visited nearly every corner of Macedonia in these 25 years. Since one year I live in Kuchkovo in the old part of the village called Livada. We build a new house from stones from the old house in Macedonian village style. We live on 700 meters hight in perfect clean air with our two dogs. I go to Skopje ones a week and that’s it. Regularly I make nice walks together with my wife in the beautiful region around Kuchkovo and of course working in the garden, working on the house. So no traveling around anymore.
What do you think, which are the best places to visit in Macedonia?
Van Der Flier: As foreigner Skopje is now very interesting with its neo classic facades and so many statues, it gives you the motivation to find out something more about the history of this region, I like it very much. Then of course Ohrid, but if you live here you have to visit everything, the small villages in the mountains of west and east Macedonia, the region between Kratovo and Sv.Nikole, Kratovo as architectural impression for the Balkan is very interesting, central Macedonia mountains are absolutely a jewel of nature.
Do you like Macedonian food?
Van Der Flier: The Macedonian food is excellent, basic and clean. My wife is a specialist in the creation of turli tava and stews and of course with dough to create nice sweets. My hobby is cooking and I like very much the Italian kitchen without pasta and without pizza, my absolute favorite is the Chinese -Indonesian kitchen. The Dutch kitchen is now in winter very nice and I prepare it very often now and all Macedonian friends like it very much.
Do you miss your home country?
Van Der Flier: No, I live in my heart and my heart is in Kuchkovo. When I am in the Netherlands, I have there 3 sons and 5 grandchildren then I feel that everything is mine but it is not my home. My home is in Macedonia and after 3 days I want to go back home.
What are your plans, are you staying in Macedonia?
Van Der Flier: I have an idea for village tourism; I would like to buy to old ruined and deserted village houses and to reconstruct them in the same style but than for use as B&B hotels for foreign tourists. To buy together with an investor and involve the owner(s) of the house so they get a profit share and maybe a job in the hotel. I am working on it to make a complete investor presentation. I will stay till my death in Macedonia.